This is Part 2. If you haven’t seen it, you can watch Part 1 here.
This is Part 2. If you haven’t seen it, you can watch Part 1 here.
I don’t know that I would go this far, even though I do think that Edward Snowden did the American people a favor by letting us know the extent to which our government was spying on us.
It is, however, an indicator of how at least some people in other countries feel about his actions that Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower, has been nominated for the Nobel Prize. If it does nothing else, the nomination — which probably has scant chance of ever being more than a nomination — demonstrates just what a rattrap our “representation” in Washington has become.
From USA Today:
STAVANGER, Norway (AP) — Two Norwegian politicians have jointly nominated former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, saying his disclosures of secret U.S. documents have contributed to making the world more peaceful.
Anyone can be nominated for the prestigious award, so the submission Wednesday by Socialist lawmakers Baard Vegard Solhjell, a former environment minister, and Snorre Valen just means Snowden will be one of scores of names that the Nobel committee will consider.
“We do not necessarily condone or support all of his disclosures,” the two lawmakers said in their nomination letter. “We are, however, convinced that the public debate and changes in policy that have followed in the wake of Snowden’s whistleblowing has contributed to a more stable and peaceful world order.”
My mother was sick last night, so I didn’t give a lot of thought and attention to President Obama’s State of the Union Address.
I watched part of it by picking up a live stream on my laptop. But other things took my attention after that and I didn’t see the rest.
The major take-away I got from what I saw is that our president is a fine orator. President Obama’s speech — at least what I saw — was witty, charming and upbeat. He delivered it flawlessly.
As for the substance of it, I’ve heard the good news about America’s growing oil independence before. I think this is wonderful. It’s key to our economic stability and foreign policy freedom of action.
I’m not so impressed with the figures on the economy, for the simple reason that I think that we need to do a lot more to get this country back on track economically. I’ve said in other posts that I believe we must work to re-industrialize America.
A country that does not make its own goods is in a weak position in the world. The president’s ideas about re-building the infrastructure might help do that; if we can pry the contracts out of the hands of the usual pork-barrel recipients and actually work to advance a true free market ethic that gives everybody a chance at the gold.
I could go through the issues he raised, in fact I probably will go through them at other times, in more detail. But basically, it was the same stuff we’ve been talking about for months. I agree with President Obama about some things, and disagree with him emphatically about others.
My primary concern after watching what I saw of the speech is two-fold.
One, I’m tired of seeing the Speaker of the House sit behind the President with a look of obvious hatred on his face. It’s fine to disagree with people on issues, but this business of making everything into a the-other-side-is-the-devil hate-off is harming our country, not to mention doing mental and emotional damage to the politicians indulging in it.
Second, I wonder if Congress going to just keep on yammering at itself and allow the President to make Congress irrelevant in governing this country?
It seems to me that these two concerns are intimately related. Congress is like a bunch of drunks in a bar fight who won’t let themselves be interrupted in their slug-fest, even though the building is on fire.
The Speaker of the House needs to grow up and get over himself. So does everyone else in Congress. Nothing they do is about them and their mulish and picayune little grudges. Their job is about this country.
Congress needs to assert itself as a legislative body and take its place in the system of checks and balances that make this country free. That requires a lot more intelligence and forethought, not to mention higher aspirations, than I saw on the Speaker’s face last night.
This is a video of the President’s entire State of the Union Address 2014.
What does it mean when the Holy Father is Man of the Year for both Time Magazine and the nation’s number one gay publication?
What, pray tell, is the significance of a pope on the cover of Rolling Stone?
1. The Catholic Church is not irrelevant.
2. The Pope is showing us how to evangelize through love.
This adulation from the press won’t go on forever, of course. Sooner or later the media will figure out just how tough and immovable Jorge Bergoglio is when it comes to the Church and her teachings.
I think we should just roll with it and enjoy our Pop Pope’s popularity while it lasts.
And, in what is probably the most sincere of the bunch, the Holy Father has achieved super hero status in graffiti land.
Violent persecution of Christians continues in Nigeria.
At least 99 people were murdered in attacks on worshippers at a Christian church. The attackers also razed homes in the same town.
From ABC News:
Suspected Islamic extremists used explosives and heavy guns to attack a village and worshippers during a Christian church service in Nigeria’s northeast, killing at least 99 people and razing hundreds of homes, officials and witnesses said Monday.
