Mayflower Kitten Gets a Christmas Home

Eight feral and stray cats have found their way to our house. During the summer of 2008, a stray cat (Mama Cat) had a litter of four kittens under a bush in our front yard. We discovered the kittens when they were about a month old. I affectionately refer to it as “kitten summer,” because I was working on an advanced certificate in Urban Studies for a pay increase. The program was mostly online, so kittens afforded me a delightful break from tedious school work. Our dog at the time, a beloved, but selfish, Yorkshire Terrier named Bodhi, was not impressed with our attention toward the kittens. Since I am severely allergic to cats, keeping the kittens was not an option. But since we were able to acclimate these cuties to humans, we were able to find loving homes for all of them.

Two years later, on Mother’s Day, we saw Mama Cat again – this time with two kittens. These kittens were apparently born under a different bush in our front yard. When we first saw them, they were too old to domesticate. So we contacted a local rescue agency (Heaven Can Wait), who provided us with three traps. It took about a week to trap, fix, and release Mama Cat and her two boys. Afterwards, Mama Cat never returned to our yard, although for a few more years we would see her roaming the neighborhood. The boys we ended up naming Queso (cheese) and Cracker. About a year later, we returned from vacation to find Cracker missing; it broke our hearts. But Queso is still in residence. He divides his time between our back yard and the neighbor who lives behind us. Suzanne – the owner of three house cats – is able to coax Queso (who she calls Mikey) into her house only during morning hours, when he likes to be groomed. During the evening, he pretends not to recognize her.

Around 2013, an older kitten showed up at our doorstep. Although blind in one eye, “Buddy” was a charmer. Our neighbor across the street adopted him to be the brother of her two existing house cats. We love hearing about his crazy antics, as he continues to amuse.

Enter Mayflower

On Thanksgiving morning, my daughter-in-law saw a kitten dash by our back door. Given the day he arrived, I named him (not knowing the sex) Mayflower. This kitten was an absolute delight, who within a day allowed my husband to pet him. He absolutely adored our new dog – a five-month-old Xoloitzcuintli (Mexican Hairless) named Layla. They became devoted playmates. It was clear that Mayflower wanted to be an indoor cat. We posted pictures on Facebook and placed flyers with his photo on all the mail boxes in our neighborhood – with no response. I contacted a work friend who is a cat person, and Liz offered to foster Mayflower until he could find a forever home. However, we preferred to keep him in the neighborhood, so he could continue his play dates with Layla. We finally contacted Suzanne who had been out of town, and after reaching out to her Facebook friends, she found the perfect (purrfect) family.

On Christmas Eve, Suzanne brought two British scientists to our house. They immediately fell in love with our little darling, taking him home that afternoon. While it was sad to see him leave, it is heartwarming to know that Mayflower – now known as Einstein – has a forever home.

Christmas Stockings

1969 was the second to the last Christmas I shared with my brother. Harvey was 14 years my senior, and in 1970, he died from complications of muscular dystrophy. We were both adopted at birth – from separate birth families.

I came into the family around the same time Harvey was transitioning into his wheelchair. When I began walking, Harvey was forever confined to his chair. However, our differences did not impede our relationship. As a toddler and young child, Harvey would join me on the carpet for play and affection. I was rarely in a stroller; rather, when we went out as a family, I sat on Harvey’s lap as my mom or dad pushed the wheelchair. Later, after I started school, I would walk alongside Harvey. Occasionally, we were even allowed to walk alone together to the ice cream parlor down the street and around the corner.

That second-to-the-last Christmas morning, Harvey came into my room to wake me up. It was a first. Normally, it was I who woke up Harvey. According to family rules, we were allowed to empty the gifts from our stockings on Christmas morning, but we had to wait to open our wrapped presents until mom and dad had their coffee in their hands. And even then, it was a controlled affair – one gift at a time was opened, and traditionally Harvey passed them out.

On the memorable Christmas morning, Harvey rolled into the living room as I ran alongside him. He got out of his chair on his own, as I removed the stockings from the fireplace mantle. Harvey’s stocking was smaller. It was red with a white fur trim and said “Noel.” My stocking was red velvet with white trim and bells. It said my name: “Joy.”Immediately, confusion set in. My stocking was filled with nick-knacks and items suitable for a young man, while Harvey’s stocking contained little girl toys. Santa had clearly made a big mistake! Mom and dad heard all about it when they got up some minutes later. The rest of the day went on as normal.

