Don’t Shoot Until You See the Whites of Their Candy Canes

In case you wondered how this whole writing thing got started for me – this is what I submitted to the Kansas City Star’s Midwest Voices contest last year at this time.  What a wild ride it has been ever since.

Don’t Shoot Until You See the Whites of Their Candy Canes

Every year there is a war declared, but it’s not the ones we are used to hearing.  It’s not the war in Afghanistan, the war on terror, or even the ongoing war on drugs.  This war is declared on talk radio, on public discussion boards and in letters to the editors in newspapers around the country.  What war are you asking?  The War on Christmas!

I am sure you have noticed it.  Walk in any mall, past all of the decorated store fronts, the Santa photo ops, mute your ears from the Christmas Carols playing over the loud speakers and you will find it, those retailers who say the dreaded Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas.  Every year this is always outrage that a City Hall somewhere in America calls a Christmas tree a “Holiday Tree”.    There you have it, the first shot fired in the “War on Christmas”.

I am one of a small minority who do not celebrate Christmas.  I am not one who declares a “War on Christmas”.  I like Christmas, my child celebrates Christmas, as a child myself I was very jealous of those who celebrated Christmas.  I mean what’s not to love? I love the lights, the Christmas carols, the Christmas cookies.  I do not want a nation whose Christian citizens do not acknowledge Christmas.  I just do not think Christmas or any other religious holiday needs to be acknowledged on public property.  That is correct, you read that right, no lights, trees or any other holiday decoration in City Hall, outside of City Hall or displayed on government property.

We have separation of Church and State for a reason in our Constitution.  I value our Constitution and by valuing it I believe we could do without all the decorating of public property.  First, it is tax payer money that goes to decorate public property so there is a savings here in this troubled economy.  Second, it is not like we will be void of all displays of Christmas.  There are houses, retail stores, Churches, private businesses all decorated for Christmas.  Why do we need to blur the lines of our Constitution for a string of lights?  Tradition you say?  I highly doubt our Founding Fathers had a pine tree, some lights and a blow up Santa in a snow globe in mind when they celebrated their season.  I believe they would have been fine if we decided not to put Christmas decorations on public property.  Some traditions are fine to break and we move on.  Save ourselves the headache of this Constitutional debate year after year and just do not do it.  Encourage our Christian citizens to knock themselves out by stepping up their decorating.  Clark Griswald yourselves out this year, bring in live camels and donkeys for your recreation of the Nativity scene if you want. Just keep it off public property.  Trust me; no one will forget its Christmas time.

I officially declare this war over.  Everyone lay down their tinsel and return your candy canes to your trees.  Regardless of what holiday you celebrate or if you choose to not celebrate remember this is a giving season.  Be kind to each other; acknowledge we are all Americans united by our Constitution.  If City Hall lacks decorations life will go on.  Now who is going to send me some delicious Christmas cookies?

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Aging – the facts and the painful journey through the McDonalds drive-thru

I’m putting aside my politics rants for today and focusing on another topic – aging.

My birthday is fast approaching and I will be 41.  41…exactly 20 years older from that amazing birthday of 21  At 21 I treated myself to jell-o shots, at 41 I am treating myself to Botox shots.  Yep, the bangs are no longer hiding the cross between my eyes that I so affectionately call my WTF line.  I blame my walk down plastic surgery lane on the Republicans.  Republicans, you blame us Democrats for out of control spending, I blame you for having to inject my face with unnatural substances.  I consider it a wash.

What else has changed from 21 to 41?  I suddenly realized that I can no longer wear leggings and a long sweater.  When I was younger and thinner it was cute.  Now it just looks like I’m leaving my house and forgetting to finish getting dressed.  I had the black leggings on this morning with a cute pink sweater that was long enough to cover my butt.  At my age, it really is all about butt coverage.    I was ready to go and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror.  It looked like I forgot my skirt – even with the long sweater.  Damn it.  Long gone are those comfortable days of leggings only.  Now I actually have to finish getting dressed.