The attacks in Borno and Adamawa states resulted in one of the highest death tolls in recent attacks by militants who are defying an 8-month old military state of emergency in three states in northern Nigeria designed to halt an Islamic uprising there.
Attackers set off several explosions in Kawuri village in Borno state after launching their assault near the weekly market as vendors were packing up on Sunday night, the security official said.
He said 52 people died and the entire village was burned down, including 300 homes. He also said two improvised explosive devices thet were left behind went off Monday morning, narrowly missing security personnel who were collecting bodies in Kawuri. The official blamed suspected Boko Haram militants for the attack.
A police official who evacuated wounded victims confirmed at least 52 people were killed and 16 wounded. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not permitted to speak to reporters.
Ari Kolomi, who fled from his village, which is 70 kilometers (45 miles) outside Maiduguri, the Borno state capital, said, “No house was left standing” by the more than 50 extremists who attacked, armed with explosives and guns. Kolomi was searching for relatives in the village to make sure they had survived the attack.
State Police Commissioner Lawan Tanko confirmed the attack but said he was awaiting details on the casualties.
Also on Sunday, suspected militants in Adamawa state, south of Borno, stormed a Roman Catholic church during a Sunday morning service in Wada Chakawa village. They fired guns into the church, set off explosives and took people hostage during a five-hour siege, residents said. The Rev. Raymond Danbouye, a spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Yola, said dozens of people were killed.
Archbishop Cordileone called on young people at the West Coast March for Life to defend both the sanctity of human life and the sanctity of marriage.
His message is especially powerful, coming as it does from an area of the country in which much of the population appears to be hostile to traditional values.
I see Archbishop Cordileone’s statement as the first of what will grow into a movement in the future. Promoters of gay marriage often tell us that in a few years, people will look back on those of us who support traditional marriage and say that we were on the wrong side of history.
Not so, my friends.
In future years, the struggle for traditional marriage will still be on-going. Like the pro-life movement, it will grow stronger as the debacle we have brought on ourselves becomes more apparent.
The first step is for Christian people to reclaim the sanctity of marriage in their own lives. This means that Christian spouses should keep their vows to love and cherish one another, forsaking all others.
From The National Catholic Register:
SAN FRANCISCO — A massive crowd stretching out for a mile in sunny downtown San Francisco showed the growing momentum of the Walk for Life, which celebrated its 10th anniversary for participants from across California and neighboring states.
On Jan. 25, more than 50,000 people gathered in front of San Francisco City Hall, and the diverse crowd included a mix of ages and ethnic and religious groups, with songs and prayer in English and Spanish.
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, during hishomily at the Mass proceeding the rally, congratulated the young people present for embracing the pro-life movement and for joining the hundreds of lay activists, priests, women and men religious and seminarians at St. Mary’s Cathedral.
“The steadily expanding presence of young people at the Walk for Life, he said, underscored a new generation’s awareness that abortion harms rather than helps women.
“Forty years and 58 million abortions later, the very painful truth has come to light: Yes, abortion does hurt women,” said Archbishop Cordileone.
The San Francisco Church leader credited an older generation of pro-life activists with helping to change the nation’s view of abortion and demonstrating “heroic virtue” during past decades when those who challenged the legalization of abortion were stigmatized. Now, he warned the students at the cathedral, they must help enlighten their own peers about the central role of marriage as the sanctuary of life.
“The pro-life movement is about more than saving the life of the baby,” said Archbishop Cordileone.
“It’s especially about connecting that baby to where he or she came from: the mother and the father. …There is no other institution that does that.”
… Archbishop Cordileone urged the young Catholics at the cathedral to stay “close to Christ” as they seek to present the truth about marriage.
“Future generations will understand that the natural truth of marriage benefits everyone and discriminates against no one,” he predicted.
“But prepare yourselves: It will require heroic virtue, for there is a lot of reverse bullying going on these days.”
To join the discussion about The Seeker King, or to order a copy, go here.
Elvis Presley never grew up.
He hit the big time when he was still a relatively unformed young man, and based on what I read in Gary Tillery’s biography, The Seeker King, remained emotionally at that age for the rest of his days.
Sudden success on the scale that Elvis achieved can and often does become a prison for those who experience it. The constant hammering from well-meaning fans exerts enormous pressure to withdraw from normal life.
