Can we at least agree on something?

Americans come in all sizes, shapes, ages and colors.  We are rich, poor or just getting by. We love our families and care about our neighbors. We worry about our futures and the generations that will follow us.

If you find you are regularly driving your car on a pothole filled street or you cannot afford to even own a car….you  have children or grandchildren who are going into debt while earning a college degree for a future job that may or may not help them pay down that debt…or if you are  just one paycheck way from disaster –you do not need someone to tell you there is something wrong in America.

President Donald Trump road to victory on the slogan  “Make America Great Again.”  I have always thought America was pretty great, but I am willing to work to make it even better. So how about we  wait on building that wall and start building bridges (our infrastructure) instead?

Mr. President, please work with our congress ( Republicans, Democrats and Independents) to rebuild our country. Here is a short list to start.

-Rebuild and upgrade our  water and sewer treatment plants.

c7bbaa499dec34e59cfff9d76176cbe6

-Take the blue prints and extensive planning for high-speed and commuter rail systems and get them into the hands of builders and construction workers.

-Expand high-speed internet to rural areas.

-Rebuild our power grid.

And while I am at it, please use American made steel, pay workers a fair wage with benefits that include insurance, paid vacations, maternity leave and respect for their labor.

 

Growing a thick skin

Some new friends  recently told me I was brave for sharing my social and political opinions in light of the backlash they are seeing  on social media.  The anonymity of tapping away a response to a Facebook or Twitter post has emboldened some to attack those with an opposing viewpoint. As a result, these friends have stopped posting their personal views.

(image courtesy Wikipedia More details

The Princess and the Trolls –The Changeling, by John Bauer, 1913.)

 

I get it…trolls are often hurtful, and in many cases fail to make a point without harsh and often nasty comments they would never verbalize in a face to face conversation.

Checking my Twitter notifications I find I now have a troll. I considered whether to share this comment because it would give this person the publicity or recognition that they seek. In the spirit of free speech I decided to share one of those comments here.

I will spare you the more nasty ones.

The thing is, we cannot allow others to silence us or to prevent us from having a meaningful dialog with those who may not agree with everything we believe it.  My goal is to find a list of common issues and possible solutions that we can all agree and act upon for the sake of our country.

Growing thick skin can be painful…but we must stand strong and resist the effort by trolls to silence our voices.

 

 

Sisters it’s time to huddle

 

After hundreds of thousands of women marched on Washington, many questioned whether it was a moment or a movement.

One of my moments came in the middle of a crowd of strangers  as I stood next to the Hubert H. Humphrey Building.  As dozens of young adults were pounding out a beat on five gallon pails  and elders joined in to chant against injustice –my emotions got the best of me.  I stood very still in the middle of this empowering crowd and let go of my tears.  At that moment I knew in my heart the resistance had begun and I would be a part of it. womensmarch-wewhobelieve

Our moments will sustain the movement that brought together millions of women, men and children around the world on January 21, 2017.

What is happening in Washington DC is no longer simply a matter of politics.  When the top US Senator shutdowns another senator for reading the words of an honored civil rights leader we must condemn his action.

When nominees are unqualified for the top jobs in our country we must question them and pressure our representatives to put aside politics in favor of our country.

I live in Minnesota a great state with deep roots in the Democratic Party (Democratic, Farmer and Labor) tended by such great Americans as Mondale, Humphrey and Wellstone.   I count among them, Klobuchar, Franken and Nolan now serving Minnesotans.

Growing up I was taught to respect others, love my neighbors and work for the common good.

The events unfolding in Washington under our new administration is cause for alarm. The current leadership seems determined to claw this nation back to a time when labor had little power over corporations.  A time when women were muzzled and held few rights— and a man’s character was measured by his skin color –and the right to love the one you love was locked away in a dark closet.

It is time we stand up for America. It is time that we huddle to develop a game plan. Our country’s future and our way of life needs to be defended.

Here is an invitation from the Women’s March Organization;

During the first ten days of Feb, we gather together in our neighborhoods all over the world to define our next steps, and envision how to transform the energy we saw at the Women’s Marches into local and national action.  Find a huddle near you and bring your ideas!

