The Continental Divide

2DAE690D-23F7-43BD-A08C-8F1E1D04FCCEAmerica continues to be a nation divided, and with yesterday’s midterm elections, it now has a Congress divided.

The good news is that, despite gerrymandering that heavily favors Republican candidates in GOP-controlled states, voter suppression efforts, and a series of “glitches” with voting machines, Democrats have regained control of the US House of Representatives, a body that more closely reflects the will of the American people.

But Republicans strengthened their thin majority in the US Senate. For the record, Democratic Senatorial candidates across the board amassed about nine million more votes than did Republican candidates, but because there are more red states than blue ones, and because, with the exception of states like Texas and Florida, most Republican strongholds are more rural states, Republicans held the Senate.

Of course, our demented, clueless president, in another delusional tweet, has claimed victory in “this great Midterm Election,” and calls anything that contradicts his assessment “FAKE NEWS.”C0F69BD4-2741-4685-A3A1-96A3668DC9D9So it wasn’t the “blue tsunami” many Democrats were hoping for, but at least the Republican stranglehold in Congress has been busted.

Unfortunately, confirming nominations for the Supreme Court and other federal judgeships is exclusively the purview of the Senate, so we can expect a continued movement to the far right with respect to the judiciary.

That said, I’m hoping that the Democratic House will impose some checks and balances on Donald Trump, will be more aggressive when it comes to supporting Mueller in his investigations to the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion between Trump and Russia, and will take steps to insure future election integrity, will protect healthcare, Medicare, Social Security, women’s reproductive rights, LGBT rights, and will restore critical environmental protections.

In other words, I’m cautiously optimistic.

One-Liner Wednesday — Vote

F288B686-B838-4A93-A189-125455455BE6Next Tuesday is Election Day in the United States. Without exaggeration, I can say that this is the most important midterm election in our lifetimes, in that the fate of our American democracy and way of life is at stake.

I never thought I’d see happen what has happened to this country since Donald Trump became president. He has nearly torn the very fabric of America apart. And the only option we have to stop him from tearing it to shreds is to go out and vote on or before next Tuesday. Vote to elect people to Congress who will enable it function, as the Constitution requires, as an appropriate check and balance on Trump, something the Republican-led Congress has refused to do.

So if we care for this country, we must vote. We can’t afford to sit on the sidelines and depend upon others. Voting is our civic responsibility, our duty.

But, hey, I’m just an old man. I may not be alive a decade from now, so while it breaks my heart to witness the events of the past two years, I won’t suffer the brunt of the damage Trump has done and, if left unchecked, will continue to do.

But my children and grandchildren will. So I implore you millennials (and post-millennials who are old enough to vote) — you whose future is on the line — to stand up and be counted. You need to be Supermen and Superwomen. I know it’s a corny cliche, but you need to fight for truth, justice, and the American way.bece7a21-d392-4b3d-8a71-72e966adcc5f.jpeg


Written for Linda G. Hill’s One-Liner Wednesday prompt.

It’s An Honor To Be Nominated

Sadje, who blogs at Keep It Alive, was nominated for the Liebster Award, and was kind enough to include my blog as one of the eleven other blogs she selected to pass the nomination on to. I have declared my blog to be an “awards-free” blog, but I nonetheless appreciate it when someone takes the time to recognize my work. So while I won’t be “paying it forward” by nominating others, I will happily answer the questions Sadje posed to those she nominated. Here goes.

1. What is your biggest pet peeve?

My biggest pet peeve is people who ask me what my biggest pet peeve is. No, just kidding. It’s actually people who are too ignorant, too apathetic, or too lazy to vote.3D26B26E-4FA9-4201-9EC0-625F2AFEAE2C

2. Where did you get your name?

My parents gave it to me. Oh wait, do you mean my blog name? It’s Fivedotoh (5.0) because this is my fifth blog since I first started blogging in 2005, as I explained here earlier this month.

3. If you could change your name, what would it be?

My real name, my blog name, or my blog pseudonym? Actually, I’m happy with all of my names.

