Tuesday, October 13, 2020

What Can I Do?

During my lifetime, the issue of climate change has arisen many times. In 1974, I was introduced to the idea supported by scientific research that there was a hole in the earth's ozone layer. This introduction also began the conversation that this hole in the ozone was causing the earth to warm and would cause drastic changes in our climate. The changes discussed included increases in temperatures prompting stronger and more frequent hurricanes, earthquakes, storm surges and fires among other things.

Over the years since that introduction, I have noticed a warming trend in New England prompting a change in winters. As a child, we enjoyed winters of snow sledding, ice skating and tromping through knee-high snow cover in our yards from as early as October in some years through March. In recent years, winters in New England have experienced less snowfall in fewer months with more rain. At least this observation is in my experience. I live in the Southcoast of Rhode Island now. In Massachusetts, where my son and his family live and where I grew up, they experience more snow than we do. I believe that overall the snowfall has also been lessened. Again, this is my observation only. Have you noticed changes in your lifetime that cause you to pause and reflect about the changes in climate where you live and across the United States?

Since that first introduction, reports of changes in our climate have been in the news a lot. Today, it is one of the most critical topics of discussion. Yet, our government does not act quickly enough in response to the changes. The current administration believes the whole idea of climate change is a hoax. Fires rages stronger on the West Coast every year; burning more millions of acres. Trump believe better forest management is the answer. What does forest management have to do with increasing heat, drought and winds? This year, those fires have made the air unfit to breathe. Communities are being evacuated and entire towns are reduced to ashes. Residents become homeless as a result.

Hurricanes are more frequent and have become stronger. As I write this, the storm names are up to Delta! We used up the alphabet letters! When New Orleans was devastated by Katrina in 2005, Texas by Ike in 2008, New Jersey by Sandy in 2012 and Puerto Rico by Maria in 2017, how has the Federal Government responded and helped those areas recover? Areas of New Orleans are still unlivable, and Puerto Rico was barely acknowledged. Instead, well-off individuals, Hollywood movie stars, and working men with boats and trucks show up to rescue stranded homeowners on their roofs to avoid being washed away. They deliver food and water. I believe in community help, but our resources are being drained every year in reaction to these (in some cases) cataclysmic events! Our country needs a plan going forward.

We need the Green New Deal. We need a shift of investment to renewable energy sources. That shift will create good new jobs. Workers will require training rather than unemployment to adapt to the new fossil-fuel-free environment. My grandson deserves to live and thrive breathing clean air and drinking clean water.

Here are some things I do to help:

  • I recycle.
  • I turn off lights when I'm not in a room.
  • I turn off the faucet when I'm scrubbing a pot or a dish.
  • I turn off the faucet when I brush my teeth.
  • I plan my trips out to reduce the need for driving. I have to drive to grocery stores.
  • I reuse my single-use plastic bags for dog poop. During COVID-19, stores no longer have recycling bins for these.
  • I wash my zip-lock bags and reuse them.
  • I wash straws and reuse them. I had a supply of plastic straws I reuse, and have since purchased stainless-steel straws.
  • I shop locally for food.
  • I support small, local farms and vendors as much as possible.
  • We have solar panels by taking advantage of a government program that offered a discount.
  • I discourage litter and pick it up as much as I can. Litter is just human carelessness.

What are you doing to help? Please think of things you can do. Peace.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

#Me Too

On NPR this morning, On Point was taking callers about this hashtag that has blown up social media this week. One expert said women haven't spoken up much before Hollywood actors did after Harvey Weinstein was fired because, "After all, nobody was hurt so what's the big deal?" The expert was referring to an attitude expressed by mostly men, but by some women as well to sexual harassment in the work place. I was moved to write this post because I am appalled that in 2017 we are still having this discussion!

