Bridging the Gap



You can’t have any concept of the depth of the Rio Grande at Taos until you stand above it and look down. It’s 800 feet deep. I looked at it for about 3 minutes and went and sat down while my husband took pictures, setting up his tripod, getting the right angle ……..

I always think back to the huge gouge in the earth whenever I think about politics in this country. I know that there was a great deal of bitterness and anger in our presidential elections as far back as 1960. I worked for LBJ’s re-election in 1964 and I remember thinking that the Goldwater people were completely out to lunch. That was the last election until 1992 that made me feel that. And by that time, I’d changed parties.

Why did I become a Republican? It was a slow process from 1964 to 1992. I watched the Democrat’s conventions in 1968 and 1972. I saw the end result of the elections. I was not a fan of Richard Nixon in 1972, but I saw how he won. McGovern just didn’t have it. And Dukakis? The photo I remember of him in that tank – just didn’t do it for me. I can’t even remember voting that year.

In 1992 I was appalled at the admission by the Clintons that Bill had cheated with someone who spelled my name with a G. That would have put me off her – but it definitely put me off him. I had a relationship in my younger days with a man who could not stop cheating. It was in his very nature. I am so glad he married someone else and I’m also very glad she had to put up with his cheating – there’s no way he was going to change.

As much as I disliked Clinton for personal reasons, looking back now I can see that he was a good president. He had ideas and intellect and he knew how to get things done. He had no problem admitting mistakes and he learned from them. We had a great economy, felt reasonably secure, our country was strong and he was respected. How far we’ve sunk.

Now we accept a speech by our president as “passable” when basically he says we’re going to do nothing differently and that we should make sure we don’t disparage those of the same faith as the terrorists …………. and oh yeah, get the guns out of the hands of people on the no-fly list.

OK. If the government was any good at making sure the No-Fly List was accurate concerning terrorists, I could see that. It isn’t. It is a list of people, some of whom are totally innocent of any wrong-doing ……….. we cannot even trust the government to make an accurate list. And what happens if terrorists are smart enough to use “soldiers” with no background in terrorism or crime? Then what? The terrorists in San Bernardino were not on the No-Fly List.

They should have been caught though. First I would think that giving an address that didn’t exist on a visa application would have flagged Malik. A month in Saudi Arabia should have flagged her husband. What was he doing there for a whole month? And the money transfers …… aren’t we supposed to be watching how money comes into and leaves the country? I know we were after 9/11 because I lived in Canada and transferred money to the United States and back all the time. When payments were slow to arrive in Canada, I was told it was because any mail containing money was opened by Customs and investigated before being sent on. Surely they could have spotted the money coming in from overseas?

Obviously not. That’s why there will be lots of funerals this week. And there will be more funerals in America. And yes, some of them will be the result of a domestic dispute, a person with mental illness getting a gun and shooting people with no discernible motive, an angry employee ………. yes those will happen.

I don’t think we should become hardened to those shootings either. We should make sure those with mental health problems get the help they need. We should make sure that anyone in an abusive or frightening relationship is protected. The employers should know and look out for and report the invective from an employee before they go get the gun and kill someone. Those we can hope to stop.

Can we stop the terrorist attacks? I don’t have much faith that we can right now. We can stop the big ones ……. I don’t think we’ll have another 9/11 at least I pray not. Big terror plots are hard to hide now. But the “little” ones – the soft targets – the individual terrorist committed to killing? What are we going to do about those?

I hope someone has an idea. I hope we can get the intelligence we need to find them before they kill. I hope we stop harping at each other across this great divide of ideologies long enough to pull together and do something for each other. Together. Not apart.