Wednesday, November 16, 2016

He is the Worst. Ever. #ISitBackAndReflect

Lately I have been seeing some conservative posts on Facebook that declare that President Obama is the absolute worst president.  Ever.  The arguing between friends is possibly as bad as the arguments were/are about Trump and Clinton.  Well, perhaps not quite, but it gets a bit heated.

So I am reading the multiple/diverse opinions and those voicing this opinion that Obama is the worst are so adamant about this claim that I thought perhaps I should check their conclusions based on comparisons to other presidents.  I decided to look into history a bit to see how the rankings of "worst president" come about.

It is easy to rate the best presidents.  I mean, political historians, history buffs, and population surveys all tend to agree.  Abraham Lincoln rates first or second, with George Washington alternating with him.  Both did remarkable jobs in the face of adversity.  Both showed incredible bravery.  To round out the top five best presidents according to scholarly surveys are FDR, Thomas Jefferson, and either Teddy Roosevelt or Andrew Jackson.

So yes, finding the top best presidents is not a difficult job.  But what about the worst presidents?  Much harder.  What is the criteria for a bad president?  Bad to whom?  Liberals?  Conservatives?  Political historians?  General population?  How do you rate, for example, President Nixon who had great world political savvy but brought the nation to shame from what has  been labeled the "greatest and most sensational scandal in the history of American politics."  Impeached.  VP impeached.  Henchmen sent to prison.  

So, finding the worst president throughout history isn't as easy as finding the best.  One thing is clear according to scholarly political historians, President Obama isn't generally seen the worst president in history.  Even Jimmy Carter isn't the worst.  Both rank somewhere in the far.

Here are the historical worst contenders:
James Buchanan--He was our 15th president.  He had a little problem standing up for ideals.  He refused to challenge the growing bloc of states that wanted to secede from the U.S.; therefore, becoming the Confederacy.  To his credit, he believed secession was illegal, but he also believed going to war to prevent it was illegal.  He also refused to stop the growth of slavery.  When asked of historians what he did well as president, not much is recalled.

Warren G. Harding--He was our 29th president.  At the time of his presidency his popularity was high but after his death all these ugly truths came out.  He was involved in the Teapot Dome, a scandal where his Secretary of the Interior was caught taking bribes from oil companies.  It is said that he was an indecisive president who played poker while his friends plundered the treasury.  He was also taken to task for his poor handling of the Great Railroad Strike of 1922, where at least ten people, most of them strikers or family members, were killed in connection with the strike.

Andrew Johnson--He was the 17th president, taking office after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.  He favored a quick restoration of the seceded states but in this, didn't protect former slaves.  He opposed the 14th amendment, which gave citizenship to former slaves.  He is often seen as one of the worst for his strong opposition of federally guaranteed rights for Blacks.  And yet, other historians admire Johnson for his strict constitutionalism. 

So you can see, ranking any president as The. Worst. Ever. isn't as easy as just making a taunt on the playground.  Opinions abound on all sides.  Justification seems true as we speak.  But let's compare our opinions to these bottom-possibly-worse-ever-feeders for a reality check.  And then smile, shake hands, remember we are all in this together.


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

What's On My Design Board?

Sewing curves is always interesting.  I decided to take class while I am down in Southern California to learn how to use a new curved ruler.  A few years ago I made a Drunkards Path quilt.  That's when I discovered how simple are curves.  So I had no doubt that the pattern with the class would be a good one as well.

The ruler is the Quick Curve Ruler by Sew Kind of Wonderful
The pattern is their Metro Rings.  

Okay, so I was sent the supply list for the quilt top.  I had decided to make it another Quilt of Valor, so I wanted red/white/blue fabric.  I needed a "jelly roll" (40 pieces of fabric, pre-cut pieces 2.5 x width of fabric) and a background and some highlight fabrics.  So of course I wanted my jelly roll to be red and blue, with the background white, with red and blue highlights.  I searched through the sets and finally found one roll that had blues and reds and whites, plus a couple greens.  I figured I could remove the greens and have a great QOV.

