Tomorrow, the unpredictable and bizarre person occupying the White House will be gone! The maligning of experts in science, epidemiology, foreign policy, the law, health services, finance, immigration, military policy, education, and more, who make the federal government work day-to-day, no matter whether a Democrat or Republican is in power, will be over. Even though he’s leaving, we must hold him accountable for the disparaging treatment of these professional bureaucrats.
I wrote this essay for them.
Sowing the Seeds of Distrust
The recent crises in leadership in the federal government highlight why it's essential to have government continuity. Strong democracies can survive a bizarre and unpredictable leader now and then. In the United States, people have severely suffered under the Trump Administration’s changes to policies like immigration, climate change, and health care. Some of you may have selected other social and public health issues, like education, reproductive rights, and human rights. Neglected and mutilated policies are begging for attention and improvement. I predict our recent vote showing a deep belief in democracy (66.3% of Americans voted in the 2020 presidential election, the highest since 1900, according to the Washington Post) and our professional bureaucracy will save us.
Government exists to protect and serve the people. Everyone depends on government services such as roads, schools, the police and fire departments, clean air and water, and the post office. If there were a profit to be made, the private sector would gladly oblige. But alas, there is no profit in ensuring that United States residents have enough to eat, a decent place to live, and health insurance to support their lives. These are government responsibilities, along with the protection of children, unemployment benefits, and civil rights enforcement. Not everyone needs these services, but they are the "safety net" for millions of people in the United States (more than 21%, according to a 2015 census report). More residents learned about the "safety net" during this pandemic due to job loss, illness, and other catastrophic occurrences.
Professional bureaucrats are government service employees who manage and sustain all these programs by doing their jobs in compliance with the law and best practices that have been developed over time. Many have worked in government for years and are experts in science, epidemiology, foreign policy, the law, health services, immigration, military policy, education, and more. These experts execute the details of government machinery regardless of whether the Democrats or Republicans are in power. Each new president brings in appointees that oversee agencies, such as Health and Human Services, the CDC, and the Environmental Protection Agency. Professional bureaucrats, who are experts in their respective fields, generally advise their new agency leader.
President Trump brought many appointees to Washington who did not support the missions of the agencies they were running, including the U.S. Department of Education, Environmental Protection Agency, Health and Human Services, and the Post Office (now headed by a major Trump donor). For the most part, professional bureaucrats were not asked for their advice but instead were asked to implement changes that were at odds with the facts, their expertise, and sometimes the law.
When Trump was frustrated that his administration didn’t get its way, he started blaming the "deep state." Was he referring to the experts who work for him? His own Justice Department? The FBI? Judges in the state and federal judicial branches? Yes. He had other descriptions for elected officials in Congress who disagreed with him.
This president, more than any other, misused language to his advantage skillfully. Where did the expression and meaning of “deep state” originate?
“Deep state” is translated from the Turkish derin devlet. This expression used in Turkey in the 1990s, according to historian Ryan Gingeras refers to “a ‘criminal’ or ‘rogue’ element that has somehow muscled their way into power." In Turkey, this term referred to the military collaborating with drug traffickers and hitmen to perform their duties.
Mexico is an example of a country where the "deep state" merged the drug cartels and the Mexican government. Drug cartel members obtained official positions in the police hierarchy and made it almost impossible for presidents to eliminate them.
A "deep state" is not what we're concerned about in America. We are concerned about a president who doesn't understand what the phrase means. For Donald Trump, "deep state" are those parts of government that execute the work of government machinery regardless of whether the Democrats or Republicans are in power. The Food and Drug Administration became a “deep state” target in November. Trump accused the agency of delaying the announcement of the first Coronavirus vaccine (Pfizer) until the Sunday after the presidential election. “FDA and the Democrats didn’t want me to have a vaccine WIN prior to the election…” The Head of the FDA was a Trump appointee. In September, Trump chose Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman, serving in the White House and an epidemiologist from Atlanta, to single out for criticism. Referring to these experts as the “deep state” diminishes our country's ability to provide the best services to our residents and share trust with the rest of the world.
