Tara Lynn Johnson

Writer ~ Creator ~ Enthusiastic Audience Member

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A Pressing Issue

Something in the news lately, tied to politics, is bugging me: the way some people are talking about and acting towards the media and journalists.

Journalists do an important job — questioning authority, looking for things in the dark that should be brought into the light. But even if the job wasn’t important, they deserve, like everybody else, to go to work feeling safe. In these times, though, being a journalist is a becoming a dangerous job in America. Threatening language or actions of some, which might inspire others bent on doing harm, is beyond thoughtless and inappropriate.

Of course, it’s one thing just to use words. However, it seems that those words are becoming actions (something I hope doesn’t continue and become a trend).

Consider the thug in Montana who body-slammed a reporter, for instance. Note to Mr. Politician: it’s the job of the press, especially when it comes to politicians (who aren’t exactly at the top of the list of The Most Honest People), to be tenacious stopping just at the outer edge of obnoxious. If a politician can’t handle that, then maybe he (or she) should consider a different career. Being obnoxious trying to get an answer from a public servant isn’t illegal (yet), but assault is — the politician in this case was arrested, as he should have been. (Aside: he’s embarrassingly a hometown boy, born in California, but raised in a Philadelphia suburb).

Then there’s the Governor of Texas, who said he’d carry a target sheet around after shooting practice “in case I see any reporters.” Because joking about shooting people is hilarious?

Then, there’s the person or persons who thought it was a good idea to shoot out the window of a Kentucky newspaper with a gun (small caliber? B.B.? Does that matter?). Thankfully, the Republican governor of Kentucky denounced the behavior.

I wish others with more prominent positions would do so. But he won’t… Of course I blame the guy at the top, who sets a poor example, big league. If he thinks the press is wrong or smearing him or just making him looking bad (though he doesn’t need help in that area), he should rise above and let them be shown as fools, if that’s the case. He’s the President of the United States, the most public and prominent of politicians, and he should act like it. The very least he could do is watch his words and realize the weight they carry.

Journalism being a risky job isn’t new, but it is somewhat new to America. Journalists around the world have been killed or imprisoned just for doing their jobs — obviously war reporters take a known risk, but those covering politics also risk their lives sometimes (read more at the Committee to Protect Journalists).

But that hasn’t been the case in the U.S.A., and our free press is admired around the world. Because not everyone has that. Knowledge is a powerful thing and those who seek to control know that. Cutting off knowledge at its source, especially a source they can’t control, is imperative to their dominance.

But that’s not America.

Denigrating the media, calling them the enemy of the people, threatening them, putting hands on them — that’s not America either.

It hasn’t been anyway.

I’ll do everything in my power to keep what’s been happening from becoming the norm. And I’m not alone (thank goodness).

Hear ye

It’s been 197 days since I wrote here. I hid the blog from the site for a time, too. This was the last header photo I posted:

I wasn’t sure I was coming back to this place.

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The Cost of This Election

I’m trying to make the best of the insanity (inanity) that is this presidential election. During debates, I’ve made Trump Tacos (he LOVES Hispanics!) or Hillary Huevos. I’ve been watching the shows (getting my foreign policy info from them, just like a certain someone, I guess) and reading all the papers, listening to all the radio. This circus has been going on so long, I think it’s starting to affect me on a cellular level.

This weekend, when I reached the drive-thru window to pick up my iced tea, I gave my debit and Starbucks gold cards to the barista and asked her to add $5 first, something I’ve done more times than I can count. She pushed buttons; she swiped both cards.

“It’s declined,” she said, holding up the debit card and nodding toward the cash register screen. My face must have displayed my confusion. “I’ll try again…. …. …. no, it’s declined.”

This has never happened to me. During all the years I’ve been adulting, I’ve never heard those words when paying with plastic.

She swiped the Starbucks card as I fumbled for the emergency quarters I keep in my car to pay the remaining balance. I then immediately went to an ATM.

Thoughts raced through my head — is it just me? Is there some sort of issue with my bank? With all banks? Will I be able to get my money?

I struggled to push the buttons on the ATM — they were high up, as if I’m the only person who drives a subcompact, and I haven’t gotten money this way in eons. It hurt the most to push the button gouging me out of $5 to give me my own money (I went to a different bank in case it was just my bank having issues). Beep. Beep. “Your transaction is complete. Please take your money and your receipt.” Out came the cash and the paper with the proper account amount listed.

After returning home and looking online, I discovered that my bank was having an issue and I wasn’t the only one affected. That was somewhat comforting, but made me think — not only will I never be without cash again (which sometimes happens as weeks fly by and the money disappears bit by bit from my wallet), but maybe I should start storing it all under my mattress.

I never had thoughts like this before. I’m chalking my faux few moments of personal apocalyptic feeling to the fear that the Walking Cheese Doodle (or as James Carville calls him in his book We’re Still Right, They’re Still Wrong “a tangerine with the political leanings of Generalissimo Francisco Franco”) may actually win in November. The Awkward Laughing Muppet isn’t my favorite person, and is by no means untouched by the corruption of power (like most politicians), but he’s a whole new level of… whatever the hell is wrong with him, so she doesn’t scare me the way he does. I swear I have Presidential Election PTSD.

I didn’t realize how much this has gotten in and, beyond the punchlines and unintentional comedy, how much fear it has engendered. It’s time to turn the TV and radio off and close the papers and magazines. There’s nothing either candidate can say or do at this point that would surprise me (TRUMP CHALLENGE!). There’s nothing about how people are reacting to this election that can either. If something YUGE happens, I’m sure I’ll hear all about it (whether I like it or not).

There’s nothing else I can do about it… other than cast a vote on election day (then thank all things holy that at least this two-year debacle is over… until the presidency of one of these people actually begins… Oh, I can’t think about that right now….).

Only a month to go. For the love of all things good, can someone make that day get here faster so we can end this nonsense?

Autumn Moods

Autumn Moods from ParksRec Guide with WMAutumn Moods, my first photo exhibit (at the Middletown Township, Bucks County Municipal Building) is coming to an end. It was a thrill to have two of my photos selected to be included in this exhibit. It’s cool that my first exhibit focused on my favorite season (winter is a close second). The photos I took that the review panel included:

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