Visual Trip Across America


Why am I taking you on a visual trip of America? Because I want you to remember all we have here. This is our America.

These pictures are symbols of what we vote for. We vote because we have the right to vote and have since the Founding Fathers. We have the duty to each other and to America to speak up and let government officials know how we feel. We must  vote, or everyone that has died fighting for our country and way of life will have died in vain. Even if you are not happy with our present government and if you see racism and sexism and judgmentalism as black marks against us, go out and vote. Just go. Send your message, send your thoughts, send a message of what must change. Send a message that is representative of your voice. It is ELECTION DAY. Go to the polls and vote. It is not too much to ask.

Smokey Mountains

Smokey Mountains  Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2013



To Majestic Mountains

To Majestic Mountains  Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2012



My flowers in glorious bloom. Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2012




To your own home

To your own home  Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 1013



To country roads

To country roads  Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2013



To Texas butterflies. Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2007

To butterflies. Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2007



And lakes

To lakes  Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2011



From Oceans

And oceans and islands  Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2012

Election Eve



Hello to all of my readers. Do you know what today is? It is Election Eve. I know (for those in America anyway ) you are over all of the ads. Even worse the dirty commercials. Could that person have possibility have done that? What do I really think? My husband doesn’t agree with who I want to be our Governor. My best friend says I am completely wrong in my ideas. My kids think I don’t understand politics. Maybe I should just skip voting. It is supposed to rain tomorrow. I have several things I can do at the house. What should I do? Should I vote?


Ladies, this is an important election for us. Yes, there is a war on women. The GOP want us back in the home and they want us more restricted than we are now. Does that sound familiar? Perhaps you have heard it on the news from the Middle East. There are so many issues at stake, so many programs to help people that hang in the balance. The condition of our society depends on everyone voting. Our children’s education, your parents’ ability to receive good medical care, the ability to feed our children and keep a roof over their heads. We need to remember that Americans all live in one country. We look different but we have the same basic human needs.  Despite economic conditions, if you flip burgers to support your children you are as important as the person who owns his/ her own company.


If you are an American man or woman, you have the right to vote. With that right that was granted to men by the Founding Fathers, and the feminist Suffragettes earned for us, comes a responsibility to use it. If you don’t vote you have no right to whine, complain, grouse or say negative things about who is elected. If you vote, then you can always say what you feel. It is your right. I have met many people who love to tell whoever will listen what is wrong with government. Inevitably, I ask if they voted. 90% of the time they have not.


You can research candidates with the League of Women Voters and in your local newspapers. It takes time, but not that much when you consider what is at stake. Take your state ID or Driver’s License with you in case you need to prove who you are. Don’t let poll workers prevent you from voting. It is your right and your vote is needed. Of all the democracies in the world, we have the lowest percentage of voter turnout. Right now, there are people who would give anything to have the right to vote.


Your vote is your voice. Your vote is your message to our leaders of what you want and it is really the only way they will hear you.  So vote and let them know what you want. Let them know what you think America needs. VOTE!








A very good question.

A very good question.



The Suffragettes earned us the right to vote.

The Suffragettes earned us the right to vote.




Get out and Vote tomorrow. You can make a difference.

Get out and Vote tomorrow. You can make a difference.




Equality in our lives

As the 99% Grows Older

This year, 2014 is going to be remembered for many tragedies. Not as big as 9-11 or the crash of 2008. It will be marked by millions of tragedies marked as insignificant. Our government leaders mark them as insignificant. The people who are homeless, hungry, fallen off the employment-goround, are disabled or who at one time had a good job and now have nothing left, are fallen through the cracks on a daily, nay hourly basis.


I love all of our wild animals. I am allergic to all animals and birds. Fish are the exception. If you were to take the blinders off and really look around, you would see millions of starving American citizens. Many of these starving citizens are children.  My point being, that we seem to care more about stray dogs and cats than we do starving children. In many states, children do receive free lunches at school which is a help. Have you ever tried to eat one meal a day and grow and learn and receive good grades? In some states, some children also receive a free breakfast. When was the last time that a child came home from school and wasn’t starving?  Even though dinner will be given to them in a couple of hours.


When our poor children come home from school, there is often no food or perhaps some  oatmeal.  Did they learn at school that day? Well, actually not. Because their stomachs were rumbling, they couldn’t focus because they were hungry, and sad and their minds ramble around in their heads because they want more food, or sleep. Domestic Violence often keeps millions of children awake because of screaming and crying. Or they may have been dragged to the Emergency Room so Mom can receive treatment.