David Rohde, an editor at The New Yorker and the author of In Deep: The FBI, The CIA, and the Truth about America's "deep state," argues that “the term ‘deep state’ has become a way for Trump and his supporters to deflect criticism. It’s their equivalent of terms like ‘fake news’ and ‘witch hunt.’” This inflammatory and disparaging language creates doubt in residents and reflects so negatively on the career civil servants who keep this nation afloat. We need the most qualified people to work in government, especially during a pandemic, and we need them to aspire to civil service as a career choice. The government needs to be trusted.
In my experience, public employees are committed to faithfully executing the laws, no matter which party is running Washington. I was one of these professional bureaucrats in Massachusetts for 20 years. As Deputy Comptroller, my job entailed oversight of payroll for 92,000 state employees, contracts for all purchases, and payment of all bills for goods and services purchased by the Commonwealth. It was challenging, rewarding, and an honor to serve.
On December 11, 2020, the Supreme Court (Trump appointed three of the nine justices) ruled that Texas lacked standing to pursue a lawsuit to overturn election results in four battleground states. The court said Texas "has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another state conducts its elections." This ruling is Trump's “deep state,” the judicial branch of government doing its job, an outcome with which he vehemently disagrees. There were 60 similar election lawsuits filed by Trump allies, and 59 ruled against him. He still believes the election was stolen from him.
The same “deep state” professional bureaucrats in the FBI, the Justice Department, and police departments around the country are finding, investigating, and as appropriate, indicting those who attacked the U.S. Capital building last week. At the encouragement of the president, his supporters carried out an attack on one of our great American institutions while inside the Congress members were certifying the votes of the people.
There is a new day coming on January 20th on which Trump will transfer to his next delusional state.
Thanks for reading and please leave a comment so I know you're out there.
You can read other essays by Elizabeth Kilcoyne by clicking on PUBLISHED WORKS above. .
This blog entry requires action!! Everything with purpose requires action!
LaTosha Brown co-founded Black Voters Matter in 2016. She had a leading role in propelling Democrats to victory in Georgia on January 5th! Democrats will be in the majority this month. LaTosha is someone to know.
In a recent interview with All Things Considered, LaTosha said, “We wanted people, we wanted Black voters in particular, to feel a sense of their power and their agency, and in spite of all odds, what we could do in pushing this country forward.”
You can see and listen to LaTosha’s story on January 19th.
Mass Women’s Political Caucus Annual Meeting
2021 is the time to renew our drive to move this Commonwealth toward a more equitable future.
Our featured speaker, LaTosha Brown, heads one of the most exciting and effective grassroots political organizing efforts in America: Black Voters Matter. She is a leader in the fight against voter suppression and the empowerment of marginalized communities in the public arena. Join us in conversation with this leading political activist, advocate for women and girls, and Harvard Kennedy School Fellow, as we talk about Selma, Cambridge, and the future of women in American political life.
Date: January 19, 2012
Time: 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Register Now for this Zoom Webinar: https://bit.ly/2W882uk
I am a member of the Mass Women’s Political Caucus, promoting more women to run for public office. The journey is long and rewarding!
Thanks for reading!
SHOULD THE EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT BE REVIVED?
Wednesday, December 9 at 7 pm ET
As we know, Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment giving the amendment the required number of states for ratification. The deadline has passed, but the House of Representatives eliminated the deadline earlier this year. If all goes well in Georgia on January 5th, we will have a majority in the Senate. So this question becomes relevant.
Speakers will be:
Jane Mansbridge, author of the award-winning Why We Lost the ERA,
Carol Robles-Román, former co-president and CEO of the ERA Coalition, and
Inez Feltscher Stepman of the Independent Women's Forum.
Moderator will be Jeffrey Rosen, president, and CEO of the National Constitution Center.
Please join the Dec. 9th DEBATE at 7 pm, and we can continue the discussion on this blog. I dream of gender equity in the constitution. It would be a solid foundation from which to fight discrimination! We may even be able to stop worrying about our reproductive rights!
Thanks to Ellen O'Connor for sending this event along and Gracie Coates for reminding me to keep this fight going!
Register at https://constitutioncenter.org
"The union will be more perfect when that simple statement, that men and women are persons of equal citizenship stature, is part of our fundamental instrument of government," the late great RGB said.
If you want to make calls to Georgia, contact https://fairfight.com/join-our-fight/
It’s easier than you think!
Thanks for reading. Leave a comments about the debate.
Many of you have read about mom. Here she is at here finest!