The following year everything changed. I woke up Harvey, and when we went for our stockings, Harvey stayed in his chair. Later, dad gave me the job of passing out presents. I looked to Harvey for approval; he just nodded and smiled. That February, he died three days before his 23rd birthday. Life would never be the same.

Our new Christmas tradition involved setting up a small decorated Christmas tree at Harvey’s grave. Visiting the cemetery was not just a Christmas ritual, we went every Sunday. At home, both of our stockings were hung on the mantle.

After I graduated from high school, my parents moved to Las Vegas. They downsized into a small apartment where they had no room for storage. So all of our holiday decorations were stored in a friend’s garage. His roommate cleaned things out, and everything precious to me was thrown away.

Dad passed away in 1980 from lung cancer, and mom died in 1991 following a stroke. When I cleaned out my mom’s apartment, to my immense pleasure, I found a couple of Christmas decorations mixed in with all her random memorabilia. These treasured decorations are in the photo above.

Comfort Food

We all have that favorite meal from our childhood. The meal that evokes my happiest memories is Ham Soup. My Jewish mother learned to cook from her Polish in-laws, and this dish was a family favorite. (Clearly, my mother had no interest in keeping a kosher kitchen.) Part of the allure of this meal is that it always followed a holiday: Christmas or Easter. (When you have one Jewish parent and one Catholic parent, all holidays are celebrated!) Basically, this is what we did with leftover holiday ham. Whatever ham is left on the bone becomes the heart of the next meal. My mom insisted on ham butts – never ham shanks. Yellow split peas are the key ingredient to this soup. In California in the 1960s, this was a hard-to-obtain item. My mom would get care packages sent from her sister-in-laws in Buffalo, New York. I get mine from Whole Foods Market. Green split peas are just not the same – they never get creamy enough. Also, you don’t want too much peas in the mix; after all, this is NOT pea soup, it is ham soup. For me, the vegetables are the best part. Truth be told, I have primarily eaten a vegetarian diet since I was 14. However, never wanting to pass up a cultural experience, I indulge in animal protein a few times a year. Since my kids (now adults) also love ham soup, it remains a bi-annual favorite.

Ham Soup Recipe

Ingredients:

  • Bone from a Ham Butt
  • 1 – 1 & 1/2 C. Dried Yellow Split Peas
  • Yellow Onion
  • 6-8 Carrots
  • 2-3 Potatoes
  • Bay Leaf
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions:

  • Sort and rinse yellow split peas.
  • Trim visible fat from the remains of the ham butt – this is easy to do after the ham has been refrigerated over night.
  • Place the ham butt and peas in a large pot.
  • Fill with water to nearly cover the ham butt.
  • Add the bay leaf.
  • Bring to a boil, then turn to low.
  • Stir periodically.
  • Simmer until peas melt – about two hours.
  • Remove ham bone.
  • Peel and slice carrots – add to soup.
  • Peel and chop potatoes – add to soup.
  • Peel and chop onion – add to soup.
  • Carve desirable meat from bone – cut into bite-sized pieces – add to soup.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • When the vegetables are soft, the soup is done.
  • Serve with a loaf of artisan bread and enjoy! ❤️

 

America’s Correlation to Nazi Germany

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You can’t win by comparing Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler.

President Obama took some serious heat from the morning news commentators last Sunday. On CNN’s State of the Union show with Jake Tapper, Obama’s statements at the Economic Club of Chicago on Tuesday, December 5, drew some negative reactions. Amanda Carpenter accused President Obama of “intellectual laziness,” while other guests attempted to backpedal the message. Van Jones sounded out later in the day, noting that this is not just an American problem, and he clarified that Obama was calling out global right-wing populist movements to “sound a global alarm.”

So what outrageous statements did our former president make? Discussing our fragile “garden of democracy,” President Obama warned against taking for granted the institutions we have built. He noted that the combination of globalization, technological innovation, and economic uncertainty has culminated in a collision of cultures, and our quest for security has resulted in tribalism and assertion of our superiority. Ultimately, Obama referenced the high culture present in 1920s/1930s Vienna. He stated that people believed democracy “would continue into perpetuity. And then 60 million people died. And an entire world was plunged into chaos. So you’ve got to pay attention – and vote!” Noting that democracy is reversible, Obama warned against complacency and advocated “being engaged, paying attention, and speaking out.”

Is there a legitimate risk of the Trump presidency degenerating into a totalitarian dictatorship? Are correlations to Nazi Germany valid? Republicans claim blasphemy at any comparison between Trump and Hitler, and Democrats do not want to appear too extreme or diminish their integrity by acknowledging any connection. Nevertheless, parallels are undeniable.

