Monday, December 26, 2016

In My Journey Through Life, A Real Surprising Development

Readers, something really surprising has happened. My blog has been hacked by Russian hackers. Don’t worry that I’ve flipped out. I know it’s them because in the statistics, I see the largest number of my readers are in Russia. Besides that, I keep getting anonymous comments that don’t make any sense. Sometimes they’ve been just a bunch of numbers. Other times they’re a bunch of nonsense words and I’ve had to send them all to spam. Who do they think I am - Hillary Clinton? I’m kind of flattered that they think I’m someone prominent.

So I’m thinking of sending them a comment in reply. Let me know what you think.

Dear Russian Hackers,

I don’t know why you’re bothering to hack my blog, but I kind of feel sorry for you because you’ve wasted a whole lot of your time. You’re not going to find out anything from me that you couldn’t find out by reading the newspapers. I’m just a private American citizen exercising my freedom of speech while I still have it. The events I write about are all public knowledge that I’m merely expressing my opinion about.

It reminds me of two funny FBI stories. One was an old friend of mine was a member of the Communist Party. The FBI sent an agent to spy on him. They spent so much time together that they got to be friends. When the FBI agent’s dog ran away, my friend helped him to look for his dog.

During the Vietnam War, my friends and I went to an anti-war march. We met a man who was wearing a “May 2nd Movement” campaign button. I asked him what that was and he told us. About a year later, one of my friends told me that he read a story about an FBI agent spending six months with the May 2nd Movement and finding out everything we did in our ten-minute conversation. I guess bureaucracies have something in common all over the world.

I’m willing to let bygones be bygones if you’d just say you’re sorry and unjumble my blog. While you’re at it, could you do me a favor? My aunt was a great cook and she made fabulous beef Stragonoff. I lost the recipe so could you send one to me? If you tell me your real name, I’ll mention it in my blog.

And that’s another thing: Just a friendly tip: You’d probably do better if you used an American name on your comments and improved your English grammar. Just saying.

Happy New Year. May 2017 be a more peaceful one for all of us. Lisa Sachs

So readers, until this hacking problem is resolved, I won’t be able to post anything. Happy New Year to all of you and may 2017 be a peaceful year for all the world.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Only Twenty Nine Days Until Donald Trump Becomes President. What Do We Do Now?

There are only 28 days until Donald Trump becomes President of the United States of America. We have less than a month left to live in a Democracy that has a semblance of a social safety net, that has outlawed hate crimes, that guarantees us freedom of the press, speech, assembly, and religion. I feel that I must do something each day that counts toward saving the good that American has been and will be - until January 20th. The time to cry was after the election results came in. The time to panic is probably just beginning. I’m sure I’ll be doing plenty of that in the future. For now, I’m trying to be constructive.

Yesterday, December 21, I volunteered as I’ve been doing each Wednesday, at the ESL CafĂ© at the Skokie Library. Since this is a drop-in program for any immigrant who wants an opportunity to practice speaking English, we never have the exact same group that we had the week before. While a core group attends each week, people are always dropping in or out. We go around the room asking the people to introduce themselves. Today, people came to the group from Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Syria, Iraq, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The way in which people introduce themselves is always interesting. “I came from Syria five years ago,” says a woman. The tears she is trying not to shed are visible. “It used to be beautiful. Not now.” She cannot continue talking and we move on to the next person.
Many of the people who attend the group talk about how grateful they are to be in America and Skokie, Illinois in particular. “I’ve been here over 20 years,” says a Russian woman. “God bless this country.”

We welcome them all to the group. I tell them my name and that I was born in New York and have spent most of my adult life in the Chicago area. “My grandparents came from Russia over 100 years ago,” I tell them. “We’re all immigrants or the children or grandchildren of immigrants. Welcome to the group. Welcome.”

I wonder how long I’ll be able to say that. Will any immigrants be truly welcome here during the next four years? I swallow a lump in my throat and my co-volunteer goes on to our activity for this day – sharing holiday music from our respective countries. Everyone seems to enjoy sharing it. We sing. We dance. We eat cookies from various countries that participants have brought in. We’re from many lands but we’ve shared our music, our dance, and our foods. We can no longer be strangers.

I’m grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to volunteer in this program, a joint project of the English Language Learners Center and the Skokie Library. How long will I be able to welcome new immigrants to America? I don’t know, but I’m determined to work with Immigrant Rights Groups to make sure that America remains a beacon of hope to the world.

The countdown continues. I hope to do something today and every day to make the next month meaningful.