In defense of Melania Trump and a mess of other thoughts

I’ve been under the weather and trying to slow down a bit to recuperate. Slowing my body down proved easier than slowing my thoughts, which have adjusted to the pace of producing at least two posts a week. Almost two years into this role now, one part of my mind seems to churn blog ideas and text almost non-stop.

Not all of it makes it to the blog so I’m used to excess material, but somehow trying to slow down created quite a logjam of unused stuff in my head. It doesn’t help that there’s been so much to react to in the news cycle.

There’s Melania Trump getting unfairly maligned for trying to do what she thinks is right as a mother. Do I like the cost of protecting her in her residence in New York? Heck no, but newsflash folks: funding the expenses of millionaires’ lifestyles comes with the territory of electing millionaires into these major offices.

Whether affluent or not, a mom’s got a right to do what she thinks is best.

Do I like the economic inequity in our country? Heck no again, but Melania Trump didn’t create it. Melania Trump didn’t turn us into a nation that worships at the feet of the ultra rich while resenting their existences, that hands the ultra rich total control over our policies while complaining about the consequences.

That the trajectory of American politics for the last 50 years has gone in the direction of recreating an expensive ruling nobility strikingly similar to the ruling nobility our founding forefathers could ill afford to support and eventually revolted against, is not Melania or minor child Barron Trump’s fault. We own that mess.

My logjam of ideas is full of other stories from the national scene, too, like the situation in Syria, the Trump-Russia mess, the ousting of Steve Bannon from the NSC, and the crumbling sense of decorum in Congress.

With the legislature in session, there’s been endless material on the state scene, too. So far my reaction from news regarding the Joint Standing Committee on Marijuana Legalization Implementation is, what the heck happened to Attorney General Janet Mills’ idea about a Cannabis Commission of key stakeholders to provide support and guidance to the legislature?

I’m thinking those folks could use some guidance.

Honestly, what I’ve been hearing coming out of that committee from attendees leaves me grateful Maine has such a longstanding marijuana culture and black market. No matter how much legislators may mess up recreational legalization or worse, the medical program should they roll the two together, I’ll be able to continue accessing high-quality, medical-grade bud and products, even if it means being once again reduced to only my own accord and black market channels.

Prohibition didn’t stop Maine’s vibrant underground marijuana culture in the past, and an over-regulated, highly controlled, quasi-legalization that favors out-of-state interests won’t either. Frankly, it’s no skin off my nose if in the end, the state doesn’t want my medical marijuana tax dollars; and it’s too bad the recreational market might not be designed with Mainers’ economic interests in mind.

The real losers in a poor implementation would be future patients, though, who may not understand how to navigate the underground and who would not get adequate product on a poorly implemented recreational market or from a decimated medical program.

On the education front, I love legislative proposals for later school start times, more exercise time, and longer school lunches. For the two decades I’ve been parenting I’ve seen too few actions taken on behalf of the best interests of children. The science at this time is pretty clear about the importance of ample rest, consistent exercise and proper nourishment as pertaining to health and learning.

Academic standards and budget issues have dominated educational discourse in recent years. Fundamentally, though, if our children aren’t physically and biologically ready to achieve academically, all our efforts are for naught, especially where underprivileged/otherwise at risk students are concerned.

Somewhere near the forefront of my logjam of blog ideas is a fairly well-developed post about Governor LePage and DHHS Commissioner Mayhew wanting to codify the wrong concerns pertaining to the welfare of Maine’s most vulnerable. It would be nice if they were seeking to codify policies that had resulted in less hunger, fewer overdose deaths, more efficient and effective social service provision, etc., but those things haven’t exactly been a priority.

I know what I’d like to codify to improve the situation for Maine’s most vulnerable, but sadly I’m resigned to the idea that as long the social service equivalent of Thing 1 and Thing 2 are in charge, our social service house is going to get trashed.

And that nod to Dr. Suess brings me to the rest of my logjam full of half-formulated posts about the busy month of April. April is Poetry Month, Sexual Violence Awareness month, and the anniversary of the death of Dr. King, as well as Kurt Cobain’s — back to back, even. It’s a weird mix of things that all have special meaning to me, which, frankly, is weird, and I’m weird enough to be okay with admitting that.

Patricia Callahan

About Patricia Callahan

Trish is a writer who lives in Augusta. She has worked professionally in education and social services.