Technology is moving faster than I am.  I think of myself as tech-savvy, but things as simple as the McDonald’s drive-thru have me in a tizzy these days.  I pulled up this morning for my simple egg McMuffin sans Canadian bacon – see previous posts.  It was the dual drive-thru – where there are two speakers, one right in front of the other one.  Anyhoo, me and mini-van approached at the same time.  Both speakers blare with, “Would you like to try our new Peppermint Mocha?” at the exact same time.  Mini-van lady says something and I try to say something.  I can’t focus.  I can’t focus on my order, because I am way too busy trying to figure out what mini-van lady was saying.  Did she say pancakes, hash brown, sausage biscuit, and 2 egg McMuffins?  Seriously lady?  All before 8 am?  What is that a clown car mini-van?  How many people are in that thing?  Is that all for you?  Where was I?  I can’t concentrate.  Did I tell my lady no Canadian bacon?  I get really grumpy if I get Canadian bacon.  Once I got the bacon and no cheese.  Then it was just the egg and English muffin.  That left me on a bitch fest like no ones business.  I kept hearing voices and I was trying to talk.  I totally understood the schizophrenic experience. Is that what McDonalds is going for with the dual speakers?   Solo speaker McDonalds!  SOLO SPEAKER!  I want to go back to simpler times.

In the end I ended up with my order correct, but it was close.  My 21-year-old self would do another jello shot and be the life of the party.  My 41-year-old self would….have another glass of wine and host the party.

Cheers!

Akin plans on writing a book? Might I suggest a flier.

Todd Akin, the MO candidate for Senate is now planning on gracing our shelves with a potential book.  Oh the anticipation for that book.  You might remember Todd, the candidate who some believe brought down the GOP with his comment about “legitimate rape”.  Now he wants to write a book.

I just summed up his book in 120 characters on twitter…I ran for senate. I said some stupid shit. I lost. The end.

Now I’m sure Todd’s take on how things went was a bit different. He probably already got the thesaurus cracked trying to find different ways to describe “bravery” and “courage”. He believes he stood up to the establishment by continuing to run when everyone told him he should step down.

I can only hope that when it is turned into the Lifetime Movie that Lindsay Lohan is tagged to play Claire McCaskill. LiLo hold your calendar open in about 2 years for this gem.  Maybe Jeff Bridges as Todd?  The Duggars can play themselves.  I call the drinking game on this miniseries – drink every time someone says “legitimate rape”.

The book that should be written is how this whole mess redefined the Republican party.  The #WaronWomen is not just a cute hash tag in the Twitterverse.  It’s a real thing and it came out to bite the whole Republican party on their white, male behind.

Akin’s one interview and his mindless statements that followed changed the establishment.  It forced the GOP to hold a big mirror up to themselves and look at more than their bad comb-overs.  They realized post-election that the party has some changing to do.  Minorities like blacks, women and Hispanics need to be included in this party if they are going to be successful.  Stupid statements like how women’s reproductive parts work won’t be tolerated by voters.

Will they really change?  Who knows.  For now, I can’t wait for the Akin book to come out.  I’m sure it will have lots and lots of pictures – the kind that need crayons to color with.

Plan B OK for Teens – First Obama’s Re-Elected and Now This?!

That swoosh you heard today wasn’t winter’s cold breeze blowing through the trees, it was the collective gasp from Christian conservatives all over the United States when a major pediatric group said this, “Emergency contraception should be available, and it should be available over the counter,” Dr. Cora Collette Breuner, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine, told HuffPost. “Education should be provided in the pediatrician’s office …”

For someone like me who has spent the better part of my career in family planning, this is music to my ears.  Hold it..did she say “over-the-counter”?    Whoa…I can’t even get my Sudafed for my winter sniffles over-the-counter without photo ID for fear of a major meth concoction that I may be cooking in my minivan.  Do you really think our kiddos are ready to check out at CVS with Plan B?

I will have to digest the over-the-counter part, but I think I like where this is headed.  While the Christian Conservatives are currently unconscious from the mere thought of Johnnie and Suzie having intercourse and then riding their scooters to the local Walgreen’s for some EC, let’s discuss shall we?

First, those ignorant of the difference between EC and RU486 – they are not the same thing.  EC does not cause abortions so chill out.  That’s right, chill out and educate yourself.  This has been a very common misunderstanding since…well since the beginning of this entire debate.  EC is very safe and effective if taken correctly.  It prevents the egg from implanting in the uterus and if you are pregnant, it will NOT CAUSE AN ABORTION!