Aside from their shared narcissism, penchant for revenge, and mastery of communication and branding, Hitler and Trump have widely different personal styles. Hitler married late, and Trump married often. Hitler was a vegetarian, and Trump is a fast food fiend. Hitler served in the military, and Trump dodged service. Hitler rose through the ranks, and Trump parlayed a million dollar loan from his father into a multimillion/billion dollar empire. While Hitler wanted to take over the world, Trump’s modest goal is for American (and Russian) oligarchs to secure global wealth at the expense of the proletariat. Despite some significant differences between these men, the similarities between the Trump and Hitler regimes are markedly similar and should not be ignored or dismissed.

Ten Similarities Between the Trump and Hitler Regimes

1. Amount of Staunch Support

In both Nazi Germany and contemporary America, about 35% of the population demonstrated loyal support for Hitler and Trump. In 1932, at the peak of their popularity, 37% of Germans voted for the NSDAP aka the Nazi party. According to the most recent Gallup pole (12/3/17), President Trump’s approval rate is at 35%. Many people are surprised to learn that the majority of Germans did not support Adolf Hitler. Despite the prominent optics and disproportionate media coverage, the majority of Americans do not support Donald Trump.

2. Demographics of Support

Both Hitler and Trump drew their support from working class and rural individuals. The polarization of Weimar Germany followed urban versus rural demographic lines. In Germany’s multiparty political system, the urban population generally supported the socialist and communist parties, while rural voters got behind the NSDAP aka the National Socialist German Workers’ Party aka the Nazi Party. Similarly, the United States is divided between the so-called “coastal elites” and residents of the more conservative heartland.

3. Racist Ideology

Targeting minority groups elicits support from both Hitler and Trump’s traditionally-minded core of supporters. In Germany, Jews were an easy and visible target. In the United States, every decade our population becomes more diverse, and each new group becomes the target of xenophobic rage. The Irish, Southern Europeans, Eastern European Jews, and Asians have all taken big hits. Native Americans and African Americans have faced perpetual discrimination. Since the 1980s, Latinos – particularly Mexicans and Salvadorans – have been heavily targeted, and since 9/11, Muslim-Americans have been demonized. The plan is to prevent social class awareness by elevating the core supporters above a manufactured underclass.

There is also a connection between racist ideology and demographic support. Immigrants generally settle in urban areas. Thus, urban populations have more exposure to people from diverse cultures. Jews are generally urban dwellers. In Germany, many people in rural areas had little to no exposure to Jewish Germans; this predisposed them to believe the negative propaganda disseminated by the Nazi regime. Similarly, many Americans in rural communities have never met a Muslim, and thus, they are more apt to believe manufactured threats such as the imposition of Sharia law in American society. Lacking interaction with Americans of diverse cultures, many small-town Americans are fearful of the change that comes with new ideas and differing cultural traditions.

4. Dependence on Big Lies

Hitler notoriously advocated the telling of big lies, which, as he proclaimed, are much more believable than the little white lies all people are capable of spreading. Donald Trump has taken dishonesty to an epic level. From the size of his inauguration crowd to the millions of people he claimed illegally voted in the 2016 election to his current mega-lie that the Republican tax plan was devised to benefit the middle class. In his book, The Art of the Deal, Trump extols the virtue of “truthful hyperbole,”stating that “it’s an innocent form of exaggeration, and a very effective form of promotion.” According to PolitiFact, 70% of Trump’s statements during the campaign were false. Sadly, Americans have become numb to his lies; it is the new normal.

5. Attack on the Press

Upon coming to power in 1933, the Nazis seized printing presses and controlled the message entirely. Trump’s attack on the press is shocking and disturbing. He seems determined to destroy our First Amendment freedom of the press. However, Trump is not our first president to attack the press; John Adams’ Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 expanded treason to include any writing that was deemed to be false, scandalous, and malicious. In modern times, Donald Trump has taken his anti-press dialog to a frightening place. Allegations of “fake news” and references to “the failing New York Times,” are near-daily utterances from Trump and company. Although direct suppression of the press has not yet occurred, it is surely not beyond the range of possibilities under Trump.

