Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Poison in the Well

Colbert King beat me to it.  Yesterday I started ranting about the poison emitting virus to which a sizable number of citizens have been infected.
   There is a poison absorbing all the air in the room.  Naturally Americans have turned to look at this spectacle and some have sadly been infected by this poison emitting virus.  I hate to go full Harry Potter and take the "he who must not be named" approach but this virus is more than happy to proclaim itself wherever there is a microphone and camera.  In fact the virus is such a phenomenon that microphone and camera seem to follow wherever it's destructive path leads.
    The poison that spills forth has clouded the eyes and disoriented the inner compass of those in its grip.  What is presented as strength and resolve is just a viral masquerade for a power grab unlike anything modern Americans have ever seen.  These poisoned voters are being infected with vitriol and intolerance spewed forth and injected by this virus.
    The virus, while opportunistic and harmful, is actually not the greatest of our concerns as a country.  Of vital importance is addressing what has left a significant portion of our population susceptible to this virus and its poison.


Colbert King beat me to it.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

A Question of Trust

Elections come down to the question of trust, which candidate do you trust more?  Americans need to think about a more important question as they vote, which party trusts them?  Democrats have this paternalistic quality in which they want to "take care" of Americans with the unspoken theme that government knows best, particularly the federal government.  Republicans want Americans to take care of themselves as much as possible.

It's a question of trust.  Democrats view society's problems and their first impulse is to legislate them away.  Admittedly it is difficult to not want to take the reigns of society when there is so much chaos in the news.  It's incredibly hard to watch people fail and not do something to help them.  We have a social safety net with programs like welfare, food stamps, medicare and medicaid.  However our safety net has become sticky rather than springy.  It ensnares and entraps people rather than giving them a much needed bounce to propel them forward.  Democrats use this stickiness to their advantage and try to create fear in the electorate that something vital is being taken away.  What voters ought to fear is that their very self-respect is being eaten away with each silky thread added to this so called safety net.  Each tendril that appears to embrace us and shield us from supposed harm in fact wraps us and keeps us in this net, this sticky web of government dependence.    I don't think Americans ever would have supported these programs had they realized the supposed cushion that they were intended to provide would indeed be used to suffocate America.

Republicans are left to combat this image of being  the party that takes away when in all honesty they are the party that gives to America.  Republicans give to individual Americans the respect that they deserve.  Republicans give to each of us the trust that it is our individual rights that are upheld by a limited government.  I don't want to be sorted into any group by the government.  When it comes down to it everyone would like to be viewed as an individual not just a conglomeration of quantifiable attributes such as age, race, gender, or religion to name just a few.   I want to be trusted to use my own resources to help others in the way that is meaningful to me.

 I want to be trusted to fail.  I want to be trusted to fall down and pick myself back up and try again.  I want to be trusted to do that over and over again if necessary.  It's not that I have a desire to fail or that I want anyone to root for me to fail; I don't.   I want the opportunity to try and the freedom to try what I want and in the manner I see fit to attempt it.  Republicans have trust in the individual citizen.  They believe in me that I have the right to trust in myself and my God and to act according to my conscience.
Billy Joel - A Matter of Trust

Friday, March 09, 2012

Manners Matter

 My kids will tell you I'm obsessive about manners.  Did you say please and thank you?  Say excuse me or pardon me when you do x, y, or z.  The list goes on and on.  I comment on their tv shows to point out not so nice behavior.  In fact, i-carly is no longer welcome in our home, especially when I am within earshot.  Why?  Because of the rude side kick. 
Rudeness rules the day in our political culture.  Just listen to any talk show, tv or otherwise.  It's become perfectly okay to talk about others who disagree with your point of view with viciousness.   When it suits someone's agenda people are called out for their rude behavior and comments.  I don't think that one group in particular is more worthy than others to be protected from attack.  Sadly these attacks come from all sides.  We've stopped recognizing that the person on the other side has a soul, they are merely some label to be attacked.

You see rudeness on the playground and the internet and everywhere in between.    It's all about one upping someone else with a snarky comment.   We see it and laugh.  We think it's funny to watch someone get made fun of or laughed at.  A comment that has sadly made it's way into my kids' vocabulary is, " you got owned."   Aside from being grammatically incorrect, it bugs me on another level.  

The Emmancipation Proclamation happened more than a century ago to free American slaves yet somehow we let ourselves talk about each other in this way?  No, no matter how wrong I am or what stupid thing I do or say, nobody owns me.  I belong to Christ because I was made in his image and have a unique soul.  That is the only way I recognize being "owned".  That is the only way I want my kids to recognize being owned.  That is the only way I want them to see the world around them. 

