Tag Archives: politics

I’m November Dreamin’

To borrow a phrase from the late great Congressman John R. Lewis, I hope to get into “good trouble” for this post.

In 1963, John Phillips woke his wife Michelle in the middle of the night to tell her about a song idea. Michelle wanted to go back to sleep, but John encouraged her to get up and help him write the song. She wrote the second verse, and two years later they’d record it with Cass Elliot and Denny Doherty. John, Michelle, Cass, and Denny were The Mamas and the Papas, and the song was California Dreamin’. It was a huge hit.

I’m old enough to remember when that song was new. And now, 55 years later, I’ve taken the liberty of rewriting John and Michelle’s iconic lyrics with a new message for 2020. I’ve even recorded it in Garage Band, added video with iMovie, and posted the song, I’m November Dreamin’, on YouTube.

You can experience the entire project (including three-part harmony, artwork that I found on Pixabay.com, and video of me rapping) here. Or just search YouTube for “I’m November Dreamin’. The title is unique, so far.

I’m no Mama Cass – I can’t sing as well as any of the Mamas OR the Papas – but I suppose I might qualify as The Grandma. I might, in fact, be the oldest rapper on YouTube.

I’m not here to toot my own horn. The whole purpose of the video (and this post) is to get Americans riled up enough to vote in November (for the alternative to “you know who”). So, if you like the video, I’d really appreciate it if you’d share it far and wide. And of course, I’d love to get your likes and comments here, and on YouTube.

Just in case you’d like to sing along with me, here are the lyrics to I’m November Dreamin’:

All the leaves are green
and the sky is blue                               
I’m hopin’ for a change,
somethin’ we can do.
I’ll be feelin’ better
when this administration’s through.                                    
I’m November dreamin’
‘bout electin’ someone new …    
 
I’m gonna vote by mail,
maybe you are too,
or you can go and stand in line
where they will welcome you.
Ya know it’s time to make a difference,
Defeat old you-know-who.
I’m November dreamin’
‘bout electin’ someone new!
 
Rap:
 
This isn’t a game, and what’s even stranger is
he’s deranged. Oh yeah, he’s dangerous.
He won’t take blame, he lies and he’s lazy.
Get him outta D.C. ... the guy is crazy!
Puts kids in cages, but then he’s liable
to brag about his brain while holdin’ a Bible!
He insulted McCain, but he’s always rootin’
for his pals like Stone and Vladimir Putin!
Don’t want more of the same? Then ya gotta be a chooser.
You all know his name, let’s make him a loser.
He appeals to his base … aww … they must be trippin’,
It was a tight race, and now he’s slippin'. But
NO! This is NOT the time to relax.
Let’s give it what we’ve got up to the max.
It’s our only shot! Don’t sit around and gloat.
We’ve gotta vote!
 
All the leaves are green
and the sky is blue.
We’ve got a racist in the White House,
doesn’t have a clue.
It’s really time for an eviction
at Pennsylvania Avenue.
I’m November dreamin’ 
‘bout electin’ someone new,
‘bout electin’ someone blue,
and I hope that you are too!
 

Again, thanks for comments and sharing!

A Jumble of Emotions

Dear friends,

HUGS.

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I hope you are well.

To say I’m going through some weird feelings at the moment because of the pandemic is an understatement. It feels dystopian. Unreal.  It’s a little like the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Some days, I experience all five. This post is going to be a jumble of emotions. So be it.

Two days ago, I think depression was winning. But I’ve been trying to cope by reading, writing, watching TV, going for walks, and taking photos. Here’s a cute black-tailed gnatcatcher I saw the other day :

Black-Tailed Gnatcatcher-2

I admire his optimism. I hope some of it rubs off on me.

I’m worried, especially when I think about those of you in parts of the world, and in my own country, who are struggling the most. Italy, New York City, nursing homes, hospitals. The unemployed, parents who need childcare, people in prisons, the homeless, the sick, the elders … it’s mind-boggling and I know we’re in for a long ride. I never imagined being here. None of us did.