I think people underestimate the powerful talent possessed by artists such as Elvis. His ability to connect with and hold his audience through decades of ups and downs was not just a manifestation of press and hype. There is an ability to touch people on a visceral level in these great stars. They have something in them that reaches through the screen or down from the stage and connects with the people watching them in a way that those of us who are unaffected by it don’t really understand.
This kind of magnetism does not admit the normal limits that exist between performers and their audiences. It creates a fusion between the artist and his art that leaves no space for the person to exist.
Elvis was young and naive when he rocketed to fame. He was a high school graduate raised by adoring but impoverished parents in the rural South of the great depression. His parents’ love gave him the sense of self necessary to step out as an individual at an early age. Their unquestioning support was, in a very real way, the loft beneath his wings.
But nothing in his background prepared him to deal with the onslaught of fame that took over his life when he was barely out of school. He fell, as so many of these young talents do, into the habit of isolating with a group of paid cronies. Sadly, he was introduced to mood altering prescription drugs by physicians who were, to a great extent, just another part of his entourage.
Despite all this, he retained the generous and gentle spirit, the courtesy and spirituality, that were his trademark. Elvis was intelligent and sensitive enough to hunger for more from life than empty fame. Based on what I read, it sounds as if there was a bit of esp in Elvis’ family, and that he had a good dose of it himself.
He grew up in the Holiness church of the 1930s and 1940s South. The beliefs he found there didn’t leave him as an adult, but he seems to have hungered for an understanding of God that went deeper than that simple theology.
The book draws its name from Elvis’ constant seeking after spiritual truth. This quest ran through all the years of isolation that became his life after he achieved stardom.
From his first hit record, Elvis ceased to live as a free person. I think that his plight, including the increasing and ultimately fatal dependence on prescription drugs was, to a great extent, the product of surrounding himself with hangers on whose livelihood depended on keeping him caught.
It must take great self-awareness, courage and determination for a person this famous to build an independent, healthy life for themselves. Elvis came to his fame from a background that did not give him the skills or associates to handle what his life became. He was so young when he became The King that he was still figuring out who he was.
It’s to his credit that Elvis Presley stayed a nice person despite all this. He was, in many ways, an innocent until the day he died. That’s because Elvis Presley was hermetically sealed in the capsule of his fame and the entourage that formed a protective barrier between him and the outside world.
Elvis died from what amounts to medical malpractice by doctors that he trusted. It is bitter irony that this man who didn’t drink and who abhorred drugs was hooked on prescription drugs and ultimately died from that untreated addiction because he believed that if a doctor prescribed something, it had to be safe and medicinal.
I recommend The Seeker King to those who are interested in Elvis Presley. It is also a good case study in the deleterious affects of fame on the lives of public figures.
One doctor’s answer to the argument that the baby is going to die anyway. This doctor also explains how Obamacare violates the consciences of medical practitioners with its enforcement of abortion at any cost.
As a side note, I know a number of people who have healthy children that they were told to abort because the baby supposedly had a terminal illness or grave disability and, when they refused the abortion (often they were under serious duress from their doctors to abort) the baby turned out to be fine.
You gotta admit. I do have an interesting job.
One of my colleagues in the Oklahoma House of Representatives has filed a bill that would make marriage illegal in Oklahoma. He says this is a way to keep gay marriage out of the state and satisfy the Constitution.
I’m not going to comment about this right now. I may have to vote on it. And I definitely will be hearing about it in more detail in the next few days.
In the meantime, I’m going to toss it out there for Public Catholic readers to chew on. Remember: No name-calling or verbal fisticuffs.
From Oklahoma’s Own News 9:
OKLAHOMA CITY -
State lawmakers are considering throwing out marriage in Oklahoma.
The idea stems from a bill filed by Rep. Mike Turner (R-Edmond). Turner says it’s an attempt to keep same-sex marriage illegal in Oklahoma while satisfying the U.S. Constitution. Critics are calling it a political stunt while supporters say it’s what Oklahomans want.
“[My constituents are] willing to have that discussion about whether marriage needs to be regulated by the state at all,” Turner said.
Other conservative lawmakers feel the same way, according to Turner.
“Would it be realistic for the State of Oklahoma to say, ‘We’re not going to do marriage period,’” asked News 9′s Michael Konopasek.
“That would definitely be a realistic opportunity, and it’s something that would be part of the discussion,” Turner answered.
Such a discussion will be made possible by a current shell bill — something that can be changed at almost any time to react to upcoming rulings on Oklahoma’s same-sex marriage ban.