6. Militarization

Hitler drew popular support from his violation of the Treaty of Versailles, including his building up of the military and his remilitarization of the Rhineland, not the mention the Anschluss, the Sudetenland, the invasion of Poland, and WWII in general. Donald Trump has surrounded himself with military advisors at the highest level. Hell-bent on provoking our enemies (and friends), Trump insults world leaders, seemingly baiting them into making a first strike. As a candidate, Trump advocated expanding the use of torture and dropping nukes on adversaries, and he claims to know more than our generals. He campaigned against American involvement in foreign wars, but during his brief tenure as president, Trump has pushed us closer to conflict with Iran, Syria, Niger, and North Korea. Finally, under the leadership of Trump appointee Rex Tillerson, the State Department has been displaced by the Department of Defense. Ultimately, the world is a much less secure place with Donald Trump in charge.

7. Inciting Violence

Nazi Party violence is infamous. In his rise to power, Hitler depended on the SA aka the Brown Shirts aka the Storm Troopers to terrorize civilians. Hitler’s arrest after the Beer Hall Putsch bought him time to author Mein Kampf – his manifesto. The elite force known as the SS notoriously carried out the Holocaust, which remains the quintessential example of genocide. During the campaign, Donald Trump encouraged supporters to beat up protesters, exclaiming “get ‘em out of here.” He promised to pay the legal fees for supporters who roughed up the opposition and “joked” about encouraging police brutality. Trump’s tacit support of neo-Nazis at the march in Charlottesville demonstrates where his heart truly is.

8. Authoritarian Ambition Coupled with a Cult of Personality

Fascism is not built in a day. When Hitler combined the offices of Chancellor and President following the death of Paul von Hindenburg, he became a full-fledged dictator. Hitler then suspended elections and political parties. One step at a time, Hitler nicked away at democratic institutions while on his mission to install his fascist state apparatus. According to the December 9, 2017, New York Times article “Trump’s Way: Inside Trump’s Hour-By-Hour Battle for Self Preservation,” Donald Trump had an “unrealistic expectation” of the power that came with the office of the presidency. It seems that Mr. Trump anticipated that he would be “ruling by fiat, exacting tribute and cutting back-room deals.” The article revealed that Trump is frequently in a state of rage concerning his impotence as president, yelling out orders to aides and members of Congress. Clearly, Trump is beyond frustrated with the limitations placed on the office of the presidency as defined by the Constitution. In addition to Joseph Stalin, Hitler and Trump are the best examples of the Cult of Personality. Others might want to lump FDR and Bernie Sanders into the mix, thanks to their loyal followers and astute messaging, and If Beyoncé was politically motivated, she would potentially be a great candidate.

9. Outreach to the Masses

Both men depended on rallies and propaganda to gin up the masses. Hitler’s rallies were infamous. The movie Triumph of the Will documents the fervor and mania present in both the Fuhrer and his supporters. Unlike any politician in modern times, Donald Trump holds regular rallies to invigorate his followers and further alienate his opponents. Joseph Goebbels – Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda – controlled the message of demonizing the Jews and elevating the Nazi doctrine to the point of Total War. Everyone in Trump’s White House is on the propaganda bandwagon. From “alternative facts” Kellyanne Conway to Press Secretaries extraordinaire Sean Spicer and Sarah Huckabee Sanders to Grim Reaper Steve Bannon, there appears to be no limits on political lies and spin. Of course the worst offender is Trump himself. In the spirit of giving credit where credit is due, it would be remiss to not acknowledge Trump’s oratory skills and marketing acumen. Although his detractors cannot fathom his populist attraction, dissertations are being written on the appeal of Donald Trump. As he boasted, Trump could shoot people on 5th Avenue and still not lose support. No matter how outrageously he speaks, tweets, or behaves, his followers either applaud or rationalize his deplorable actions.

10. Support from Establishment Politicians

Adolf Hitler was invited to join the Weimar government by president and military hero Paul von Hindenburg and other members of the German National People’s Party who thought they could control him. Similarly, rather than utilizing the electoral collage the way our forefathers intended in the Constitution, the Republican Party handed over the nuclear codes. In an effort to push forward their economic and social agenda, this band of sellouts has disgraced our nation and placed our democracy in jeopardy.

According to Godwin’s Law – a term coined in 1990 by American lawyer Mike Godwin – given time, every argument will eventually degenerate to the point of one member of the opposing party calling out his nemesis as a Nazi. Although conventional wisdom warns against making this dicey comparison, it is equally foolish to ignore the correlations between the Hitler and Trump regimes.