And I’m sad because my family lives 2,000 miles away. I’ve even fantasized about driving there, sleeping in my car along the way so as to avoid hotel germs, and arriving on their doorsteps with sanitizer in hand (which I don’t actually have because the stores were out of it) … but I’d just be a possible carrier, adding to their problems, so it’s best if I stay away. (Which reminds me: Have you seen Mel Brooks’ video where he tells his son to “go home”?)

I guess I’ll have to rely on texting, calling, and even dreaming to stay in touch with family. I literally dreamed about my two young grandsons last night. They will each have a birthday that I will miss this year.

My city, Tucson, just closed all restaurants and bars today. I think take-out is still an option, but sadly, I’m sure that doesn’t apply to bars. Glad I stocked up on wine, but three bottles doesn’t seem like nearly enough now.

On the bright side, scientists, medical professionals, some political leaders, small businesses, ordinary people are actually pulling together and making sacrifices for the sake of the greater good.

And I’m actually pretty impressed with how many of us humans are acting humanely, and are even finding and spreading humor on the internet. Is there a reason that the words “human” and “humor” are so similar?

By the way, here’s what made me laugh today:

90357626_10156672820196326_781163901562650624_n

In the days to come, I hope to continue with my emotional outpourings. In the meantime, please let me know how you’re doing. Are you coping? Do you need a virtual shoulder to cry on? If so, I’m your person. Comment away.

 

 

 

 

Diversity Song

Yesterday, I walked to a little park near my apartment. It was a beautiful day. People of all ages, shapes, and sizes were out walking and riding bikes. A gray-haired woman sat on a bench in the sun next to a young woman with Down syndrome. A bald man on a recumbent bike sat quietly next to a statue, a memorial to children in the community who have died. Children played on a rainbow-colored slide. I noticed that it was also a rainbow-colored variety of children; their hair was black, brown, and yellow. It got me thinking about America.

It’s hard NOT to think about America these days (especially if, like me, you happen to be an American). We’re in the news every day, and most of it’s downright embarrassing. But at the park, I started thinking about what I believe truly makes America great. To me, it’s our diversity.

Maybe this Thanksgiving, Americans should make more of an effort to give thanks for our diversity. And maybe we should celebrate it this Fourth of July, too.

Tonight, I’ve written some lyrics about diversity in America. You might want to sing them to the tune of “America the Beautiful” while sitting down for your Thanksgiving dinner this year.

DIVERSITY

Oh beautiful for this our home
For mountains, rivers, trees
For buffalo so plentiful
Fish swimming in the seas
For Native people living here
Respectful of the land
The beans and corn and squash adorned
That perfect feast so grand

Oh brave the many immigrants
Who faced the ocean storms
With hopes of finding better lives
Wishing to be transformed
And braver still the stolen ones
Robbed of their liberty
Our country’s been a melting pot
Though not completely free.

We stand for nothing if not this:
We are diversity
A land of many colors proud
That is our legacy
America, America
Our strength: our many shades
A garden where all flowers grow
Where every grain can wave!

© Lori Bonati

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Looking Ahead to 2020

They say the 2020 U.S. Presidential race began last night. If so, I guess the time has come to share with you my latest music video, “2020,” which you can listen to and view here:

2020 Music Video

I was amazed and flattered that it took third place (based on applause) at a recent local amateur film contest. The 300-person mostly college-age audience was clapping in time and loudly singing along even before the first verse ended!

If you like the video, please “like” it here and on YouTube, and share!

Spoiler Alerts:

  • I rap during the instrumental part. (My audience actually whooped with surprise when they heard it.)
  • It has a beat you can dance to.
  • I’m not exactly a fan of Donald Trump, as will become obvious.
  • Here are the lyrics, minus the rap:

2020

Verse 1:

In two thousand twenty, the votes they will be plenty
Cryin’ out for justice, and nobody can bust us!
Don’t call us a snowflake, we’re more like an earthquake, yeah!
Just like an eruption, we’ll throw out corruption, yeah!

Verse 2:

In two thousand twenty, our voices will be many
It wasn’t an illusion, you’re guilty of collusion
We’ll show you we aren’t buyin’ your wall and all your lyin’, yeah!
There’s one way to beat you, our votes they will defeat you, yeah!