Thanks, as always, for reading, Elizabeth
Martha E. Walsh
Presence at Ninety Four
I walked into her room. The sun was shining through the blue and white sheer curtains. Mom was sitting at her white rod iron breakfast table surrounded by the last of her belongings, a curio cabinet filled with ornate treasures, family photos on every surface, and a red Christmas bow over her bed. She was dressed in her white jacket with carefully selected broaches, black and white leopard blouse, and signature tam, exuding elegance.
She had an expectant look on her face like something was about to happen. It was a Thursday, last Thursday, her 94th birthday. We tied a “Happy Birthday” balloon to her walker and took a ceremonial tour around her assisted living residence. There were mostly congratulatory greetings, a few short conversations, and recognition from the aid who had dressed her that morning admiring her handiwork.
We settled in the living room and read cards from her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and friends. There were many. It took a while. We got back into the elevator and retired to her room to indulge ourselves in hot tea and whoopie pies.
Happy Birthday Mom
It’s November 3, 2020. I’m trying to distract myself from thinking about the election today, so I’m sharing my affection for Helen Reddy, who died in September. I missed her passing because I was in San Francisco helping my brother and not paying attention.
It was hard for Helen to break into the music world in the late ‘60s and ‘70s. Remember when radio disc jockeys decided what songs to play? Many said to her that I AM WOMAN wasn’t their favorite song, but their wives loved it! Some said, “We’re already playing a female record. Folks are more into boy bands right now.” So she went on 19 TV shows and achieved momentum for I AM WOMAN. In 1973 and 1974, Helen was the top female vocalist and sold 25 million records! I still have the one pictured above. The middle photo is the crowd while she’s singing I AM WOMAN in DC at the NOW Abortion Rights Rally in 1989.
In 2002, Helen returned to her native Australia and studied hypnotherapy. When asked if she had been able to help people, she gave a resounding “yes!” Maybe I should try hypnosis for my election night anxiety!
In 2014 I saw Helen perform in Provincetown during Women’s Week. She was 72, as pictured in red. Fabulous concert. She performed a mix of jazz, blues, and of course, her classics. She likes singing new songs because they inspire a different passion in her. Before she belted out I AM WOMAN, she spoke every word she wrote back in the ‘70s for the Women’s Movement. Helen embodied the movement and was anointed a feminist Icon.
When I sing along with Helen I feel strong and, yes, invincible! “If I have to, I can do anything” brings out the best in me.
When asked if Provincetown was her last tour. Helen Reddy said, “There is no last tour!”
To that end, a new movie about Helen is on NETFLIX titled, I AM WOMAN. What else? Hope I have distracted you a little on this election day. Ask Alexa to play I AM WOMAN and cross your fingers!
Leave your favorite memory of Helen by clicking on "comments" below.
I wrote this letter because we can’t allow these acts of indecency and vulgarity go without speaking up!
“The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth on them.”
Ida B. Wells, Suffragist
Who decides the rights and wrongs? Me? You? The Bible? The laws? Common sense?
It feels like people are having trouble making that decision. At least three incidents rocked my world in Newburyport last week.
Is this enough light, Ida?
This Letter to the Editor appeared in the Newburyport Daily News August 27th.
Thanks for reading. Leave me message by clicking on Comments below, Elizabeth
Who Inspires Your Life?
I have a complicated relationship with my mother. Many of us do. As an adult, I was confused about how I could love her. She is an incredibly strong woman with a "can do" spirit, which she shared with me, and I’m very grateful. But she was distracted most of the time I was growing up. I don’t remember lacking attention from mom, it was the day-to-day stuff, like remembering to pick me up after dance class every week and giving me the money for the lessons. Mom’s involvement seemed to end with praise, high praise. She fought to get me into a catholic high school and then purchased only one uniform for me. The shine on my navy blue jumper by senior year could blind a person, and the elbows on my two blouses wore out long before graduation. My sweater was my savior.
This conflict led me to research my mother's story. Learning about her success was easy because Mom kept every newspaper clipping and piece of paper about herself. I found an organizational leader in the church, a pursuer of higher learning and a spirit that relished challenges.
During a sabbatical in Maine, I spent time writing mom’s story and admiring her more with each sentence. When I finished, the complicated relationship, the confusion, the conflict were gone. I love my mother for who she is, not for who she isn't!
This revelation started me wondering about multiple types of inspiration.