“I think that, especially with issues like this, [these lawmakers are] out of touch with most Oklahomans,” said Ryan Kiesel, ACLU Oklahoma executive detector.
Oklahoma is having a bit of a kerfluffle over the morning after pill.
On one side, we have a law that passed last session, simply requiring a prescription for the morning after pill for minors.
On the other side, we have the self-appointed, self-annointed arbiters of a narrow and monstrously patriarchal ideology of feminism that says that women’s human rights center entirely around the pelvic region. The whole purpose of “women’s health” and “women’s rights” as they are pushed by these people, is not the welfare of young girls. It is making them sexually available.
The pink-shirted spokespeople for this viewpoint hold that every girl needs to dose herself with dangerous chemical forms of birth control. If that fails, every girl must then avail herself of even more dangerous and higher dosages of chemicals in the form of the morning after pill. If that fails, well, then, it’s off to the abortion clinic.
And then, I suppose, back into the back seats of cars.
Because, you see, “everybody” has sex at 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, whether they want to or not. And “everybody” needs to make sure that this sex they’re having in this randomized, callous hook-up culture that deprives them of intimacy, tenderness and caring is “safe.”
Safe, I wonder, from what? And safe for whom?
Anytime we talk about the “teen pregnancy problem” in this country, the talk is all about how to dose young girls with as many hormones as we can possibly get into their young bodies. While Oklahoma argues about niceties like required prescriptions, New York is passing these same drugs out to school girls like candy.
Because, you see, it is well-known that we have a “teen pregnancy problem,” and the cause of this problem is that young girls aren’t properly dosed up with hormones. It has nothing … I repeat; nothing … to do with the fact that young girls in our society no longer feel free to say “no” to sexual advances.
It also has nothing to do with the fact that young girls (and boys) are so Daddy deprived, so hungry for anything that passes for male approval, that they do not have enough self to stand against the tide of exhortations, “education,” peer pressure and constant drum beat of messages from the media to demand what they want.
And what do they want? I would guess that young girls want what every other person on this planet wants: To be valued for themselves. The sick sadness of teaching them that they should search for this in random sex is beyond comprehension.
How is pushing dangerous chemicals on them anything other than an attack on young girls’ health? How is encouraging them to be sexually available and taking away their freedom to say no anything other than a blatant destruction of their developing sense of self?
How does targeting young girls as the way to deal with the “teen pregnancy problem” as if it was their problem alone manage to become women’s rights? Isn’t it obviously … and I say again, obviously … just the old sexual double standard all dressed up in a money-making bonanza for the people who run the bogus sex education classes and make money off pushing chemical birth control with an abortion chaser on our school kids?
This is not “women’s health.” It is also not “women’s rights.”
It’s the double standard, in all its dehumanizing, death-dealing force, come back around again.
This article from a few months ago, describes the situation. From the Daily Mail:
Hooked on the morning after pill
It used to be a last resort. Now a generation of young women use it as their regular contraceptive – with potentially devastating consequences
Tania Mirmothari was worried sick. The previous night, the 19-year-old from Wakefield, West Yorkshire, had had yet another drunken one-night stand.
Carefree at the time, the following morning she’d woken with a thumping hangover, horrified at the realisation she might be pregnant.
There was only one thing for it: Tania went to her local walk-in health centre and asked for the morning-after pill.
Risk-takers: Tania Mirmothari (left) and Helen Tsingos regularly take the morning after pill
As she sat in the waiting room, she cringed with humiliation. Shockingly, this was Tania’s fifth visit that year. Four other times in the past 12 months she’d found herself sitting, red-faced, in the same clinic, waiting for her prescription.
‘I look back with shame,’ says Tania, who is now 22, and in a long-term relationship while training to be a social worker. ‘I was just out getting drunk, messing about and being stupid, having one-night stands with boys who did not mean anything to me.
‘But going to the walk-in centre, I started to feel really embarrassed. I saw the same lady each time and she recognised me. I dreaded having to ask for the prescription, but then, what could I do?’
Many might argue that, actually, there were quite a few things Tania could have done: not drinking herself into oblivion every weekend was one; not falling into bed with a stranger another; and using contraception a third.
Like a growing number of young girls in our binge-drinking culture, however, such precautions would be abandoned around the time of her fifth vodka and coke.