In our society, children go hungry

In our society, children go hungry. Who else goes hungry? The elderly. Since the 2008 crash, rents climb every year because many could no longer afford to stay in their homes. Gas prices are very high.  Food prices are through the roof. So our seniors living on a fixed income or disability need to cut back and then back some more. And these are former professional people, former teachers, firemen and former police officers. The ones who risk their lives every day and chose to give back to the world. Now they have a fixed income and can’t afford many of their medications, can’t afford to buy healthy food because it costs more. They eat less vegetables and fruits. They don’t go anywhere, because they don”t have the money to spend for even a simple movie.

The young and the elderly are the two groups in America who suffer the most. They are the ones we look away from. They are a reminder of what the GOP, the Grand Old Party have done to the Americans who were not born into or worked their way into the 1%. Rich Philanthropists give away millions everyday and some of it might even go the the people who need it. Much of it goes to organizations and their executives and not to the homeless and hungry.


The GOP would have us believe that in this country, if you aren’nt rich, you are a slacker, a lazy bum. Our children coming home from war, who have risked their lives and come back to American soil physically and mentally and emotionally injured and scared are overlooked as well. We don’t want to see them because their suffering reminds us that we sent them to other countries to fight in wars.


What can be done? Well, we can get out and vote. Not just in Presidential elections, but in all elections. We can take off the blinders and see who is suffering around us and act. Write to your Congressmen and Senators. Go to your poling place and vote in November for the candidates who care about the less fortunate. Democrats this means you too. We often don’t vote in the middle elections. We vote in the Presidential elections. We need to keep in place the Congress in our states and in Washington and in our states who care that the man living in the old run down house down the block is slowly starving to death. The Death Certificate will say “natural causes” and I say that we as a society killed him. The hungry child isn’t going to learn enough to improve his/her position in life. They will probably quit high school to find a minimum wage job to try to augment the family income. They may meet some other young people who are in a gang and really realize how little they have and how much others have. Then bitterness, anger and resentment begin to grow in their hearts. Gangs provide not only violence, drugs, prostitution and death, they provide people who care. Gangs use the term “homey” because the largest segment of society do not care about them and see them as a liability. We must change things here in America. Not just for the 1% but also for the 99%. The guy who chose to be a cop instead of a professional football player isn’t worth less because all he did was to save lives and risk his everyday.


So, I ask you to vote in our election later this year. Vote for the people who are decent and caring. Turn your back on the political machine that manipulates what happens to the people who live in our country. Vote for the women and men who are not dirty and don’t see politics as a way for them to get rich and to have the power they crave. Vote for the fairly rare politician who cares about the kids and the elderly. Remember we will all be elderly one day; how sad if your votes will leave you hungry or without being able to afford your meds. How sad if you can’t go and visit your grandchildren because the money for a plane ticket is more than the cost of feeding yourself for six months.



Vote this year to give everyone that opportunity

Vote this year to give everyone that opportunity


Comments on the News

I am doing something I have never have done before. But it is a bad day for news. I have to explain what I am feeling.

1. An American Jihadist got into a car bomb and was in the process of driving it into the Wichita Airport. A wonderful FBI agent somehow got suspicious. I didn’t hear anything about the FBI agent but I feel we owe him a debt of gratitude. Thank you for saving all of the lives that would have probably been killed. Thank you for your bravery.

2. We had another school shooting today. Another one in Colorado. A young man went into the school asking for a particular teacher. They got the teacher out. He shot two students and then shot himself to death. My heart breaks for the families and the teacher who must be feeling horrible. I feel terrible for the family of the shooter. How do you handle knowing that your child was able to plan and carry something like this out? It has been fourteen years since the first school shooting. Fourteen years of nightmares because we do not help people with mental health problems. Fourteen years because parents leave guns lying around. Fourteen years of kids not knowing how to handle their emotions, playing violent computer games and living with bullying, hatred and violence surrounding them.

3. My oldest daughter is a special education teacher in the South, in  one of the public schools, a kindergartner brought a high powered handgun to school today. If people have guns why do they not have gun safes? How could this child’s parents leave this gun around the house where the child could get this? I believe this is neglect and parents who leave guns lying around should be charged with neglect. It is neglect and they are responsible, not a five year old.

4. A sixteen year old boy was with his friends in his car, speeding and hit another car. His alcohol levels were three times the legal limit. He also had Valium in his system. He hit the other car and killed a whole family. Then, he fled the scene. Luckily there were witnesses. But a judge has determined that he was too rich to understand the consequences. No, I am not kidding. He will serve no jail time. His parents get to put him in a $450,000 rehab facility instead. Is this judge crazy? I think so. I don’t know how rich people raise their children but they have a responsibility to teach them right from wrong.

5. My three oldest grandchildren have been in a school lockdown multiple times. I am grateful that there was no shooting despite guns being present. Another of my grandsons who lives here in a suburb of Cleveland isin first grade and today was their first practice going into lockdown. I am glad they are practicing but it is a horror that it is necessary.