I invited my blog readers to share women who inspired their lives. The stories of sixty-six women were submitted for this essay. National leaders like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Michelle Obama, Eleanor Roosevelt, Nancy Pelosi, Harriet Tubman, and Angela Merkel appeared multiple times. Some referred to these women as rock stars! We admire them for who they are and what they've accomplished, others are role models we aspire to.
One of my favorites is the “never giver uppers.” A beautiful young nun, a drama teacher, told a student after she forgot her lines and quit the drama club, "You never give up because things don’t go your way.” The 6th-grade teacher, a single mom, whose goal was to run a marathon in every state, which she did. And Diana Nyad, who successfully swam from Cuba to Key West after 5 attempts spanning thirty-six years. She made it at age 64. When Diana arrived at Key West beach, she said two things, "We should never give up," and "You're never too old to chase your dreams."
Categories of inspirational women naturally emerged.
Nurturers and caregivers; moms, grandmothers, and daycare providers creating safe, caring, supportive environments “from which young humans can launch into their own lives.” My daycare provider, “Weezie,” inspired me to give my full attention to my children. This was challenging for me and rewarding for all of us.
Leaders, both local and national, moving this world forward. A reader is inspired by a long-time local activist who draws people to her with gentleness and kindness of spirit. When Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister of New Zealand, locked down the country, she said, "Act as if you have COVID-19. This will save lives." She chose elimination over containment. The chair of a YWCA fights tirelessly for affordable housing for women. Teachers change our lives.
Creative women teach us to use our imaginations to present our ideas. Virginia Woolf inspired many to look beyond what they saw to create art. Margaret Pine, a Peace Corps volunteer, taught colleagues English and technology needed by women in developing countries. Ann Patchett pushes beyond her celebrity and creates an independent bookstore in Nashville, Tennessee for free thinkers.
Courageous women follow their dreams and sometimes pay a high price. A foreign service officer died delivering books in Afghanistan. A bisexual woman’s strength allows her to survive rejection. Eve Ensler shocked both genders with “The Vagina Monologues.” Florence Nightingale inspired the development of Swords to Plowshares as it struggled to heal the wounds of war that last beyond the battlefield. The U.S. Women’s Soccer Team sues for equal pay, and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford speaks truth to power before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Then there are the personal role models who fit into many categories but inspire us “to do or feel something." A reader's aunt, Florence Keller, M.D., inspired her to become a doctor. A biology teacher inspires a student to follow in her footsteps. The trailblazers continue to be role models as we fight for equal rights! And yes, my mom inspired me to be strong, self-confident, and a survivor.
“Just because somebody doesn’t love you the way you want them to, doesn’t mean they don’t love you with all they have.”
Thank you to my readers for sharing these fabulous women. Leave me a comment below so I know you're out there.
If you’re curious about mom’s story, here’s the link.
Martha Walsh, A Model Professional of Her Time, Essay Finalist in 2019 Adelaide Literary Award, Anthology (print only) Reprinted in Medium.com
MARCHING TOWARD COVERAGE, How Women can lead the fight for Universal Healthcare, by Rosemarie Day
Have you ever felt invisible, discriminated against because you couldn’t pay, or worse, suffering without hope? This is how people with no health insurance feel. In America twenty-eight million women, men and children experience this many days. And most are working! We can FIX this!
Rosemarie Day's first book thoroughly examines the political, operational, and financial costs of universal healthcare, along with the benefits. She explores the relationship between national values and healthcare as a human right in the same way as education, housing, and food. Day advises the US to find a consensus that healthcare is a human right before beginning to discuss the specific details of a universal healthcare program. She asks, "Do we want to make healthcare a right like education? Or keep it as a commodity, like a car?"
The history of health insurance in the US and other developed countries is reviewed and dispels the myth that other developed countries have only government-owned health systems. Most have a combination of employer-sponsored and public programs. Day proposes that since 49% of US residents are already covered by employer-sponsored health insurance, the combination of private and public coverage would make the most sense for the US. Medicare and Medicaid and other public programs cover 36%. Individual plans cover 6%, which leaves 9%, or twenty-eight million Americans who need health insurance.
The US currently spends $3.65 trillion on healthcare. Day identifies three possible ways to fund universal healthcare: renegotiate pharmaceutical rates, increase tax rates on top earners and reevaluate defense and prison spending. These and other examples are priority spending discussions worth having.