‘I have friends who’ve taken it three times in one month. There’s so much pressure on us to be sexually active’
And at the back of her inebriated mind was the knowledge that, whoever she woke up with the next day, she’d be able to get hold of the morning-after pill just as easily as a paracetamol — or the next round of drinks.
Not so long ago, the morning-after pill was viewed very much as a last resort, described by health professionals as ‘emergency contraception’. It was designed for use in the rare event of regular contraceptives failing. But since it was made readily available over the counter 11 years ago, not to mention being increasingly accessible online, young women like Tania are taking it not in emergencies, but whenever it suits them, as their preferred method of contraception.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2142089/Hooked-morning-pill-It-used-resort-Now-generation-young-women-use-regular-contraceptive–potentially-devastating-consequences.html#ixzz2rdDI9PuP
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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, in a now-famous rant, put out the Not Welcome mat in front of Empire State pro lifers. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is at odds with the governor over much else, followed up by announcing that he stands with Cuomo “100%” when it comes to this.
It’s not often that Bishops of the Catholic Church feel called to chastise a politician’s statements publicly. In my experience, they tend to bend over backwards to assume the best. They give the politician in question every opportunity to either correct themselves verbally, or show by their actions that they didn’t really mean it.
In addition, Bishops are not prone to take note of politician’s speeches. It has to be something major, extremely grave and dangerous to the welfare of the larger Catholic community before they inject themselves into pubic commentary about the various political gaffes floating around the internet.
I think it’s telling that Governor’s Cuomo’s outlandish remarks were so over the top, that the Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo responded publicly.
Insofar as his job of Governor is concerned, the question of Governor Cuomo’s standing with the Church is a secondary issue. What matters specifically to his position of governor is his standing with the people of New York.
Is he the governor of those who agree with him and none others? Does he seriously think he’s been elected king of New York and it’s within his purview to go around announcing what kind of viewpoints and beliefs New Yorkers are allowed to hold?
His comments go far beyond normal political misbehavior and step over into is-he-nuts territory. What’s going on with the Governor of New York?
Here, for your delectation, is a bit of what Governor Cuomo said:
“Their problem is not me and the Democrats; their problem is themselves. Who are they? Are they these extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay? Is that who they are? Because if that’s who they are and they’re the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.”
I’ve held off writing about this because it is so over the top in terms of acceptable behavior from an elected official that I decided to give it a bit of time to jell. I wanted to allow Governor Cuomo a chance to issue a press release saying, I was suffering from gastroenteritis/drunk/grief-stricken-because-my-dog-had-died at the time and said things that in no way represent what I truly think. Nothing that carries the flat-out I-did-not-mean-it apology which I think is required for such outrageous comments from an elected official has ensued.
It appears that not just the Governor, but the mayor of New York (or, as we call it where I’m from, New York City) are standing pat. They may not agree on much else, but they agree “100%” that people who think differently from them on a whole range of issues are not welcome in New York.
This isn’t about pro life vs pro abortion. It’s not about gun control vs the Second Amendment. It’s also not about gay vs traditional marriage. It’s about two elected officials who, from all evidence, have totally lost their sense of what elective office means. Both the Governor and the attaboy mayor following in his footsteps have taken on attitudes and ideas that are antithetical to what public service in the form of elective office entails.
When you’re elected to office, you represent everyone in the area that elected you. That means, Mr Governor and Mr Mayor, even those who oppose gun control, gay marriage and abortion. You are their governor and their mayor just the same as you are the mayor or governor for your pals and cronies who blow smoke up your skirts and tell you what a “statesman” you are for kicking everyone else to the curb.
It doesn’t matter if you agree with your constituents. It doesn’t matter if they agree with you. It certainly doesn’t matter if they like you or not. They can call you names and drive you nuts with weird accusations and oddball demands all they want. The office you occupy belongs to them. Not you.
Governor Cuomo occupies the office of Governor of New York. But the office belongs to the people of New York.
By the people of New York, I mean all of them, including those that the Governor and his mayoral echo say “don’t belong” in their fair state and city.
I want to wind this up by with two thoughts.
First, I extend my sincere condolences to the people of New York. I especially want to express solidarity with the traditional Christians, traditional marriage and sanctity of human life defenders who live there. You are, to quote Moses, strangers in a strange land.
Second, I would like to invite disaffected, disenfranchised New Yorkers of whatever belief to come on down to Oklahoma. We’ve got both pro life and pro choice people in Oklahoma. We’ve got gun control advocates and NRA members, sitting side by side in restaurants, eating their catfish and chicken fried steak. We’ve got gay people, demanding gay marriage, and supporters of traditional marriage arguing back at them.