6. And the Republicans do not want to extend unemployment benefits. They are worried about a huge resurgence of the “Welfare Queen.” We just had the worst depression since 1929. These people aren’t lazy, our economy is still healing. Letting these families starve, loose cars and homes really shows how Compassionate Republicans are. Shame on you. Two weeks before the most important Christian holiday, a holiday full of love and kindness of spirit, and this is their response. I think hypocrisy is ugly and we need to be authentic instead of judgmental.

I grew up in the fifties and I am an old hippie. I never had to worry about anything when I was in school except for grades and tests. I walked a mile each way and was never in danger. So me and my arm full of books and my viola made the walk twice a day in perfect safety. I would never let a child do that today. It isn’t safe. School shootings, human trafficking and pedophiles have turned childhood into a possible horror show. I want young people to know life in America wasn’t always like this. There was a completely different energy in America when I grew up. It seems that no one cares anymore what kind of world we are making our children live in.

I do, and I believe my readers do, too.  We need to do something — write your Congressman or Senator, talk to your friends and neighbors, support responsibility.  And mostly, love the children.  All the children, of any race, creed, color, regardless of who their parents are, or if they have both parents, or one parent, traditional parents or otherwise.  All children deserve love, and we owe it to them to love them all.


This hate and intolerance is not the America that our Founding Fathers dreamt of and fought for 

Pearl Harbor

Newspaper headlines

Newspaper headlines

This attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii was a sneak attack against the United States.

This attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii was a sneak attack against the United States.

Pearl Harbor Raid, 7 December 1941 
Overview and Special Image Selection

The 7 December 1941 Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor was one of the great defining moments in history. A single carefully-planned and well-executed stroke removed the United States Navy’s battleship force as a possible threat to the Japanese Empire’s southward expansion. America, unprepared and now considerably weakened, was abruptly brought into the Second World War as a full combatant.

Eighteen months earlier, President Franklin D. Roosevelt had transferred the United States Fleet to Pearl Harbor as a presumed deterrent to Japanese aggression. The Japanese military, deeply engaged in the seemingly endless war it had started against China in mid-1937, badly needed oil and other raw materials. Commercial access to these was gradually curtailed as the conquests continued. In July 1941 the Western powers effectively halted trade with Japan. From then on, as the desperate Japanese schemed to seize the oil and mineral-rich East Indies and Southeast Asia, a Pacific war was virtually inevitable.

By late November 1941, with peace negotiations clearly approaching an end, informed U.S. officials (and they were well-informed, they believed, through an ability to read Japan’s diplomatic codes) fully expected a Japanese attack into the Indies, Malaya and probably the Philippines. Completely unanticipated was the prospect that Japan would attack east, as well.

The U.S. Fleet’s Pearl Harbor base was reachable by an aircraft carrier force, and the Japanese Navy secretly sent one across the Pacific with greater aerial striking power than had ever been seen on the World’s oceans. Its planes hit just before 8AM on 7 December. Within a short time five of eight battleships at Pearl Harbor were sunk or sinking, with the rest damaged. Several other ships and most Hawaii-based combat planes were also knocked out and over 2400 Americans were dead. Soon after, Japanese planes eliminated much of the American air force in the Philippines, and a Japanese Army was ashore in Malaya.

These great Japanese successes, achieved without prior diplomatic formalities, shocked and enraged the previously divided American people into a level of purposeful unity hardly seen before or since. For the next five months, until the Battle of the Coral Sea in early May, Japan’s far-reaching offensives proceeded untroubled by fruitful opposition. American and Allied morale suffered accordingly. Under normal political circumstances, an accommodation might have been considered.

However, the memory of the “sneak attack” on Pearl Harbor fueled a determination to fight on. Once the Battle of Midway in early June 1942 had eliminated much of Japan’s striking power, that same memory stoked a relentless war to reverse her conquests and remove her, and her German and Italian allies, as future threats to World peace.

–Naval History & Heritage Command

My father was traumatized by the attack on Pearl Harbor. I remember him showing me the newspapers with the headlines blazing with the news. He told me it was so hard for people to grasp. He told me that America didn’t want to enter WWII. Isolationism really was the public thinking. But the attack changed all of that. And history shows that for the rest of the world it would be a turning point in the war. Many good men died in Pearl Harbor. Some went down in their ships and are “buried” there. Those men and women who were killed that day are every bit as much heroes as the men and women who served and worked through the rest of the war to free the world. I remember my Father tearing up telling me about the attack. His family had immigrated to America, but he considered himself an American. He was not called up to fight but he followed all of the news of the day.  December 7, 1941, was a Sunday morning and the Japanese planes came out of nowhere and bombed all of the Navy ships as they were docked at Pearl Harbor. A veteran, any veteran gives up a huge piece of himself when he/she goes off to fight a war. “The Great War” was the last time that veterans came home to parades and pride for opening up the camps and letting out the Jews, Poles and Gypsies. They freed France and many men died.