Finding my voice

On Friday morning I will get on the bus for a long trip to Washington D.C. to participate in the Women’s March.  I look forward to finding my voice after a long career as a journalist.

michelle-lee

For 40 years I have refrained from voicing my opinions  on the stories I  covered as a journalist. I lived by a simple rule shared by thousands of journalists; find the truth and tell the truth –in a fair and unbiased fashion.

I left my position as a television news anchor and reporter in Duluth, Minnesota at the end of 2016.  I am  now eager to find my voice, develop my skills as a community activist and learn how to support the issues that I feel are essential to maintain our hard fought rights and freedoms.

On election night 2016 I reported in a fair and un-biased fashion the results of the presidential race while holding  back my personal feelings. Now for the first time in decades I am free to share with your that my heart was broken that night.  When I woke up the next morning I was praying that the outcome of the election was just a bad dream.  But the reality remains that Mr. Trump will be sworn in as our 45th President on the same day I will find myself on a bus with dozens of women traveling to our nation’s capitol.

A Trump presidency scares me, the current majority in congress scares me.  As a woman and a mom my fear is not for myself.  My fear is reserved for our future generations and my friends and family who are being threatened with the loss of health care.  I fear the loss of the right to  marry those we love and for our fragile environment  balancing on a razor’s edge.

Fear is a great motivator.  I will use it to find my voice.

 

 

 

A new chapter.

My last day in the anchor chair at KBJR 6 news in Duluth, Minnesota will be December 27, 2016.

I have had a front row seat, observing and reporting the news in the Northland. For that I will always be grateful.

I have had the opportunity to meet hundreds of wonderful folks who work, livemichelle-lee and play in this place we call home and share their stories with our viewers.

So many of my neighbors and friends have and continue to make a difference.  I have made it a goal to share their efforts with our viewers and I hope I haven’t let you down.

During my 33 years in the newsroom we have worked to understand our boom and bust economy, war and peace and the multiple changes in leadership in our local, state and federal governments.

It hasn’t been easy, we ruffled feathers and drew criticism along the way—that comes with the job.  But I can’t thing of a better one to occupy most of my adult life.

It has been an honor to work with dozens of bright and dedicated journalists who embrace the journalism code of ethics.  As WPR’s John Munson recently told me, and I am paraphrasing here; Our jobs are simple…we seek the truth and tell the truth.

I agree.

Our tools have has changed dramatically over the years.

From typewriters and teletypes to laptops and and the internet—from coffee fueled and cigarette smoke filled newsrooms to virtual newsrooms in the front seat of the news vans or an all night fast food joint—one thing remains constant; the story.

As I prepare to write the next chapter in my life, I am confident the next generation of storytellers will surpass our efforts.

The only certainty in life…is change. I look forward to writing the next chapter in my life.

Journalists never, ever retire—we just stop asking questions.

I didn’t get his name

He and his friend were parked at the curb. There was something about him, something familiar.   As I walked by them our  eyes met, I nodded and said hello.    I stopped and he rolled down the window.  How are you, I asked?  Not good, came his reply.

He told me about his dialysis at a local hospital, how all their earthly belongings are now carried in his car which they keep running to stay warm.  He pointed to the woman riding shotgun and told me how she was going to apply for unemployment and how they were checking Craig’s List for a place to live.

I asked whether the hospital’s social worker could help and he explained they offered assisted living, but she couldn’t be with him.  After 30 years or more they were not willing to separate.

They were both Native American. I asked about their affiliations with a tribe or band.  To far away he said…but they have friends locally who do what they can to help.  In this case, friends who didn’t turn them in for parking near the business.

Love or comfort?  He chose love.

Ours was a brief encounter on a lovely late summer afternoon in Northern Minnesota.  I was in a hurry to get to work. As I left them I promised to  send up a prayer for them.

Today, I am ashamed I didn’t do more than listen and pray. Ashamed that I didn’t get his name.

Noozelady