Come to Oklahoma New Yorkers. Around here we are free, as Wesley suggested, to think and let think.
You know those magazine articles and internet blogs detailing the best places in America to retire?
You can take New Mexico off the list.
Judge Nan Nash, a family court judge from the New Mexico second judicial district, has decided it’s time to let New Mexico doctors legally kill their patients. Anyone with half a brain knows that, despite the judge’s contentions, that means primarily and mostly our old people.
You can read her findings here. If you do, you’ll notice that she makes quite a few unsupported assumptions to get to her conclusion, which is that doctors in New Mexico can now kill their patients.
You can dress it up all you want, but that’s what euthanasia is: A license to kill.
You can call it “mercy” and “compassion” and whatever nonsensical appellation you can dream up to hang on it. But it’s killing people who have become a “burden.”
I hesitate to reference Hitler, especially after my explication here, but sometimes, only a reference to one of the masters of Godless killing of the 20th Century fits the “progressive” things we are doing to ourselves in America today. Euthanasia of the sick and the elderly is just Hitler’s “solution” for what he called “useless eaters” one step removed.
Proponents of euthanasia describe a fantasyland world where we can give people the legal right to kill other people and it won’t ever be abused. They live in a world where euthanasia is palliative care to ease people out of the inhuman suffering that the same medical profession we are giving the right to kill them inflicted on them in the first place. They erect all sorts of pretty little fences around their medical killing fields, and then pretend that those fences actually serve to keep the killers out.
But the truth of the matter is that human beings will kill with impunity if you allow them to kill at all. The line between a doctor and a killer is the law. Doctors have the power to kill their patents in a thousand unseen ways. They do it by accident all the time. They always, from the time you submit yourself to their care, have the power to kill you.
But when we blur the lines around how they can use that power to allow them to deliberately and willfully kill their patients in one little “extreme” instance and another instance and another one over there, we have opened the door to the idea that it is permissible for doctors to kill their patients.
All the pretty little legal fences in the world cannot undo the bedrock change in philosophy and attitude that comes riding in on that permission. After you break down the barrier between healing and killing of patients, everything else is fine print.
I say this as someone who is “burdened” as the world sees it with an elderly parent: You don’t have to kill people. All you have to do is love them and take care of them. Life is worth living, even at its twilight. People are precious, even when they can’t do anything for us anymore and we have to do for them.
Every human being is made in the image and likeness of God Almighty and, with the single exception of self defense, you may not kill them.
Human life belongs to God. It is His to give, and His to take. It is ours to live.
What a bunch of inhuman monsters we have become that our society allows this.
I could go off into long-winded explanations as to why euthanasia is wrong and unnecessary and (dare I say it) a mortal sin that can get you sent to flaming hell for eternity. I’ve done it before. And I imagine I’ll do it again.
But for today, I’m doing to repeat one statement that I think says it all:
What a bunch of inhuman monsters we have become.
I called it the Witching Hour.
Toddlers melt down at around 5pm every single day. This fact is well known to stay at home moms and other peculiar people who spend a great deal of time with little children.
Just about the time you are up to your elbows in getting supper on the table, the babies start cranking out tantrums, whines, arguments and fights. It’s as if someone put crazy drugs in their afternoon snackies.
Nobody told me about the Witching Hour. Like so much about raising little children, I had to learn it the hard way. But once I got it figured out and took the This-is-gonna-happen-so-put-your-foot-down-and-slide attitude, it became manageable.
I thought I was through with all that when my kids grew out of it.
But I find that I am once again caring for a toddler, and the Witching Hour is back. This particular toddler is approaching 90 years of age and has a random memory of having once been an independent, free-wheeling adult. She remembers that she once paid her bills, balanced her check book and fought all my battles.
She is my mother, and I love her so much it makes my teeth ache.
The Witching Hour evidently applies to elderly toddlers as much as it does baby toddlers. Every day at about 5 my mother melts down. She doesn’t roll on the floor and wail the way babies can do. Her tantrums take the form of hand-wringing anxiety and fear. If she doesn’t find something to hang this anxiety and fear on, I can distract her out of it. But thanks to the the occasional slip-up, or, more often, the family drug addict who has no conscience about ripping off her elderly grandmother, there are days this becomes impossible.