For all my liberalness, I am struggling a bit with the over-the-counter part just because I want kids to be educated before they take this medication. It’s not like popping tictacs.  Although with EC, time is of the essence and there is not time to be wasted if you want it to work correctly.  If it stays by prescription only the only saving grace is we can all get EC with Obamacare since we will all be covered.  This of course, thanks to Obama’s re-election.

Thanks Dr. Breuner.  It takes a hell of a lot of courage to make this statement.  Now someone go wake up the Christian Conservatives, because this is happening!

The sinking Titanic, a kids ride!

This weekend I decided to take my daughter to the circus.  The circus has an intermission.  During the intermission the children were allowed on the circus floor and there were various bouncie houses and inflatable slides to entertain the children. While walking around checking out the fun, we found a rather unusual slide to entertain the youngsters.

The Sinking Titanic Slide

Nothing says fun like reenacting mass casualties on the high seas!  Watch little Johnny climb up to the top, linger for a moment and then plunge at lightning speed to what would have been his death if it really was the Atlantic Ocean that fateful night.

It seemed like I was the only one who was HORRIFIED by this simulation in mass casualties all in the name of good old American fun.

Since I seemed to be the only one sucking the fun out of the room as I stood in horror to what I was witnessing, what other tragedies could we turn into a joyful, kids ride?

How about the Hindenburg disaster?  Kids could take a ride around in a smaller version with simulated flames bursting out the back.

How about a bouncie house that looks like the Triangle Shirtwaste Factory Fire of 1911 complete with smoke and flames coming out the top?  The only way out for kids would be to climb out the top and jump out.

Finally, I could list horrible plane crash after plane crash, but I think you get my point.

Finally, Let’s top it all off with a kool-aid stand and reenact the Jonestown Massacre while we are at it.

All I can do is shake my head and say…seriously people?

 

 

 

A New Diet Called The GOP

Diet Update – Add Dennys and Jimmy Johns to the GOP Diet Plan

I don’t know about you, but I am not happy about my weight.  It seems like there just aren’t enough hours in the day to cook the healthy balanced meals for my family that I want.  Not to mention the cost of fresh fruit and vegetables just keeps going up.  Like most Americans, I often rely on fast food or convenience chain-restaurants to feed my family.  What’s the result?  Ever increasing clothing sizes, less energy and sluggish health.

Now it’s time for a change.

That’s why I’m putting my family on the new diet – The GOP Diet!

The G.O.P. Diet stands for Get Off (the) Pounds.

It’s the latest thing to come out of Washington.  It’s so easy to follow.  Just follow the conservative outrage.  Just a few easy steps and you will find the pounds simply melting away.

Firs step is simply watch the news.  Yes, that’s right.  Sit yourself down in front of the TV or computer and just watch the headlines.  It seems that every day a CEO of a major restaurant chain is coming out with an outrageous statement regarding Obamacare or some “liberal agenda”.

Take for example the CEO of Papa John’s pizza chain.  He is threatening to lay off employees instead of cover their health insurance when Obamacare kicks in.

From now on, I don’t eat any more Papa John’s pizza.  Think of all the calories I’ll save and all the pounds I’ll lose!  It’s that easy.  No tricky diets to follow or complicated meal plans.  Papa John’s CEO lives in his mega mansion, but refuses to cover health care for his employees and I save hundreds of calories by not eating his pizza.

Zane Tankel, owner of over 40 franchize Applebee’s also has said he won’t hire, because of Obamacare.  http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2012/11/applebees-ceo-zane-tankel-says-he-wont-hire-because-of-obamacare-video/

Hey Zane, here is a win-win.  Calm down Zane (love the name BTW), because I’m not eating at your establishment anymore.  The win in all this, is I’ll end up looking fabulous by not doing so!  We all know your menu is calorie heavy, the stuff I end up ordering anyway – wings, spin dip and mozz sticks.  No more for me!  It’s so simple people.  Join me and we will all end up dropping our BMI’s in the process.

Chick-fil-A – don’t like gay marriage?  It’s on the GOP diet plan.  No more Chick-fil-A for me!

The only exercise required on the GOP diet plan is the occasional protest outside of a Chick-fil-A for marriage equality.   The complete diet plan is always changing so you never get bored.  It changes daily and will guarantee to be added to as more greedy CEOs come out claiming their “bottom-line” will be severely affected by Obamacare.  Their message will probably come from their multi-million dollar mansions as they Skype this message in from their private putting green.