Are we set to experience a repeat of the 1930s? Not exactly. Trump has obviously not silenced the press, eliminated (read killed) his opposition, or initiated genocide. His atrocities to date include promoting environmental degradation, encouraging manipulation of the economy to further advance the 1%, weakening our democratic institutions by installing secretaries like Betsy De Vos, Rick Perry, and Ryan Zinke (individuals determined to destroy the agencies they oversee), race-baiting to create an atmosphere of ethnic hostility, and installing ultra-right-wing justices like Neil Gorsuch to ensure conservative policies for decades to come.

We are still in the early day of Trump, and the future is uncertain. Thus, it is prudent to heed President Obama’s advise by “being engaged, paying attention, and speaking out.” History will only repeat itself if we allow it. We must never let our guard down, and we must not normalize the reckless behaviors of Donald Trump.

 

Trump’s Short Game

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So much to destroy, so little time. It is the end of our world as we know it.

A myopic vision yields devastating consequences at every level. Donald Trump’s impulsiveness and lack of foresight in controlling his verbal vomit messages will culminate in his political demise. However, the consequences of his tax policies and his abdication of global leadership will have long-lasting and potentially irreversible negative repercussions.

Twitter-Talk

Oh yeah, this will be the death of Trump. No time to proof read? Sloppy errors! Covfefe. Slow down, Donny Boy. Take your time.

“I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI.”

Oops! You said it. No, your lawyer said it. No, I think it was really you, and your lawyer, John Dowd, is looking at disbarment at the very least. While not the first Trump associate to be thrown under the bus, Dowd will certainly not be the last. Jared’s future looks dim, and unlike Flynn, I doubt that Trump will fall on his sword to protect Donald Jr. While I am happy to witness Trump’s self-destruction, I am heavy-hearted contemplating the inevitable consequences of his tax policies, which were designed to enrich the elites by bankrupting the masses, and his brazen determination to abandon our role of global leadership – both of which will lead to our demise as a nation.

Tax Cuts for the Wealthy

Oh boy! Oh boy! Oh boy!

Gimme my money. Gimme your money. Bankrupt the nation!

So let me get this straight, let’s give give the poor and middle class short-term and nominal tax relief, while the very wealthy get record-breaking tax cuts. We will trick the plebeians with the promise of a side-dish of trickle-down bullshit.

Wait, it will be okay, it will be great. The wealthy are going to reinvest their extra cash to create jobs. Right? I seriously can’t believe that the same Republic leaders who decried the deficit threat under Obama are now ready to increase it exponentially. Can you say hypocrites? Who needs taxes anyway. The private sector will repair infrastructure, and help the poor, and educate the young, and fight the wars. Trump’s plan is intent on bankrupting our nation of financial and environmental resources in an effort to line the pockets of the oligarchs. A special thanks to Rex Tillerson; no one knows the business of exploiting nature for financial gains like this oil man. Short-term economic gain for the chosen few = long-term financial devastation for the 99%.

Relinquishment of Global Dominance

I willingly confess to having a critical view of the United States’ imperialist practices in the 20th century and our disastrous wars in recent decades. However, like all Americans, I want the United States to be the world leader. I just want us to behave our best and earn our place at top the fair way, instead of rising up by sabotaging and manipulating smaller nations. We all want to be winners, after all. Donald Trump ran his campaign with the promise of winning so much that we would get sick of winning. That hasn’t happened. Instead, under President Trump, we are losing our position of global leadership to the Russians and the Chinese.

Trump’s time at the helm will hopefully be a limited affair. Even if Mueller does not do him in, his fast food habit most certainly will. However, the effects of his presidency will have long-term consequences. Russia and China are poised to overtake our position. The Donald has been eager to acquiesce to Vladimir Putin – for whatever reason. Rather than maintain American hegemony, Trump has given Putin the keys to the kingdom. The United States under Trump has willingly relinquished our global leadership role. We literally gave it away. As if being Putin’s bitch is not enough, we have opened the door for a stronger China.

The Long Game

Both Russia and China are masters of the long game. Once Ivan the Great finally drove out the Mongols in 1480, the czars kept a stranglehold on the Russian people and their subjugated neighbors. The communist revolution certainly shook things up, even marginally raising the living conditions for the proletariat. However, basic freedoms never materialized. The fall of communism in 1991 did not bring long-lasting liberty, and older Russians longed for a return to communism rather than face the deprivation of the post-communist era. The kleptocracy of the Putin regime has solidified the master class of Russian oligarchs. This arrangement seems to be the model for Trump.