Chorus:
In 2020, heed my words
Your hopes will fly like little birds
Democracy will get a boost
The eagle will come home to roost
The world will be a better place
When at last you lose the race
No longer will we see your tweets
The victory will be so sweet!

(Instrumental/Rap)

Verse 3:

In two thousand twenty, the votes they will be plenty
Cryin’ out for justice, and nobody can bust us!
And you can quote us, we’re puttin’ you on notice, yeah
Just go ahead and quote us, you never were our POTUS, yeah!

© Lori Bonati, 2018

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Note: These are my unapologetic sentiments. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, but I’m worried about racism, xenophobia, guns, and the future of our planet, and it’s just time for me to make a little noise about it. I hope you’ll sing along, and play it loud!

Don’t forget to watch the video and share if you like it!

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Hoping for Change

I’m watching the U.S. midterm election results tonight. It’s been a nail-biter of an evening so far, with many races “too close to call.”

8:15 p.m.: The balance of power may be shifting ever so slightly tonight. There may be a glimmer of hope on the horizon.

8:20 p.m.: But wait, I think they just announced the results from Texas, and I’m not pleased. My favorite candidate is down 2%.

I need to get back to watching the results.

I think I’ll just post this photo for now. This is how I feel tonight: cautiously optimistic, hopeful, but with my guard up, knowing this dry spell may last a little longer.

carrot-3

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Thanks to Joan, Heather, and the NFL

Last night, I dreamed I met Joan Baez.

I was standing just outside of her dressing room, a small trailer with an open window (as in a food truck) on one side, and the door on the other. With tears in my eyes, I stood in the doorway and told Joan Baez that I’d been a fan since I was 12 (that’s not really true; I was about 15). Then I told her my current age, and she said, “Well, that says a lot.” (She’s older than me, actually, but I refrained from telling her so.)

Even though a throng of fans was crowded around the open window, she turned away from them to have a private chat with me in the doorway. Still, I had the awkward feeling that I couldn’t quite express myself to her. I told her I loved how she sang a certain song (one of her earlier folk songs) but in my dream I told myself that I really loved another one better, and if only I could remember its name I’d tell her I loved that one, too. I felt like I was acting like a typical gushing fan, the last thing I wanted her to think of me, and that maybe she was just humoring me.

But then she handed me something — a gift of some kind — and as I walked away, I said to someone, “Now I can send her a thank you card!”

So here it is. Thank you, Joan, for inspiring me as a young woman to buy a guitar, to learn your songs, to play along with your records, to try and hit your high notes (both musically and politically). Thank you for introducing me to pacifism and protest marches. And thank you for that gift, whatever it was, in my dream.

Maybe I dreamed about you last night because this weekend is the one-year anniversary of the racist Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville — the one that resulted in the murder of Heather Heyer, a believer in social justice who was there protesting the rally.

So here’s another thank you — this one is for Heather Heyer.

Thank you, Heather, for helping to keep the spirit of protest alive, and for standing up against racism and injustice. And thank you for your last post on Facebook, which was: “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.”

And, while I’m at it, thank you to the NFL players who’ve been taking a knee to protest racism and injustice. Shame on you-know-who for criticizing their peaceful form of free speech.

Unbelievably, another white supremacist Unite the Right rally is scheduled to take place in Charlottesville this weekend. What a slap in the face to all that’s decent in the world.

I think I’ll spend the rest of today practicing my guitar (until my fingers get sore, anyway) while thinking about peace, justice, love, and protests. Maybe a new song, or at least another dream, will come of it.

Do You Like Ike?

In the midst of all the turmoil surrounding #45, I’m thinking today about a different man: #34. What would he have thought of the current state of American politics?

Dwight David Eisenhower was the U.S. President from 1953 – 1961. He defeated Adlai Stevenson in a landslide. (The electoral vote was 442 to 89.) His campaign slogan, “I Like Ike,” caught on because, by and large, it was true. Ike was a very likeable guy.

