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It may be early to prepare for the election after this one, but that’s what I’m doing.

You see, I have a wisecrack that’s been in storage for a while now.

Recently I applied for citizenship and so, assuming I’m accepted—sometime in the new year, I’m guessing—here’s how the wisecrack will go.

“Citizenship has its drawback. Every election up until now, I tell people: ‘Don’t blame me, I can’t vote.’ Now I can’t say that anymore.”

OK, not much of a wisecrack. In fact, considering how abrasive this presidential election has been, not much of a laughing matter altogether.

Citizenship will make me an American, confirming the home I already have here. How I vote will paint me as a certain kind of American. The chances are whatever kind I am will almost surely identify me as a pariah, if not an outright enemy, to a sizeable portion of the nation. Whether blue or red, or even green, I’m going to encounter a continual stream of opinion about why my chosen color beckons towards national ruin. To some, I will almost inevitably be tarred a traitor even before I cast a vote.

As many of us recognize, it will be a gargantuan task for the political hierarchy, and for us all, to overcome these divisions. An emphasis on bedrock values is where I would begin. In a country that prizes values, what about a focus on civil debate, empathy, a hearing for the calmly-stated opinions of those with whom we disagree, an effort to put ourselves in others’ shoes? To differ is certainly part of human nature. To differ with grace and consideration stems, I think, from communal behavior and no doubt from habits learned early in life.

My path towards becoming a certain kind of American seems to me to have been too often decided for me. Let’s start with being a Baby Boomer. Who seriously believes that all people born within certain years, all Baby Boomers, or all yet-to-come Generation Zs, are or will be of the same mind? We may have aspects in common, but as many differences. Ask Hillary and Donald.

And then there are the political tags. Liberal or conservative, never the twain shall meet we’re led to assume. Yet, how many of us cross the lines on an almost daily basis. I support less government, but only to the extent that it still addresses the complexity of modern life. Jefferson, Madison and their peers laid out fine principles, but they could hardly be expected to foresee climate change and techno developments. Oh dear, I suppose that’s going to offend constitutionalists. I’ll be labeled as the kind of American who besmirches the legacy of the founding fathers.

Sometimes it’s hard to decide exactly where an issue fits on the political scale. For instance, I advocate conserving trees. Does that mean I am a liberal subscribing to the insidious threat of environmentalism, or am I conservatively supporting the most precious resource of any nation—its geography? Say what you like about history. Without geography, there’s nothing.

Then there’s defense. There’s a divisive topic I am going to be wary of discussing with people I don’t know well. I am in favor of transferring as much as practical of the world’s nuclear weapons budget to programs that actually make sense. In fact, I’d like to tune in to a political debate in which a candidate treats that as a serious priority. Once again, am I a liberal for wanting to liberate ridiculous funding or a conservative for wanting to conserve life, liberty and the pursuit happiness in a world in which those aspirations are often underfinanced?

And so, as I wait for my date with the Department of Homeland Security, I have much to consider in addition to the usual questions about whom senators represent, what the supreme law of the land is etc., etc. One thing I do know though. Once I take that oath, no one will be able to say with any credibility: “Go back to where you came from.”

Even when they don’t like my wisecracks.

Time once more for the Local Author Fair at Red Mountain Library, Mesa AZ. Saturday 3/28/15 starting at 1 pm. Thanks to the staff and volunteers for giving authors a showcase.

Big weekend for fans in Arizona. Plaque dedication, Glendale today; anniversary concert Paradise RV Resort, Sun City, 6 9/27

Ebook distributor Smashwords is running a promotion through July for authors to discount or give away their publications.

Readers of my non fiction (by Andrew Means) and fiction (by A.L.Means) can take advantage by going to links as follows:

Non fiction: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/AndrewMeans

Fiction: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/ALMeans

The non fiction titles are biographical works about novelist and essayist George Orwell and rock group Pink Floyd, and a memoir about country music great, Marty Robbins.

Fiction features my novel Shine Like The Sun, children’s story The Trouble Upstream, and short stories Foreign Ways.

Additionally, I’m listing someone close to me, Notlyn Sneam, whose short stories and other ramblings can be downloaded free at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/NotlynSneam

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Few writers have had a greater impact on language, politics and literature than George Orwell. His very name is a byword for the kind of state and social repression he wrote about in his final book, 1984. His essays and opinions continue to surface in opinion columns and conversation to an extent unrivalled by most of his mid-20th century peers.

This introduction gives the general reader a foundation for understanding Orwell’s professional development and personal life. It traces his childhood in England, relationships with family and friends, initial career as a police officer in colonial Burma, and the literary steps that led from the sociological observations of Down & Out in Paris and London and The Road To Wigan Pier through several relatively obscure novels to his masterpieces of the 1940s, Animal Farm and 1984. Finally, there are references to the influences on Orwell and the legacy he built before his untimely death from tuberculosis in 1950.

http://www.amazon.com/George-Orwell-Introduction-Work-ebook/dp/B0090VOOL6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1346465039&sr=8-1&

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/221275

With so much attention paid to celebrity authors, it really deserves credit when a library showcases the local talent. That’s what Lesa Holstine is doing with her Read Local series of appearances at Velma Teague library in Glendale, Arizona.
Styles and topics represented in a recent event ranged from J.J.M.Czep’s pirate adventures to Kris Tualla’s Norwegian romances. Arizona provided rich material for other local writers, including of course my memoir about Marty Robbins.
Read more about it at Lesa’s blog,
Lesa’s Book Critiques http://lesasbookcritiques.blogspot.com/?spref=tw.
Let’s hope this sparks a trend.

Fellow Creatures.

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