The plan is so simple – follow the conservative outrage and the pounds simply melt away!

I’ll update the new diet as we hear more.  In the meantime, to follow the GOP diet, remember, no Papa John’s pizza, no Applebee’s from Zane’s franchises and no Chick-fil-A.

Here’s to a skinnier Democratic Party!

Rep. John Bradford KS – A Few Lessons About Facebook

Dear Rep. Bradford,

First, congratulations on winning your campaign in the KS House 40th District!  Now that you are a public figure, things are changing a bit.  I’m sure you learned a few lessons about being a public figure when you ran for office.  I was reading KSHB 41’s website and noticed you are coming under fire for your Facebook page.

According to the article you said, “I don’t think I would ever put anything on there that was intentionally offensive to anyone,” he said.

Read more: http://www.kshb.com/dpp/news/political/newly-elected-kansas-politician-possibly-violating-facebook-rules-over-posts-about-the-president#ixzz2Bikmt5W4

Like any concerned citizen would do, I went ahead and checked out your Facebook page for myself.  To me, like our glorious American system lays out,  you are innocent until proven guilty in this country.

https://www.facebook.com/john.bradford.752

I’m back after a quick browse and I have a few observations. I get that our politics don’t match.  No biggie here.  I’m all about building bridges now that the election is over.  This isn’t a Democrat vs. Republican thing just some constructive criticism so please take it as it is intended.

1. You posted this video:  

I watched the whole video.  It starts with some disturbing video of the Holocaust.  It is narrated by a sweet, young child’s voice equating Nazi Germany and mass genocide of 11 million people with not balancing the US budget and lying by American politicians.  Like I stated before, I’m no PR expert, but people can be a bit sensitive when it comes to equating mass genocide and anything that has to do with balancing a budget.  I am happy to include myself in this category.  I’ll just sum this up as a “teachable moment”.  No problem.  Everyone has to learn sometime.

2.  Another article about Nazis.  This one about Hitler Youth.  This time it’s FEMA:  http://beforeitsnews.com/opinion-conservative/2012/10/homeland-security-graduates-first-corps-of-obamas-brown-shirts-homeland-youth-2503808.html

From what I gather from this article, FEMA hired and trained a group of people that were in the age range of 18-24.   This article from a source called “Before It’s News” equates this new group of FEMA graduates with Hitler Youth.

Rep. Bradford, just between you and me.  Here’s another great “teachable moment” Rep. Bradford – Just an FYI,  Nazi Germany and the Holocaust was a horrible scar on history.  People take offense to it.  There is also a delete button on your Facebook page so you can actually delete posts.  Once someone educates you that mass genocide can be offensive, you can actually delete offensive posts.  I know..right…it’s amazing.  It took me a while to figure that out as well.  It’s that little tiny x at the top right of the box.  I wasn’t posting Holocaust stuff, more like Honey Boo Boo jokes that weren’t really funny, but I have hit the delete button more than once in my life.  Don’t even get me started on all the silly stuff I’ve put out on Twitter.

3.  Finally there is this great pic.  I’ll just recognize this as a difference of opinion on gun control.  Just remember we seem to have a bunch of mass shootings made easier with weapons like these.   Right or wrong (mostly right) people also can be a bit  uptight about “funny” pics like these as well.

I hope you have found this little Facebook 101 sensitivity training helpful.  Remember, no Nazi jokes, no genocide jokes and no mass shooting jokes and you should be fine.  I’ll be sure to remember to stay away from Honey Boo Boo jokes just to be safe.

I’ll leave you with this catchy phrase I just made up..”If you don’t want to take the political heat, just remember to hit delete.”

Your new Facebook “friend”,

Aimee

Pro-Life Candidates Get Biggest Message From Campaign

So it’s over.  50% of the country is celebrating and the other 50% is trying to figure out what the hell happened.  Let the campaign analysis begin.  Mittens lost.  Did Obama out campaign him?  Did his own party blow it for him?  Was it Sandy’s fault?  Christie’s fault?  The flag pin’s fault?  My fault?  Mitt was so close.  He was never close really.  I guess it depends who you ask and who you want to believe.

