Monday, April 15, 2019

Words So Matter

Rhetorical importance, or words, matter.  Here’s a little something from Shakepeare.  ™“The evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft interred within their bones”  and  the Democratic Nat’l Committee, (DNC), their new campaign is called “The War Room.”  Here’s another case of, “what am I trying to say?”  

This morning on “Morning Joe”, Tom Perez, the genius who decided not to have a debate on Fox News network, (why talk to the outlet for Republican voters—voters who have realized Trump might not be the answer to all their prayers?), also introduced their new campaign. And what is it called?  The War Room.”  Why does everything have to be about war with these nudniks? Call it, “Here’s the truth,” or “Everything you need to know about the last 2 years.”  Even, ”The bigger the lie…”    Having worked in the Clinton War Room, it just doesn’t make sense for today, now, the next generation.  It’s very old white male and it doesn’t matter what his ethnicity might be.

There is no need even to mention Trump.  Why give him anymore attention than he deserves— which is none.  In fact, one of the reasons he became a candidate was because early on no one in the media took him seriously, so they gave him endless air time. By the time they realized he was not just a clown but a serious contender, it was too late.  He had made inroads with the hate mongers and people who don’t read — like the man who would represent them as President. 

What about the Shakespeare quote?  We simply cannot afford to have any more evil left in this great nation after the next election.  His Presidency has been devastating to that office.  He has no respect for the office. He has no respect for government or government employees. He has no interest in people who might need government services like the poor, immigrants, women, children or veterans.  (While I never served in the military, I did serve on the National USO board  for eight years.)  It is incredible that he  and his family and friends could be as indifferent to suffering as they seem to be.  How do you separate children from their parents?   How to you eliminate health care for people who cannot afford private health insurance?   Remember the line from a reporter in the movie “Gandhi”… “And still the evil/ violence goes on and on.” 

When they were organizing the Hillary for President campaign in 2008, I was invited to a session with the message mongers, after which I promised to write an evaluation of what they had presented.  The message was arrogant and elitist — thank you Mr Penn.  They talked about non college graduates instead of high school graduates.  There was nothing that made anyone think they cared about any real people.  It was a message about money and those they considered important, however you defined that. This was rejected in their two campaign offices which were separated into Senior Staff and Volunteers.  They didn’t care about the people who were the heart of the campaign. In 2016, “Brooklyn” as they called it, didn’t have a communication system, so that the people at the desk downstairs could talk to the people upstairs in the senior staff offices.  I’m bitching about the lack of a message and critical thinking, but those are two important elements in a campaign. Woe is us.

Anyway, no message and lingering evil are not good for the health of our nation or the people who live here or may want to live here. Still I go on and on…just can’t help it.

What can we do? First of all we need to understand we are not fighting a War, we are not Fighting.  We are Looking for the truth. we are Looking to move forward with new younger leaders, and have to realize we have a new generation in a new era.  So where does that leave OWW (old white women)?  It leaves us in a place where we can give advice, and share our experience and invaluable contacts .   We need to take a step back and the younger generation needs to take a step forward— we do not have time for ego or arrogance.   We’re just sayin’…Iris

Sunday, April 14, 2019

The Seder and The Garden

Passover and the Democratic Convention, are and were two events that have kind of defined my life.  Maybe defined is not quite accurate.  But there is not really another way to describe them except maybe to say momentous. So substitute momentous for defined.  

In 1980, and just because no one could believe I would do it, Bill Dixon asked me if i would consider being the Director of Security for the Democratic Convention at Madison Square Garden. It sounded like a fascinating way to spend what would be the end of the Carter Administration.  Additionally, being in New York in that position would open doors that would have remained closed to any woman in that era.  Having taken political jobs throughout my political career that were traditionally male was something I had done before but certainly not on that scale.  

It took, as Paul Dacre wrote in the Daily Mail, “it took four check points, 11 passes and two metal detectors to get to Iris Jacobson.”  Friends have described that time “as harder to get to me than to the mayor.” The giant phones/radios connected me to Madison Square Garden Security the Secret Service, the FBI and NYPD  and could we have all been on one channel?   Probably, but but no one wanted to share information.  As was described in the Dacre piece, I was “spitting orders to anyone in the area who was not paying apt attention to what needed to be done.”  What a hoot.  Me and 28,000 men — good odds right? At that time there were no women security personnel assigned to the convention.  

Before we built the Garden, (once the Ringing Circus left, and we got the smell under control), we were Headquartered in the hotel across the street. The office was so small we had to credential VIP’s in the bathtub, which made Chris Matthews, Tip O’Neill’s aide, none too happy.  As I recall, until Tip said it was fine to climb into the bathtub, Chris yelled and screamed about how that was not going to happen,  It did.  How I wish we had video of that encounter, but it wasn’t yet available in those days.  

The article went on to say that in my hands were the lives of Kennedy (Ted)  and Carter (Jimmy).  Maybe or maybe not,  but my mother was in my care and I lost her for several hours. In fact, while the police should have been concerned by protestors and terrorists, they were out looking for my mother and her friend Sylvia. This is another story in the “Rose refuses to pay for a whole night in a hotel when she’s only going to be there for a few hours.” 