One day this week, my mother found a bill from her latest hospital stay. How she got it, I don’t know. Everyone in the family works at keeping anything that will set her off away from her. We censor her mail by lifting the bills and any advertising that looks like something she might think was a threat (she’s amazingly creative at interpreting advertising as threats) and only letting her see the harmless stuff.
For years, I wanted to end her subscription to the newspaper. Every time they said something nasty about me (there are spells where that can be an almost daily occurrence) she would warp out. I kept telling her that I didn’t care and it was fine, but she is my mother and … well … you know.
Somehow, despite our almost paranoid vigilance, she got her hands on this $35 bill from the hospital. And she warped out. It took forever for me to pry the fact that this was about a bill out of her.
We’re in a horrible mess, she kept repeating. They’re going to take everything.
When I asked her who “they” was, she would say, I don’t know.
When I asked her what she was talking about, she would say, I don’t know.
She cried and begged me to take care of it. PLEASE take care of it.
I finally figured out it was a bill. My son took it and tore it into tiny pieces, which is pretty much the way we all felt about the thing.
I was so shot by the experience I wanted to go somewhere and just curl up in a little ball. When my mother cries like that, it rips me into as many pieces as my son did that bill.
Then, yesterday, she came to me in tears, almost vibrating with fear. We’re in a horrible mess.
The house (meaning her home where she no longer lives) is in a shambles. Those people (meaning my drug addict relative) have trashed it and now it’s on us to fix it or the government will tear it down.
She was crying as if her heart was broken, and scared out of what remains of her wits. We went through another round of 20 questions and I slowly pieced together that she’d gotten a call from a bill collector over yet another fraudulent bill that the family drug addict has run up in my mother’s name.
The house, so far as I could tell, was fine.
This bill-collector-calling-about-things-the family-drug-addict-has-done-in-my-elderly-mother’s-name-thing happens fairly often.
For instance, about a week ago, I got a call from the adult day care center where Mama goes while the rest of us are at work, telling me that she’d been on the phone, giving out information to somebody. When the staff person took the phone and said this lady has dementia, who are you the caller got snotty with them. I dropped everything and went to the day care center, took Mama’s phone and called the number back.
When I got the caller on the line, they wouldn’t tell me who they were, even though I have power of attorney where my mother is concerned. It’s been a long time since I’ve been that angry. I mean, these people called and hounded an elderly woman who obviously has dementia at her day care center, and then would not tell the responsible party who they were.
After a round of me losing my temper totally with them, it turned out that they were trying to collect a debt for thousands of dollars somebody has hung on my elderly mother. I don’t know for sure, but if this isn’t more handiwork by the family drug addict, I’ll be surprised.
The Witching Hour is so common that the people at the day care center have their own name for it. They call it “sun downing.”
I don’t know if it’s just about end-of-the-day tiredness, or if there’s some sort of hormonal change that occurs in our bodies at that time of day. All I know is that people at both ends of life get upset and bothered around 5pm.
If there is no call from a bill collector or threatening advertising or some paper bill that slipped into her hands by mistake, my mother just tends to spin webs at this time of day. She’s cranky and she wants what she wants, which is my attention. But she doesn’t fall apart on me.
However, if anything slips through the net we put around her, she goes out on us.
The family drug addict’s parasitical behavior is by far the most difficult for me to tolerate. Everyone else in the family works together to care for and protect my mother. Then we’ve got the family drug addict out there, trying to prey on her and actively hurting and upsetting her.
I don’t know exactly why I’m writing all this. Maybe because I am worn slick with it today (I’ve had two really emotional Witching Hours back to back.) and I need to talk about it.
I do know this, and it’s a surprise to me to learn it. Taking care of an elderly parent is, if it’s a family enterprise and you have wonderful services such as Adult Day Care, surprisingly do-able. But when one member of the family decides to become an extra burden, they can wreak havoc.
I am privileged to be able to take care of my mother. I am also blessed to have sons who, even as young men in their twenties, are completely willing to care for her, too. I see them do this, and I feel vindicated as a parent. I raised two wonderful, loving men.
As for the family drug addict, I am at my wit’s end.
Abortion deforms the powerful life-giving force that women possess. Here is Rezonda “Chilli” Thomas’ description of her abortion and what it did to her.
“The moral case for allowing such beings to be killed grows ever weaker, and its advocates resort to ever more absurd euphemisms to describe what they support.” Brit Hume