Sexual harassment of women has been a "norm" my entire life! Why must Hollywood actors speak out before all women are heard on this issue? I think nobody listens because this unacceptable behavior is ingrained in our society at its core. Our human society is still dominated and mostly run by men. Are some men also sexually harassed? Yes. But, compared to women, those men are a drop in the proverbial bucket. I don't mean to demean their experience, but my focus here is on a woman's experience because I am one and I also wrote, "#Me too", on my Facebook Timeline. And, sexual harassment occurs mostly against women. Period.

Here is a very benign example of sexual harassment. Harassment as a label for this behavior is extreme, because it is accepted and nobody is "hurt" by it. Do you watch the television game show, Wheel of Fortune? At the end of every show, the winner is escorted to the stage mark to try winning the last round by Pat Sajak. Mr. Sajak takes the hand of every woman winner. He also will touch her back or shoulder. He never touches male winners. (This may be disputed. I never SEE him touch male winners.) He certainly never takes a male winner's hand. He holds his hand out to a male winner directing him to the mark for the final round. Why doesn't he direct female winners to the mark in the same way? What would happen if Vanna White took the hand of a male winner, or touched him in every show? Would that behavior be viewed differently? If so, why?

In my opinion, women are being demeaned on this show by the very act of Mr. Sajak taking their hand, without consent, to escort them to the stage mark. Women allow him to take their hand because it is an automatic response from childhood. Plus, they are being viewed by millions of people on national television. What would happen if just one women did not take Mr. Sajak's hand? He doesn't offer it for her to take. He just takes her hand as if he has a right to do so by virtue of his celebrity status. The woman knows he won't hurt her, but he is patronizing her on national television! He is treating her like a child. Men are not treated like children on that show in the same way.

Taking a woman's hand in this manner is a subtle, non-verbal cue that, like so many others, are deeply ingrained in our society as acceptable behaviors. In truth, they are not acceptable. They are a symptom of the very big and grave problem human society continues to experience when females are treated as "less than" males. And, these subtle, acceptable behaviors are why the majority of women don't speak up. They will be called a "bitch" or a "whiner", and opportunities will be withheld as a result, just like punishments of childhood days. Do males kiss female politicians on the cheek as an almost automatic response? Yes. Do they kiss male politicians? No. Maybe in Europe, but certainly not in the United States. Both shake hands, but with females, the lean in close for a peck on the cheek is also considered benign behavior. I say this unequal treatment of females and males is discriminatory and should be abolished.

Every female should be treated exactly like every male in formal situations. I am not talking about interpersonal relationships between friends and family members. Certainly not. I am talking about colleagues, acquaintances and strangers taking my hand, touching my back or shoulder, or kissing me without my consent. I can't tell you how many times in my past working life, my male boss leaned against my back with his erect penis as I took dictation and tried to ignore what was happening. This leaning behavior is not subtle at all, but is a power play that defers very little control to the secretary or other powerless female trying to keep her job. Being required to deliver legal papers to my boss at his home and have him answer the door in his underwear is another example. Unacceptable.

I will admit, however, that during the days of asserting my equality, and as a joke, I did yell across a work parking lot, "Nice ass!" to a male I did not know well who was leaning into and helping a good friend with her car. We all laughed, but there is another example of unacceptable behavior. I contributed to it to assert my equality. I am not proud of what I felt I needed to do in order to be considered equal in a male-dominated work environment, but I did whatever I had to do to not just survive, but to thrive and succeed. I was a single mother, and I needed the money. I grew up a "tomboy", so I was used to dealing with boys.

I taught myself how to be more assertive by reading, taking workshops, talking with other women (and men), and experimenting. There is a difference between being assertive and being aggressive.
If a woman is assertive, she is viewed as being aggressive and uncooperative (and unattractive). She is called "a bitch". If a male is assertive, he is viewed as being aggressive and powerful which is very attractive. He is treated like a hero. Aggression in women is not desirable in our society, and is shunned at almost every attempt. I see some change in this regard, but not enough. Not by a long shot. Aggression in men is almost a requirement to gain respect and power from male peers. Gaining power over another human being is the game being played here. The action to display that power play is just a symptom.