"the gin game"
Which brings us to the next impactful subject in my life, Passover.  In my traditional Jewish family we gathered on Fridays for dinner at Aunt Sophie’s, and sometimes Sunday to listen to Jewish music and dance —at aunt Sophie’s. The family was divided geographically into two places, Boonton N.J. and Newburgh N.Y. Year.   The one time we all gathered was Passover. From the time we were small the highlight of our Passover was finding the Afikoman and getting in line for the silver dollars we received as payment.  Each uncle would give us ten or more silver dollars and at the end of the line was Bubbie who took at least 10% of the money for charity, or tzedakah.  We didn’t really understand because we considered ourselves our own charity.  But Zaide explained in broken English that in the shtetals the Rabbi went house to house on the Sabbath with the tzedakah box, and if you had the money you put it in the box, and if you didn’t, you took what you needed. No one knew who put in and who took out.

That was a life lesson that was unforgettable, and probably the basis of my life in public service.  But beyond that it seemed important events happened at Passover. It was a time when all my friends, Jewish or not, gathered at my house for Seder.  It was also the time when David came to my house and stayed in my life.  Passover was the time that our mothers passed the traditions and recipes from their generation to ours. When they prepared for Passover it took six weeks. When we were in charge of the preparation it took two days. What we realized was that they wanted to spend six weeks together arguing, cooking, and playing cards. Along with our family documentary, “The Gefilte Fish Chronicles”, David also took a picture of the aunts playing cards, which was published in the “NYTimes Magazine’.  Special unforgettable memories were made and life lessons were learned around Passover. It was the time we realized that the power of tradition and family was not unique to us. We were merely an example of the universal family. We could have been Italian, Black, Asian, Polish, or even families without ethnicity. It’s about, as I said, the power of family.  

The importance of family, always having room for one more at a meal, and enjoying the process, no matter how difficult, is what I have continued to learn from Passover. The Convention taught me that if you signed the checks, there was no gender disparity and if you believed you achieve success, no matter how difficult, you would achieve success. Most importantly, always have a sense of humor because in both your personal and professional life,  nothing is ever going to be without disaster, so you might as well be able to laugh.  We’re just sayin’… Iris

take a look at "The Gefilte Fish Chronicles:"

Friday, April 12, 2019

Mayor Pete...

What many of “us” (baby boomer liberal/progressive counter-culture McGoverniks), have hoped for is a Presidential candidate who has the courage to say, “this is who I am, this is what I believe,” and it’s OK to get behind someone who believes in democracy, capitalism, governing experience, and serving in the armed services.  Peter Paul Montgomery Buttigieg  was born January 19, 1982,  is a Harvard graduate, and former Naval Intelligence Officer who has served as the Mayor of the city of South Bend, Indiana since 2012. This is a guy who is a millennial, and unlike Bernie Sanders, and so many other candidates, has ideas and policies that can actually be implemented. He has governed. True, as a Mayor, but he knows about budgets and infrastructure. I love him. Love-love-love-love-love him as a possibility for President and as a candidate who can beat Trump.  Yes, he is gay and married, but wouldn’t it be a joy to elect someone who actually reads,  and tells the truth. Can he beat Trump, yes, like Obama, he can!

While it is unusual for me to depend on Wikipedia for accurate information. Here’s what they say:  “a proponent of democratically influenced capitalism, he favors universal healthcare with retention of private insurance; dialogue and cooperation between the Democratic Party and organized labor; universal background checks for firearms purchases; pro-environment policies that address pollution and fight climate change, which he views as "a security issue". He also supports federal legislation banning discrimination against LGBT people and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program for immigrants.  That being said, who couldn’t love this guy.

Trump probably doesn’t love him. What would the Liar-in-chief do in a debate with Mayor Pete?  Pete cannot be intimidated by anyone like Trump, the lies, the bullying, the conspiracy theories, the cowardice, the lack a moral core, the avid hatred for people in general — black, hispanics  and gays, in or out of the military, the hubris, the inability to read or learn. All the deplorable attributes wrapped into one person. Pete would destroy him with dignity, spirituality,  and common sense. 

Do I sound desperate for change, well it’s true.  But here’s the thing:  people who voted for trump did it because they wanted change. There are those people who have come to their senses. they actually believed Trump would change things, “drain the swamp.” Instead what they got was someone so arrogant that he is destroying rather than changing the government. He never understood the difference between campaigning and governing, because it is clear he doesn’t know how to govern. And worse, he doesn’t care.  He has no idea what people in government do, so he thinks he can fire them, as we say willy, nilly, silly. Truth is, I do want a change. The greater truth is, I am really angry about what has happened to “The Presidency” over the last two years.  How can we have elected someone who has no respect for the office he holds?

When I had the honor of working in the White House, every time I walked through the gates it was thrilling. It never got old. It is unimaginable that the entire Trump family has used it for personal gains. They have no experience in anything they are assigned to do.  People who are that entitled just don’t care. Among my favorite was when Trump said he thought Ivanka should be head of the World Bank because she’s good with numbers.  God willing we will wake up from this nightmare of corruption and stupidity and take a deep breath and elect Mayor Pete.   We’re just sayin’….Iris