My father was very upset by Pearl Harbor, but I didn’t understand why.  On 9-11, when we were once again attacked, I understood. It had happened again. My Father had passed some  20 years before, and I wish I’d been able to tell him that, now, I understood completely.

Air attack on Pearl Harbor

Air attack on Pearl Harbor

Old War-Dreams

In midnight sleep of many a face of anguish,

Of the look at first of the mortally wounded,  ( of that indescribable look, )

Of the dead on their backs with arms extended wide,

I dream, I dream, I dream

Of scenes of Nature, fields and mountains,

Of skies so beauteous after as storm, and at night the moon

so unearthly bright,

Shining sweetly, shining down, where we dig the trenches

and gather the heaps,

I dream, I dream, I dream

Long have they pass’d, faces and trenches and fields,

Where through the carnage I moved with a callous composure,

or away from the fallen,

Onward I sped at the time — but now of their forms at night,

I dream, I dream, I dream

—-Walt Whitman

Pearl Harbor attack

Pearl Harbor attack


With All Thy Gifts – Walt Whitman

With all thy gifts, America,
Standing secure, rapidly tending, overlooking the world,
Power, wealth, extent, vouchsafed to thee — with these and like of these vouchsafed to thee.
What if one gift thou lackest? (the ultimate human problem never solving.)
The gift of perfect women fit for thee — what if that gift of gifts thou lackest?
The towering feminine of thee? the beauty, health, completion, fit for thee?
The mothers fit for thee?

When the Founding Fathers had the idea of designing a new country, a democratic country there was much they couldn’t agree on. Their bond was a democratic country so far in concept from what they had previously lived under. They fought, argued, there was an illegal duel, but they respected each other. Hate and anger were not part of the energy that formed our country. There was slavery, women were essentially owned like property, they couldn’t agree about how big of a federal government they should create and states’ rights was an issue for many.

It is 2013. There have been many generations who have lived and died. Our government was the “great experiment” and like today it was not perfect. I love America but we have many huge problems that the Founding Fathers could not foresee. Women are still second class citizens and not legally equal. Racism flows like lava covering our country with hatred and anger which is destructive. The Founding Fathers could not  be expected to see what pulls at our country. Slavery they couldn’t come to a consensus on and thought later generations would work it out. We fought the Civil War for two reasons. One was to keep the Union whole and the second was to free the slaves.

Today racism is still huge. We have Chinese, Russians, Indians, Muslims, Buddhists, Afrikan Americans, Jews, Gypsies, Cajuns, Native Americans and Christians, and countless others. We are not all equal. We need to change this. We need to accept each other as children of the Beloved. We need to finally become what the Founding Fathers envisioned:  a government where we are all equal citizens. A country where judgement and condemnation no longer exist. A country where we live what we say. May it come soon and may we stop hurting each other. May we grow up and be respectful and accepting of all Americans.

Senators and Congress Representatives

“Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside ragin‘.
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’.”

― Bob Dylan.

Congress, we the people need you to stop all of the politics. It is fifteen hours until we default.  You are embarrassing us in front of the world. You are messing up the strength of America. And you are making 800,000 people suffer. They aren’t your neighbors because they don’t have your wealth, but they are your fellow citizens. The Constitution assures us we are equal. Yet you aren’t doing your job and you are still collecting your pay and receiving and using your benefits.

Our American Congress

Our American Congress

There are also the people effected by the government shutdown because the aftermath is trickling down. How will all of you be recorded in history?  Our future youth are going to be reading about you and your unpatriotic behavior in their history books Can you imagine what will be written about you. In my sixty three years I have never been this ashamed of being an American. I have been ashamed before. Take Vietnam for instance. Or Nixon’s clear lack of character and ethics.

I believe there is some racism involved. President Obama’s skin color isn’t an issue and if it is for you, then you are a racist and you will always find someone to hate. Racism is hatred and hatred tears apart all aspects of our society. This is not a civilized culture. You all may have forgotten what civil behavior really is. You have given our country a black eye. It isn’t too late to put your own special interests aside and do your job. Get our government open. The affordable health care act is law. The Supreme Court has upheld it. You are beating a dead horse.

These Founding men were radical and liberal.

These Founding men were radical and liberal.

Your time for getting even with each other, of obstructing justice, and teetering on the cliff of destroying our country is running out.  You are an embarrassment to the American people.  Make America strong again. Stop thinking about your own wants.  Think about the 98% who are really being hurt by your behavior.

OPEN UP OUR GOVERNMENT. OPEN IT TODAY. I vote and if you don’t open government, you will never get my vote and I know many who feel the same way.