Did you know that he had six brothers, and that all seven of the boys were nicknamed “Ike”? For some reason, his was the only one that stuck. It’s a good thing his nickname wasn’t “Dwi.” “I Like DWI” may be true for some people, but it isn’t a very good campaign slogan.

On our recent road trip from Arizona to New York, we stopped in Abilene, Kansas (Dwight’s hometown) after eight hours of driving. Just before entering the town, we passed a billboard advertising the Eisenhower Presidential Library.

DDE Library

Only a week or so before, our friends Kathy and Ray had mentioned that we should check out presidential libraries if we ever came across them in our travels. We decided to take their advice before leaving Abilene the next day.

But first, we had dinner at Joe Snuffy’s Old Fashioned Grill. If you’re ever in Abilene, Kansas, you really should grab a bite there. For a family diner, they have excellent wine! And food! And most of all — service! I can’t say enough about old Joe Snuffy’s. My favorite part was our teenaged server, who, like Frank Mills in the musical Hair, “resembles George Harrison of the Beatles.” He (our server) was very sweet, standing next to me while I took the first bite of my meal to make sure it was okay.

But back to Ike. At the Eisenhower Presidential Library, I learned a lot about #34’s life as a boy, man, and world leader. I even got to tour his childhood home, complete with all the original furnishings.

DDE Home 2

On the tour, I learned some surprising facts. The family was far from wealthy (they’d moved to Abilene with only $24 to their name). His mother was a former Mennonite who was opposed to war. His family valued education highly, but the only way Dwight could attend college was by going to a military school (West Point) where tuition was free.

The boys were assigned rotating chores, all learning to cook and to sew. Here’s the “dough box” where the Eisenhowers placed their bread dough to rise.

DDE Home 1

Although I know his Presidency is probably not without controversy, here are some of the positive things Dwight D. Eisenhower (a self-proclaimed “progressive conservative” and a Republican) managed to accomplish while President:

  • continued and expanded New Deal social programs
  • helped end McCarthyism
  • signed the Civil Rights Act of 1957 (and sent Army troops to enforce school integration)
  • authorized the Interstate Highway System
  • promoted science education
  • emphatically expressed his concerns about what he called the “military-industrial complex.”

In spite of all his achievements, Eisenhower once said that “the proudest thing I can claim is being from Abilene.” You’ve got to like that, especially when humility is in such short supply at the White House these days.

Lines in the Sand

As promised yesterday, I’m posting more photos of the Sea of Cortez. I took them in 2006 while on vacation in Mexico. I thought this post would just be about the photos. But, as often happens when I start writing, I never know where I’ll end up. True to form, my voyage today to the Sea of Cortez has brought me to some unexpected territory.

The featured image above shows 13 birds (12 pelicans and 1 independent-minded seagull). I thought that was rather fitting for the Day 13 Nano Poblano challenge. Here are some other photos that I took that day:

I’ve always found footprints in the sand intriguing. The bird tracks were made by a seagull (maybe the one in the photo above). The wave tracks make me think about how temporary everything is, like these word-tracks that I’m typing right now.

I was surprised to see a U.S. Capitol building on a beach in Mexico. I wouldn’t have expected that, given the tensions between the two countries. But the picture was taken in 2006, before talk of any border wall, right? Wrong. I just Googled “history of U.S. border wall” and found this article on worldstir.com that gives a timeline of U.S./Mexico border issues since 1845. Construction of a border wall was first mandated in 1993.

One thing that struck me about that timeline is that U.S. policies toward Mexico have always been calculated to serve our interests and ignore theirs. First we took their land through war, then we encouraged their people to immigrate here for their cheap labor, and then we deported them again when the Great Depression hit. We even require Native Americans whose tribe spans both countries to carry documentation with them when they travel within their own land, and we arrest and deport them when they fail to do so. I’m interested in this topic because, having worked in Tucson schools, I’ve known of many “dreamers” who feel like they’re out of options, or who live in fear that their parents will be deported while they’re at school.

After reading the timeline, I was curious to learn even more and found a Library of Congress post about the history of Mexican immigration. The article begins like this:

“The first Mexicans to become part of the United States never crossed any border. Instead, the border crossed them.”