The one thing we can all agree on as a nation is the whole campaign system is broken. The good news is it goes well with our broken economy.  Kinda like the shoes matching the belt.   The reality is it isn’t changing anytime soon.  So here is my big take-away from this whole thing.

A very strong and direct message was sent to the Pro-Life Movement yesterday.  Now that this election is over, I feel like I can lay it all out here.  See, we all know what Akin said.   I think he never really believed that the female body had a way of “shutting the whole thing down” when it came to pregnancy.  I believe extreme Pro-Life candidates like Aiken who said OUTRAGEOUS things about women’s reproductive systems were really saying, “I am pro-life in all cases even rape and incest.”  They just didn’t have the real guts to lay it out so concretely.

Instead of just saying that, they knew that it would be highly unpopular with moderate Americans.  So they started tap dancing to try to cover-up these extreme views.  In fact, there was more tap dancing around this than the talent portion of the Miss Glitter Pageant of Toddlers and Tiaras.  The more they danced the worse it got.  By that time you had statements like Akin’s and Mourdock’s who had just justify pregnancy somehow so they blamed God or excuse me, said pregnancy from rape was what “God intended”.

What once was a movement that seemed unstoppable, the Pro-Life movement, suddenly came to an abrupt stop or at the very least hit an enormous speed bump.  It wasn’t that people reacted to how stupid these statements were and didn’t vote for these candidates.  That conclusion is far too simplistic. I believe there was also a reaction to the intent of the statement – the statement being abortion in all circumstances, even in times of incest and rape was unacceptable.  The American people stopped this type of candidate.  To be perfectly clear, I’m not saying the American people all became pro-choice and everyone now has a Planned Parenthood bumper sticker on their car, but they certainly sent a strong message that pro-life in all circumstances regardless of how the pregnancy occurred did not appeal to them.

As I sit in KS, or as Fox News abbreviated it last night – KA – the hub of Pro-Life extremism, I sit satisfied that what used to be the unstoppable Pro-Life movement finally received a strong message from their own party.  There are limits.  The American voter has limits.  Abortion in all circumstances is not something the American people ultimately believe in.  Abortion in times of rape and incest and in times when the mother’s life is at risk is something the American people find acceptable.  Akin’s loss was more about his intention behind his stupid statement and not just based on his statement alone.

Time will tell if the GOP will take this message to heart and really try to change things before 2016.  I have some ideas about changing the whole campaign  system.  For example – the primaries?  That process sucks if you are the running against an incumbent.  Lengthening the presidential term.  Four years isn’t enough.  Look at how long FDR had to get us out of the Great Depression.    Don’t get me started on the Electoral College.   Somebody in charge of this stuff give me a ring if you want some ideas.

In the meantime, the campaign is over….now what?  Ping-pong anyone?

7 Stages of Voter Grief

It’s the day before the election.  I am like most Americans – Republicans and Democrats and even those rare few who are “undecided”.  I’m gearing up to vote tomorrow and then sit and anxiously watch the returns come in.  Today I am going through a wide range of emotion on the last day of this crazy campaign cycle.  I’m calling it – the 7 stages of voter grief.  See if you can relate:

Stage 1 – Shock and Denial

Tomorrow it’s all over?  It can’t be all over!  What will I do with all my free time?  Maybe I’ll take up a new hobby like knitting or extreme couponing?  It can’t really be all over.   Surely this can’t be it.  There will probably be an extension anyway.  Hello, can anyone say hanging chads?

Stage 2 – Pain and Guilt

What if Obama doesn’t win?  What kind of country will I be leaving to my children and grandchildren?  I’m on an emotional cliff right now, because this country is hanging on a fiscal cliff.  The point is we are all on some sort of cliff.  This according to the 1.5 million emails I have received this election cycle.  Everyone  tells me it’s urgent and it’s up to me to vote their way make the death spiral it stop.  It’s all resting on my shoulders.  The fate of the nation is all on my shoulders people.  If the country spirals out of control tomorrow, it is my fault, because they told me so.  Somebody pass the antidepressants.

Stage 3 – Anger and Bargaining

Who the hell are you guys to put all of this on my shoulders anyway?  If it wasn’t for you politicians always placing blame on each other maybe we could get something done in Washington.  If Washington wasn’t just one campaign cycle after another maybe this country could actually move forward instead of always playing politics as usual.  You career politicians can suck it.  I just may not vote so there!