I insist on manners because using courtesy recognizes the dignity of each person.   Manners acknowledge the soul. Not everyone sees it this way.  Some think of manners as a function of upbringing and a tool of snobbery.  Manners at their most basic are not a weapon but a universal language (albeit sometimes a function of culture when getting down to the nitty gritt details of personal space and eye contact) used to acknowledge each other's personhood, their soul.    The great commandment, do unto others as you would have them do unto you, predates any etiquette guide.   

Treating people with respect and expecting the same treatment in return is a powerful way to witness to the presence of Christ in all of us. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Message in an aisle

I was all set to go to Mass this morning but somehow I lost track of time and it didn't happen.  I thought it might be rude to show up during the homily.   So I went grocery shopping earlier than planned.  As I wandered up and down the aisles looking for a needed, or at the very least wanted, product to fulfill the 10 items for a bunch cheaper deal I ran into a mom I knew from ballet.   She informed me that her daughter might be giving up ballet for good because the bone has worn away in her ankle to such a degree that she will be having surgery to fix it.  Ballet is not for the faint of heart or weak bodied.   Her daughter is in 7th grade.  She has been dancing at the performing level for a few years and just got her pointe shoes.  She dances 4 hours a day most days and now she will have to go cold turkey.  7th grade and her bone has worn away.....I really can't fathom that. 

 It makes me wonder what road my own daughter is starting down with ballet.   She is only in 3rd grade but she has 3 classes a week.   She swings between loving ballet and not wanting to go at all.  Time will tell if ballet wins out over basketball, soccer, softball, and school plays.  I'd like for her to be able to take ballet just as a class to enjoy in its own right and not fall into the trap of viewing it as a stepping stone to professional ballet.    So very few make it that far......and the price they pay to travel that road is higher than I would be willing to pay. 

This mom's sad story was most definitely the warning sign I needed today.  I missed Mass but I think I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

bad morning / good book

This morning did not go well.  I let the kids sleep in because I thought they needed it.  Okay I let them sleep in because I was half asleep on the couch myself waiting for my cup of coffee to kick in.  Those 15 minutes were not worth it.    4 out of 5 kids surveyed this morning were grouchy, snappy, and accident prone.  One mother left to deal with these folks was not so pleasant herself.  Probably a candidate for help from SuperNanny.

After dropping them off at school and vowing to go back to bed I picked up one of my partially unread library books.  Positive Discipline For Children With Special Needs  by Jane Nelsen, ED.D., et al.  ( note: is that how you say and others in latin?)  Looking in the front cover I see that this book is actually part of  a series of books on Positive Discipline. 

I grabbed this book from the library to begin with because I am at my wits end with my DD #2 who is taking out her frustration with school at home on me and anyone in her path.   All who know her tell me she keeps it together all day long at school but she gets home and is a screaming mess.    Which turns me into a screaming mess, and that's only me if we are lucky!  I also have DD#4 who has begun kindergarten and also in the same boat  for similar reasons. 

So I am going to try this book's advice out and be done with time out in the traditional sense.  I'm off to buy a bean bag to give the future offender or should I say "child with the mistaken goal" a place to chill out and calm down.   I"d better buy a big one because I'm pretty sure this person might be me.    Can't wait to tell the kids, " mommy's going to Alaska" and then plop myself down.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Big Mistake in Newsweek 9/12/11 issue

Okay so this is a week late.  The Sept 12, 2011  issue of Newsweek had a glaring mistake in it.  They identified Todd Beamer one of the many heroes of flight 93, the "let's roll" namesake as Scott Beamer.  Yes, they renamed him as they tried to honor him.
Page 11 of this issue lives up to it's title NewsBeast,  Under Who We Admire is where the mistake occurs.
"The first heroes of emerged in the first moments of the tragedy: Scott Beamer and the passengers of United Flight 93..."
   Hmmm, the stranger thing is that I've heard nothing about this error. Not even a mention in the next issue.  Has Newsweek become irrelevant?  Nobody noticed.  It's akin to someone talking to themself in the corner while the party rages on. 

I still have my subscription but I wonder why when I have to take pains to hide it from the elementary readers in my house.  I don't think Tina Brown passed down the memo that profanity isn't edgy but rather shows a  lack of vocabulary.   That's bad enough but now I will definitely think twice as I read and wonder, did they get the facts right? 

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Above the law in Arizona?

The fight in Arizona over a law proposed to enforce federal law that requires non-citizens to have proper documentation should be insulting to law abiding citizens and non citizens alike of any color. Since when are people above the law for any reason?

My heart goes out to any children of illegal immigrants hurt when their parents are inevitably caught when this law is enforced. I feel the same for children who are hurt, no matter what their background may be, when their parents break the law and are faced with the consequences.

We moan and groan about this being a cultural problem, this lack of responsibility toward ourselves and our families. However there is a fix, it begins with each person taking responsibility one choice at a time.