Thoughts create words. Words create actions. Actions create change. Let's continue (for some begin) to change our thoughts about inequality, our words to describe acceptable behaviors related to equality, and our actions that result in insult, violence and chaos. Little changes create big differences. It's past time we as a society considered changing what has always been considered acceptable behavior or speech. All that is required is an acknowledgement that there is a problem, and mindfulness to change our words and deeds. No little feat I'm afraid. But possible and doable.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

"...with liberty and justice for all."

These words were meant for all Americans, not just one segment of our human population. As children in my generation and earlier, we Pledged Allegiance to the Flag every morning before our school day began. Because of the continued perceived need for the "separation of church and state", this tradition has been abandoned because of the words, "under God". Our flag continues to be revered as the United States' symbol of Liberty. It is 2016. The Pledge of Allegiance was written 124 years ago. A lot has changed since then: women won the right to vote, slavery was abolished, gay marriage was legalized, and a new gender is being considered. Planes were invented, women worked in factories, drinking booze was legalized, marijuana was recognized as having positive medical uses and that use was legalized in some states; cars were invented six years before the Pledge was created, nuclear power was created and bombs were dropped on Japan. We the People are a creative, powerful and resilient force to be reckoned with. But, in 2016, our "people" remain unequal in the eyes of our government. Our government remains controlled mostly by white men: "White men make up 31% of the population, yet they hold 65% of elected offices in the United States.

My point here is that in the last 124 years, our interpreted societal principals have grown beyond a society created and controlled mainly by white men. Women and people of color are now recognized for their contributions to the creation and prosperity of our great country. It required all of us to nurture our country's future, and allow it to thrive. Not just one segment of our society. Yet, that segment is the one that gets all the credit, even today. It's time for credit to be granted where credit is due. When credit is acknowledged, fair and equal payment for services rendered must also be granted. Equal rights and access to opportunities must be allowed for everyone. For all United States citizens! "...with Liberty and Justice for All!" I understand that we are all immigrants, except of course for the Native Americans who lived here first (0.7% of the population in 2010, including Alaskan Americans).

European white men landed here with their families and stole the land from its original inhabitants. They were uninvited immigrants who stole their right to call themselves natives.Truly? What is the difference between what happened then and what is happening now? The difference is that We the People are stronger now than the natives were then. We may be stronger, but we have no less control, and therein lies the problem. We want ultimate control over who has the right to come into this country and live here. Do you really think building a wall between us and Mexico will keep out illegal immigrants? I watched the Showtime television series, Weeds. There are tunnels...

When one tries to control anything, the less control one has. Controlling illegals coming into this country is as difficult as trying to stop humans from ingesting alcohol through Prohibition, or from ingesting illegal drugs by encouraging them to "just say no". My point is that our government is always reacting to and trying to legislate human behavior. Legislating human behavior is impossible. We are a very creative race. We will always figure out a way around a law or a rule. "Rules were made to be broken." I am not saying rules are not required in society. With so many individuals populating a piece of land, rules are required to attempt to enact some semblance of civility. Attempt is the operative word here, though. No attempt is 100% foolproof or successful. We are attempting to attain 100% success in immigration control. That goal is just impossible. What compromise can we entertain then to make population control and resource management in the United States reasonable and fair? That is the question to be debated.

We have a statue in Manhattan that is a symbol of Freedom for all immigrants. "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,..", it quotes. Is this invitation no longer relevant in 2016? If so, then the statue should be taken down. But, how could we do such a thing? All our ancestors looked to it with hope for a new and better life. How is this desire different today? It is not. That is the point. We can no more build a wall to keep people out of our country than we can decimate the Statue of Liberty and what it has always stood for. We must adjust and adapt the outmoded rules of immigration, to allow for the needs of today's immigrants. Desperation causes illegals to flock across our borders. It is this desperation that should be addressed. It is a human feeling that cannot be regulated, but the circumstances of addressing it can be. At what point does a country's leadership determine the country to be "full and incapable of accepting new residents"?