As the longest-lasting civilization in world history, China plays the long game even better than Russia. This nation has survived changing dynasties and a communist revolution whose integrity was predicated on eliminating Western influence. The rebound came with Deng Xiaoping who revolutionized the economy by embracing capitalism. In the 40 years since the death of Mao Zedong, China has clawed their way to the top of the global economic pile, and they are poised to economically overtake us. Trump’s dereliction of duty has cleared the path for these powerful and skilled adversaries to dominate the 21st century.

With centuries of totalitarian control under their belts, Russian and Chinese dictators have mastered the art of exploiting the masses for the good of the state. The critical difference is that Russia and China did not sell out their nations the way Trump is selling out the United States. Our adversaries are strong, determined, and committed to the long game, while Trump is determined to reap short-term economic gain for his family and other wealthy patrons.

Donald: What is the master plan? Do you have one?

As State Department positions go unfilled, you have placed your loyal supporters – despite their incompetency – in Cabinet positions. These people were selected explicitly to destroy the very agencies they were appointed to. Hello Betsy DeVos, Rick Perry, Scott Pruitt, and friends. Our government is rotting from the inside out and from the head – Trump. I get that the people who elected you (some are members of my own family) supported your promise to drain the swamp. Fed up with politics as usual, they wanted change. However, instead of draining out government corruption, special interest groups, and Wall Street, Trump and company are draining every last dime and natural resource from the nation.

Rome did not last forever, but 800+ years is a good run. The British Empire dominated the world from the 17th century until WWII. I knew United States’ hegemony would not last forever, I just did not think our demise would occur in the dawn of the 21st century and a reality TV host would literally sell out and give away our power and position.

Ageism: The Equal Opportunity Discriminator

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For the first time in a long time, I was the youngest person in the room. At age 56, this is an increasingly rare occurrence. The event that placed me in this odd situation was the first meeting I attended for the Retired Public Employees of Nevada (RPEN). This is my new retirement union, so it was no surprise that at 56 I was the youngest attendee.

Most of us have been guilty of undervaluing, disrespecting, and marginalizing the elder members of our community at sometime in our lives via rude and hurtful comments, outright discrimination, and/or deliberate marginalization. I grew up in the 1970s by the retirement community Leisure World in southern Orange County, which my high school peers nicknamed “Seizure World.” Randomly, my cousin and his wife moved to Leisure World within a year of meeting the minimum age requirement of 55. They jokingly rationalized the move, citing that it would prevent their adult children from moving back home with them. Even now, I am guilty of savagely profiling that ever-decreasing population of people older than myself. Currently, I live less than a mile from the retirement community of Sun City in Las Vegas. When a slow or otherwise poor driver is in my neighborhood, as a reaction I assume that they will be turning off on Del Webb Boulevard, the entrance to Sun City, when in reality it is usually a young or middle age driver illegally engaged with their cell phone.

I recently read the November 20, 2017, article in the New Yorker by Tad Friend, “Why Ageism Never Gets Old.” Friend notes that ageism – especially toward women – has been an ongoing drama in Hollywood, but as the article points out, Silicon Valley is an even worse offender, where the old adage – “don’t trust anyone over 30” – painfully holds true. The article references Vinod Khosla, a venture capitalist who stated, “people over forty-five basically die in terms of new ideas,” to which I say, “Bullshit.” But this is what we are up against. What ever happened to respecting our elders or at least valuing their contribution?

Devaluation in the workplace is a huge issue, especially in a time when people are expected to delay retirement by working through their sixties. While some of us have jobs and careers that support this new normal, for most of us it is unreasonable and frankly impossible. People with physically demanding jobs have often destroyed their bodies by their mid-forties. In other occupations, management is eager to ditch older, higher paid employees for those who are just starting out. I have seen this situation in my previous workplace, where older teachers – whose salaries are double that of newer teachers – get reassigned to less desirable positions in an effort to encourage them to take an earlier retirement than they had planned. BAM!

Even when you don’t feel particularly old, you have been profiled. My first ageism slap came when I changed teaching positions – leaving a tech-based magnet school for an inner city high school. I went from a position where I had garnered respect from both students and colleagues to a place where I was just an old white lady. It hurt, and it was hard to reestablish myself. Months later, I found myself back on stable ground, but it took patience and perseverance. I had to prove my professional competence and my commitment to my new community of learners. The experience left its mark. I was battle-scarred, but not broken.

On a daily basis, countless individuals are subjected to racism. I have personally experienced antisemitism and sexism. And many of us currently feel like we are living in an era of anti-intellectualism. What we all have in common is a current or impending battle against ageism. It is a guaranteed experience for all of us who pass their 50th birthday, and in some professions it reveals itself even earlier. In the end, it is a status we must all endure.