Is it the hardest part? Sometimes, I guess, though dealing with what you’ve been waiting for may be harder, depending on what it is. Seems like we’re always waiting for something – the phone to ring, a letter (a what?), the outcome of an election, an occasion or holiday, or some other event – so you’d think that we’d always be in that tension. And so we probably are, though we experience it more acutely at certain times. Like after hitting the “submit” button on a college admissions application.
It’s time for Puerto Rico to become the 51st of the United States of America. It’s time to put this particular remnant of American colonialism to rest and give the millions of citizens of Puerto Rico a full voice, the full benefit, and the full responsibility of statehood. Of course, this begs the question of what to do with other territories, like Guam and the US Virgin Islands, to name only a couple, but their populations are vastly smaller than Puerto Rico’s. In fact, if Puerto Rico were a state, it would rank between Connecticut and Oklahoma by population. I can’t imagine Nutmeggers or Okies being willing to settle for second-class citizenship; why should Puerto Ricans? And in the wake of the most recent election, though we have many other issues – like the fiscal cliff – to deal with, now seems to be a as good a time as any to have a broader discussion about what citizenship really means, not just for the residents of Puerto Rico, but for all of us.
For those of us in the United States (including those citizens who are overseas serving in the military or for other reasons) today is Election Day. No news there.That the campaign, not just for president, but for just about everything else, has gone on far too long, been far too expensive, and far, FAR too divisive? Well, no news there, either. Goodness knows there’s plenty to be dissatisfied with, and cynical about, and much about the system needs fixing. But today, as I have nearly every Election Day since I turned eighteen, I went to the polls, stood in line, gave my name, filled out my ballots and put them in the ballot box. It’s a ritual, one I feel should not be passed up by using absentee ballots (unless really necessary), standing shoulder to shoulder with people with whom you may agree or may not and being part of the process.
For all of you who have voted, and for all who will work long hours today making sure we could, thanks! And for those of you who have not yet voted, please make the effort.
Speaking of close shaves, I have been doing a lot of reading lately about a quintessentially masculine experience, shaving one’s face. Of course, being married and having three daughters I know that shaving in and of itself is not the sole province of men but, in general, shaving one’s beard is. I also know that not all men shave their beards so, if you fall into that camp, feel free to skip the rest of the post, read on with curiosity about those of us who do (most of the time), or read on and become a convert to the clean-shaven.
Compared to other parts of the Northeast, especially New York and New Jersey, we got through “Superstorm” Sandy with relatively little problem. At the height of the storm and its immediate aftermath about half the town was without power and a number of roads were closed due to downed trees and wires. Two days later and there are no outages reported in our community. I really have to credit Central Maine Power and emergency crews for responding as quickly and effectively as they have.
As part of our local emergency management team I also have to give CMP kudos for their new outage mapping tool. This made keeping track of the effects of the storm, at least with respect to power outages, and making other decisions like opening shelters, incredibly easy. And with the state emergency management WebEOC we had the best and most up-to-date information we have ever had in a widespread emergency. Used to be we had to rope one of the line crew supervisors into coming to our morning status meetings, offering them promises of food and hot coffee and/or relying on third hand, often inaccurate, and always old, information. Those line crew supervisors are still welcome to the food and hot coffee, but we’re okay with them staying focused on getting the lights back on instead of sitting in our meetings, too.