Stage 4 – Depression, Loneliness and Reflection

What difference does it make?  Will my vote even count tomorrow?

Stage 5 – The upward turn

Yes, my vote counts!  Every vote counts.  That is what makes America great!

Stage 6 – Reconstruction and working through

I believe that not only does my vote count, but I am part of the solution.  As JFK said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country!”

Stage 7 – Acceptance and Hope

I will vote tomorrow!  I will vote and I will believe in hope and change (again).

My weekly list: hybrids, eyebrow waxing, Pro-Life and Julia Roberts

So I’m sitting in a coffee shop writing my blog. This is a first. I feel so cool just by association.  I’m really just killing time waiting to meet some friends for dinner.  Of the six people in here on a Friday night, I could have birthed about 4 of them.  This is just fueling my fire and now Adele just started to play.

Perfect time to get a few things off my chest.  When I was thinking about what to write, there were too many things swimming through my brain to limit it to just one subject so I thought I would compile a Friday list of things.  Strap in..it’s going to be a wild and random ride:

1.  My liberalmobile lied to me.  A few months back I gave up my gas munching SUV for an environmentally friendly hybrid.  My sky-blue baby even has a little earth on the dashboard that lights up with an ivy halo when I reach peak environmentally friendliness.  You can only drive one of these if you are a card-carrying member of the Democratic party.  Now I find out that Hyundai lied to me about gas mileage.  It was an “oversight” said Hyundai.  Sure – if I forget to pay my car payment this month, I’ll blame it on an “oversight”.  Now, Republicans tell me again how government oversight is a horrible thing for businesses?  Turns out I will be getting a refund for false advertising.  Damn those government regulations.  Those bad, bad government regulations that keep businesses honest by making them actually tell consumers the truth.

2.  This little study that came out earlier this month that studied if women were given FREE birth control – that means access to any birth control, including IUDs and implants what would happen.  Turns out the abortion rate GOES DOWN.  Did you read that – the ABORTION RATE GOES DOWN.  My blood pressure continues to escalate when I try to figure out how people can be pro-life and anti-obamacare.  I absolutely, positively don’t get this one.  Check out this incredibly cool video below.  I hope people watch this before Tuesday and vote these radical, pro-life extremists OUT of office.  They just don’t make any sense!

3.  This is a random one, but one that the ladies out there will understand.  I have been getting my eyebrows waxed since I was 14 years old.  Yes, 14 years old.  These days, eyebrow waxing for preteens is something we only see on Toddlers and Tiaras.  We are outraged when we see it now, but remember, this was the 80s when seat belts were just becoming mandatory and cold medicine for kids was given in mass quantities, sometimes even just to put Jr. to sleep.  Anyway, my mom told me at the time that the more years I had it done the less it would hurt.  That’s right – the more years I had it done, the less it would hurt.  It has been 26 years later and it still hurts like hell.  She lied.  I”m still working through this.  It never gets any easier.  As much as I love my mom, I’ll admit I’m still kinda pissed.

4.  This election is almost over.  If I’m getting tired of it and I’m a political addict, you know it’s been bad.  I’m already looking for things to fill my time after Tuesday.  I’ve decided to go on a spiritual journey.  That means I’m getting ready to join a synagogue.  I’m thinking my spiritual journey will be like Julia Roberts in Eat, Pray, Love.  I’ve never seen the movie, but I fantasize that my journey will take me to far away places where I will meditate with Russel Brand, eat gourmet meals with Gwyneth Paltrow and pray with people like Madonna.  The realistic journey is I will get my tush down to the local synagogue and pray.  This should be interesting.  More to come with this one.  It definitely can’t hurt and if anything may help me to be a little more pleasant and possibly a little less eccentric.  God, I hope you are listening to this.  Get ready.

Have a great weekend.  Remember to vote.  Please vote for Obama, but if you must vote for Romney – we can still be friends.  Just vote.  One thing is for sure, Tuesday night I will either be cheering or sobbing, but the world will keep on turning.  Wednesday will still come far too early and we will get up and get on with our lives putting one foot in front of the other.  America will survive and the same issues will be debated for generations to come.

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