A line in the sand, the imprint of war. Why can’t we all be like the pelicans and gulls, and just learn to get along?

Badge 2017

 

 

Lost and Found

“Lost and Found” is my first ever guest post! I wrote it for Day 9 of “Rage Against the Machine,” running through November at The Seeker’s Dungeon (hosted by Sreejit Poole). You can find my guest post (with song video) by clicking here.

Many thanks to Sreejit Poole for allowing me to participate in “Rage Against the Machine.” Be sure to visit him at The Seeker’s Dungeon.

This is also my Day 9 post for Nano Poblano. Check out their awesome blog posts here!

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Thought Bubbles

On January 22, 2017, I was standing at my kitchen sink doing dishes. It was Inauguration Day. I scraped, I scrubbed, I scoured (I don’t own a dishwasher), and for some reason I started thinking.

Maybe it was the inauguration that made me want to wash something. Or the news about Monsanto bidding on some farmland just west of here, so they could build a seed research facility. Or possibly, just the sight of all those suds in the sink had set my mind to wandering. It was as if my head were full of thought bubbles.

Just as one popped, another one would form. I was thinking about pesticides, and the election, and my children’s future. I felt a sudden urge to scream, but instead I quietly turned off the water, dried my hands, and walked down the hall to my office. Sitting at the keyboard then, I felt a faucet turn on in my consciousness, and my thoughts dripped out through my hands and onto the screen.

Here’s what I wrote that day, word for word:

———-

“So here is what I was thinking while I washed dishes:

I was thinking that some of the world’s biggest problems can best be solved if we do just one thing: simplify.

Break them down into their bare bones.

Start thinking like a child.

Now I know very little about Monsanto, and the science, which makes me feel like I’m not qualified to write to the newspaper expressing my opinion about Monsanto. I’m sure I would get shot down or receive hate mail due to my ignorance. But then I realized that I actually know quite a bit. Here is what I do know about Monsanto:

Aren’t they the company that produces Roundup?

Isn’t Roundup responsible for the decline in the bee population?

Isn’t the decline in the bee population something that threatens our crops and all manner of life on this planet, eventually?

Isn’t Monsanto turning a blind eye to that despite scientific evidence?

Isn’t Monsanto also responsible for creating special seeds, genetically modified, which they are forcing farmers to grow, and isn’t Monsanto prohibiting farmers from growing their own seeds?

Isn’t all of this crazy?

Then I realized that, even though I don’t have too many scientific facts in there, I do have an even more valuable commodity … common sense. Well, maybe just as valuable. And science is, in fact, predicated on common sense, logic if you will.

I was thinking much as an innocent child would, who is often times even closer to the truth of the matter than we realize.

Then I started thinking about politics. Uh-oh. Don’t get me started. It’s inauguration day, after all. But now I am started. And I just can’t stop.

I just can’t stop thinking about how a child would see this whole Donald trump thing. A child would probably say, why would we want to put a bully in charge of anything?

And isn’t it bad to grab, and point, and make fun of people?

And why does he call someone “my African American” … he doesn’t own him.

And why is Donald trump so rich, and all of his friends so rich, and why are only the rich people in charge? And isn’t it better to share?

And why do people want to hurt each other?

Why do they argue so much?

Isn’t it better to get along, to be nice and kind and friendly?

Why do people vote for someone who says he grabbed someone? Or that he could shoot someone and that people would still like him? None of this makes any sense at all.

And why do people think that war solves problems? We have been having wars since forever and they haven’t stopped yet. Maybe adults should try something new instead of repeating the same things over and over again.”

———-

So there you have it – recycled thought bubbles from a little over nine months ago. Unlike regular bubbles, thought bubbles can be saved in special places, like notebooks and hard drives. I take them out sometimes and I shake them like snow globes just to see what happens. Sometimes the scenes come to life, rearranging themselves in newer, smarter, or more interesting ways. Other times, it just snows.

Either way, it’s a much better way to spend my time than doing dishes. And who knows, maybe January 2018 will turn out better. I might have a dishwasher, at least.

 

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