4. What was your favorite TV show as a kid?

This is a tough one since I was a kid for a good 12 or 13 years and the TV shows I liked when I was four or five versus when I was 12 or 13 were very different. I guess if I had to pick one show, it would be “The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends.”873F8E81-714F-472E-9773-CBF6FF8EB35D

5. Do you have any weird habits?

Define “weird.” I don’t think I do, but one person’s normal might be another person’s weird.

6. Do you like fall scents/tastes?

I like the scent of fires (in fireplaces or fire pits; I’m not a pyromaniac for crissake). But I’m not a fan of what is referred to as fall or autumn veggies, like pumpkins, squash, etc.1FC58D28-857F-484F-AB7C-EAAC156DB9CB

7. What is your favorite holiday and why?

My favorite holiday is any holiday that gives my two adult kids a day off from work so that they are able to spend some time with my wife and me.

8. Do you prefer writing it down or typing it up?

My handwriting is illegible even to me, so I’ve gotten into the habit of typing everything from grocery lists to reminder notes to my blog posts on my iPhone’s virtual keypad. Yes 

9. Netflix or cable?

Comcast in my area offers Netflix as part of its cable lineup, so I get both.

10. If money didn’t matter, what would you do with your life?

It’s a three way toss up between traveling, writing, and doing absolutely nothing.

11. What is your favorite thing about yourself?

My extraordinary good looks, my sharp wit, my keen sense of humor, my intelligence, my creativity, and, above all, my modesty.

The Blue Wave

B2629D38-47BD-487F-9C42-35505FF00AAAI have always thought that voting is an American principle and a basic democratic right that should be protected, promoted, and practiced. And I believed that, regardless of political party or ideology, one aspect of our American democracy that is sacrosanct is the right and duty to vote.

But boy oh boy was I naive. One party, the Republican Party, is going to great lengths in states controlled by Republican governors and/or legislators, to limit voting rights, particularly those of minority populations. In state after Republican state, roadblocks are being thrown in the path of a segment of voters in a blatant voter suppression initiative. In some cases, it’s reducing or closing polling places in minority districts. In other cases it’s purging registered voters from the voting rolls.

It’s actually quite scary how these fleek politicians keep trying to take advantage of those that they don’t see as worthy, that they don’t see as equals, that don’t look like them, that don’t pray like them, that they see as “the other.”

But at the risk of sounding like an internet troll, they will get theirs in November when the blue wave will come in and flush away their castle in the sand.


Written for the following one-word prompts: Your Daily Word Prompt (scary), Ragtag Daily Prompt (fleek), Daily Addictions (advantage), Word of the Day Challenge (troll), Scotts Daily Prompt (flush), and Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (castle).

Democrats and Republicans

AE32E48D-A4FD-46E3-BF88-E95FEAD232EBGroucho Marx once said, “All people are born alike — except Republicans and Democrats.”

Unfortunately, what Groucho said decades ago is even more true today. The partisan divide is at an extreme like I have personally never experienced…and I lived through the Vietnam era, when this country was very politically divided.

We all share stereotypical views of those on the other side of the aisle. For example, if someone you’d never met learned that you were a Republican, they would likely assume that you are not black, lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual, nonreligious, or Jewish. If they learned you were a Democrat, they would likely believe that you are not a white evangelical Christian and you don’t live in a rural part of the county.

Most Democrats are left-leaning, liberal, and are usually associated with progressiveness and equality. Most Republicans are right-leaning, conservative, and are associated with big business, economic freedom, and with self-reliance. But to be fair, “most” doesn’t mean “all.” There are plenty of crossovers, like me, a social liberal and a fiscal conservative.

I consider political party affiliation to be like religion. When babies are born, they have no religion. But they are taught about religion from their parents and most children embrace the religious beliefs of their families and maintain those beliefs into and throughout adulthood.

Similarly, babies are not born either Democratic or Republican. But they will typically embrace and follow the political leanings of their families.

My question is what has happened to moderates within either political party? These days moderates are ridiculed as being either RINOs or DINOs (i.e., Republicans/Democrats In Name Only) and of being disloyal to their party (even when being loyal to their party is being disloyal to their country). Political compromise and a willingness to negotiate with the other side are considered signs of weakness.

It’s a sad state of affairs when the primary purpose of a political party is to do everything it can to stymie the other party, thus effectively blocking the government from getting much of anything done. For anybody.