In a chapter called "Coverage Alone Isn't Enough," Day challenges the reader to consider the components of American lifestyle needed to support quality health. She calls these components social determinants: education, social supports, racism, pollution, and affordable housing. If your life has all of these components, take a minute and think about what life would be without one or two or all of them.
According to the Department of Labor, women make 80% of the healthcare decisions in the family. They know first-hand the need for healthcare. When the Affordable Care Act was in danger of repeal in 2017, it was women who made 86% of the calls to Congress defending it, specifically they were concerned about losing family coverage for preexisting conditions. Day suggests that women can stand up again to support universal healthcare.
Day is well-positioned to write a book on universal healthcare coverage. She is CEO of Day Health Care Strategies, former Chief Operating Officer for the MA Medicaid program and founding leader of the MA Health Connector.
Day drives this book with facts (many facts), passion, and humor. She includes a comprehensive view of health and systems that keep someone healthy. She reminds us that our future depends on women who are "delivering 100% of the population," then goes on to discuss the underinsurance of maternity healthcare. Concerns for families without adequate maternity coverage are consistent with my daughter's experience. She had a $3,000 prenatal and maternity care deductible, which she kept up with paying during her pregnancy. The day her son was born, she was astounded to learn that his $3,000 deductible kicked in.
Day is a pragmatist. She believes that even in this environment of political division in our country, there is hope that we will do the right thing. After all, the right for women to vote only passed by one "aye" in Tennessee 100 years ago.
Day wrote this book to activate women to stand up for universal healthcare. "Women are an untapped resource of leadership, voices, donations, and very importantly, votes," she said. In the 2016 presidential election over one-third (42 million) of eligible women did not vote. The book includes a Personal Activism Assessment to determine where the reader falls on the activism wave. It starts with being informed, then to showing up, and finally running for office. Not everyone will take the last step, but supporting other women who run is activism!
The bottom line says Day is, "No one's health is truly a right until everyone has access to good, affordable healthcare." When we prioritize the health of our citizens equal to the economy, twenty-eight million uninsured people become more productive contributors.
I highly recommend this book for women and men. The pandemic is magnifying the need for universal healthcare. Together, we can make it a reality. This is still America, dammit!
By Elizabeth Kilcoyne, April 19, 2020
I hope you are finding home appealing and purposeful. I’m actually enjoying this time of my own. Check in with me in a few weeks!
The Boston Sunday Globe got my attention this weekend with Jeff Jacoby’s opinion piece “The Equal Rights Amendment is Dead!” I love it when men pontificate on equal rights, women’s reproductive rights and other issues for which they have little or no personal experience.
Here’s my Letter to the Editor:
Regarding the Boston Sunday Globe opinion piece by Jeff Jacoby, "The Equal Rights Amendment is dead," we have one man with the help of two women deciding for all of us that the equal rights amendment has “died."
Some additional info for you:
Women's inequality is partially an economic issue. According to a MetLife poll in 2019, of the 43% of Americans who live paycheck-to-paycheck, 85% are women. There are many reasons for this disparity. One of the significant issues is the pay rate for a woman's first job.
June 17, 2016, PRNewswire-USNewswire conducted a poll finding near-universal support for amending the United States Constitution with a proposed amendment that would expressly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex. The amendment was supported by:
90% of men and 96% of women
97% of Democrats, 90% of Republicans, and 92% of Independents.
Women Who Inspired Our Lives
If you haven’t had a chance to email me about the women who inspired your life, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks to all who have sent your inspirational women already.
Stay connected. Please leave a comment so I know you're out there,
I am giving a presentation at the “Riveting Broads Summit” on Friday, March 13th.
Why we need the Equal Rights Amendment and What we can do to Help Pass it.
The ERA has been moving forward and back. Sounds familiar… The latest version of my ERA essay is at www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6641032380972888064/
“The Riveting Broads Summit creates space for women to share their stories in their own words. Crucial conversations in media, politics, and everyday life are too often about women instead of with them. We plan to change that.”
Tickets are available here:
Hope you can make it.
Now for some fun!
Denis and I flew to South Beach on Frontier Airline (don’t try this yourself) in January and got more than we expected.
Thanks for reading. Leave a comment so I know you’re out there, Elizabeth