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Pull Up A Chair…


It’s a wet, dreary morning here today, which really suits my mood after the last week.  And it is just going to get more tense, more difficult, more nasty, more…well, more difficult altogether between now and November.  It is the price we pay at this point in our history for digging out of the political rat hole that the Bush/Cheney/Rove malignant cabal has brought us to — we knew that it would not be easy to pull our political system back from this, but the personal level to which all of this has sunk this week has really taken a toll on everyone.

I can see it in our comments and my e-mails, and I thought we could all use a little break from the nastiness this morning.  Think of this as your morning escape — a little breather with your pals before we all suit up and get back to work today.  I know I could use it, and I’m betting that a lot of you could use it, too.

The leaves are just on the cusp of turning here, and the hills around my town are about to be set ablaze with bright color.  The big oak tree across the street from our house has the hint of the bright golden hue that its leaves take on this time of year, and it is bursting with acorns.  The bird feeders are packed, in spite of the rain, with the little winged visitors dive bombing each other for a spot at the big feeder full of sunflower seeds and peanut chips.

My husband and my in-laws are sitting in our dining room, just a few feet away, talking about the state of the world and what’s been going on in our nation the last few years, and our family and what their hopes and dreams are for the future.  My father-in-law is a veteran of WWII and the Korean conflict and, despite being registered as a Democrat, his voting has trended Republican the last few years based on "values" issues, as have a lot of older folks that I know in and around our area here in WV.

But this morning, we are all talking the same language:  concerns for our nation, our national values, the future of our child and their grandchild — who we are and where we are going.  What is important at the core of all of us. 

It’s kitchen table politics in our house this morning writ small, and it goes on all over this great nation of ours every day in little ways.  And, at the heart of everything, no matter the side of the political divide, we share a lot of the same worries and hopes across the blue versus red divide.

And we forget that at our peril, I think — although it would be naive to think that the common points would be enough to bridge that gap the way politics is structured right now.  But sometimes, a little gratitude for the ties that bind can be cathartic, especially after a week where rending the national threads has been all too real for a lot of us.

One of those common points is how we take care of each other — our families and, across family lines, to our neighbors.  Ever since 9/11, I’ve made it a point to bake up a batch of muffins at some point randomly on a rainy or snowy day, and take them down to the local fire department and police department as a sort of thank you for all that they do.  It’s something small, but it’s a nice gesture that is appreciated, and now that The Peanut is a little older, it’s an opportunity to do a little education about people who put themselves on the line for her safety.  (Plus, it’s a nice excuse for certain small girlies to get a peek at the fire engines.) 

When I worked in the prosecutor’s office, I used to bring in homemade cookies and muffins and stuff all the time so all the cops that came in and out of our office would have a little something for nibbling before hearing testimony, and I remember how much they loved it, so this is just my little way to give back. 

I’m sure there are lots of other things that everyone else does — so please share what you do to say thanks in your community.  Or what you may have been doing lately to give back a little bit — or help out or give a hand up — anything you’ve been doing to make your corner of the world a little better.

While we’re at it this morning, what has everyone been watching and listening to lately to escape from the nasty headlines?  Any great finds in your Netflix queue or something fun playing over and over on your iPod?  If you’ve been baking up a batch of something yummy, please do share — you know we’re always up for something yummy on a Saturday morning.

And for all the folks who’ve been reading but not commenting much, pull up a chair…

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com