Day of the class I opened my jelly roll in order to start sewing the strips together and what a surprise!  The fabrics were Christmas fabrics!  Ahh well, still red white and blue...still a QOV.  Perhaps for someone who loves the holidays.

All pieces are cut and waiting to be sewn together.   Give me a few days...  What are you working on--quilting, sewing, painting...Eh?  What's up, Buttercup?

Monday, November 14, 2016

And Then It Hit Me #allweneedislove

Lacey Peters' Early Education Class, New York
It was finally over.  The hate-filled mudslinging from both sides of the election.  It was hard to sit through the presidential debates, listening to both sides sling enough mud on the other to build that wall we kept hearing about.  But even harder for me was sitting through the lies and accusations and seeming hatred flinging past me on social media from my friends to other friends.  Disagree?  Think your side is better?  Then listen to me shout ugly words, post ugly memes, quote others on social media about you and your candidate.  I voted early in order to stop the ugliness in my line of vision.  Somehow this helped.

But then the election happened and it didn't stop.  The ugliness didn't stop.  The lies and memes and quotations didn't stop.  Protests against the election results broke out in major cities.  Portland was the most passionate, it seems.  Yeah, we like to keep things weird.  But it isn't just the unhappy losers spreading...the gloating winners have continued their own brand of ugliness.  Calling out to the Losers...whiners, babies, get over it bitch.  No one can claim gracefully winning or losing.

I was very disappointed with the results.  I had to go to bed early before I saw the final results.  Tummy ache.  Headache.  Sadness.  And I woke up determined to make the best of it.  I declared the day "Positive Energy Day" and made a quilt for someone out there who is cold and alone.  I kept saying, "Okay.  Our job is to continue to be a voice for the voiceless, continue to stand up for social justice, for safety for all."  I reminded people that these have always been our jobs, our responsibility.  We don't have the luxury to sit back on our laurels; we must be vigilant.  I tried to send out a positive message--I am pollyanna, after all.  I told people that we can survive anything because there are safeguards in place throughout the government.  Worry wasn't healthy.  I felt like I wasn't perhaps grieving properly when I talked with Clinton supporters and tried to ignore any politics with everyone, with Trump supporters.

My grandchild woke up sobbing the night of the election because Trump won.  He--he prefers the he/him pronoun--is struggling to find his place in the world, in his body, at 13.  He thought he had a safe place to grow and try and explore his gender.  Now he was afraid.  I thought I could comfort him with simple words of reason.  The system is in place.  We have had bad presidents in the past and the U.S.A. hasn't imploded.  We will get through this.  I knew it wasn't enough, wasn't what he needed to hear, but I had no idea what else to say.

Today I woke up very early, eyes open and wide awake.  I settled down to read up on what has been happening in the world around me.  Something that I read hit me in my heart. I knew I was a safe place for everyone but did they?  Did my wonderful glorious grandchild?

And then I read farther.  A teacher had posted a large poster in her classroom that she said would remain up as long as she taught students.  And then it hit me.  I started crying, great gulps loud wailing tears flowing.

Yes, we have always had to be a voice for the voiceless, to fight for social justice, be a safe place for those who are harassed abused.  Yes, racism/sexism/heteroism (did I make that one up?) has always been there, supported by the very government that accepts protests against it.  We have always had to fight hated and abuse.  But this is harder.  Looking at this poster and realizing that everything on here has been fought for hard and fairly.  Everyone listed on this poster is dear to my heart, has been fought by me and millions of others and we have have just slipped back 50 years...because we have to tell ourselves these things are true rather than accepting and moving on.  Fifty years of hard work and toil and labor...  Half of the population has said that things need to change...but these things?  Not the progress we have made for human rights.  No.  It breaks my heart.  So I cried.

I am not a worrier.  I don't want to spend my limited energy on things that maybe might be, but on things that are being.  But my grandchild woke up crying because he doesn't feel safe.  My son called upset and almost inconsolable because his health insurance may be gone.  How will he pay to see his oncologist?  His psychologist?  His dermatologist?  My sister, my mother's aides, my do I console them?  Console and continue to see my world as hopeful.