Today is International Women's Day. During February, we celebrated Black History Month. Why do we the people feel the need to single out two segments of our society in this manner? In 1976, the bicentennial of the United States, President Gerald R. Ford said the country needed to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” I interpret this statement to mean, "we white men brought them here, they contributed, we ignored that contribution." The theme of International Women's Day is "Everyone - men and women - can pledge to take a concrete step to help achieve gender parity (Gender Parity Index) more quickly." This socioeconomic index measures the relative access to education of males and females.

There were about 125.9 million adult women in the United States in 2014. The number of men was 119.4 million. Whites constitute the majority of the U.S. population, with a total of about 245,532,000 or 77.7% of the population as of 2013. There are 62.6% Whites when Hispanics who describe themselves as "white" are taken out of the calculation.  Blacks constitute about 12.2%.

What does all this mean and what am I trying to say? We the People are a complicated race who create complicated problems that require complicated solutions. There is no single bandaid large enough to cover or fix the problems we create. We must, for once, realize and attempt to address those complicated problems and try to find the solutions (plural) that would address the majority of them, realizing that we cannot legislate human behavior. We are all of one race: the human race. Humans come is two genders, female and male. Both genders are equally required to contribute to the success of any society. Therefore, those genders deserve equal pay, equal access and equal opportunity for success. Those genders come in many colors. They believe in many different things in different ways. God has many faces and exists in many forms under many different names. Humans dress is many different ways depending on the climate they live in and the culture they created.

The bottom line of the human race, though, is that we have primal common denominators driving all of our behavior:
  1. The need for healthy food, clean water, clean air, clothing and sturdy shelter against the elements.
  2. The need to procreate and nurture.
  3. The need to be creative, express that creativity, and develop useful skills to develop our bodies, minds and spirit.
  4. The need to believe in something greater than ourselves alone.
  5. The need for community. Our race does not thrive in solipsism.
  6. The need for freedom of choice and expression.
  7. The need to protect itself, its family and its property from all aggression and perceived harm.
  8. The need to express Love: to feel loved and lovable; to be accepted and appreciated; respected.
  9. The fear of death and dying. (I believe that those who believe only in a Life beyond death do not fear it, and therefore do not fully live a happy, fulfilling life on Earth. These are the self-proclaimed martyrs of the world.)
  10. The fear of rejection and abandonment; of feeling "less than" (someone or something else). Feelings of powerlessness and hopelessness.
I believe these ten driving forces are the most powerful. I'm sure someone else could come up with others. Many of these needs cannot be legislated, and require approaches that encourage, rather than discourage; enable rather than disable. Competition is healthy, but cooperation is more effective when creating societal norms and boundaries for mutual beneficial existence on Planet Earth. Finding common ground as a human race would create prosperity for all.

I am a woman who has struggled and thrived. I have broken some rules and bent many others, while considering myself a rule follower. I have made as many positive contributions to our society as I could reasonably see fit and remain true to myself, without jeopardizing my life or that of my family. I am a nobody. But my strength, will and humor are derived from some very strong ancestral nobodys; especially the females. I didn't understand quiet strength when I was younger, but I understand and appreciate it now. I am not as quiet as my mother was, but remain in awe of the strength she embodied that is the essence of International Women's Day in my mind. Quiet strength and determination are the driving forces of many great women we celebrate and honor today. (I do understand, though, that women are not the only humans who embody these attributes.) Happy International Women's Day! With love from my heart to yours.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Where Do I Fit Politically-Speaking?

I have been spending much more time than usual watching the news lately because of the 2016 Presidential Election. I hear and see lots of anger and frustration being broadcast, but I won't get pulled into the drama. The drama being played out right now, though, has caused me to look inward and determine where I stand politically today.

As a teen, I remained consciously ignorant: I was having fun and didn't care about the Vietnam War or Watergate, other than my male friends were "over there", and I cared what happened to them. When the movie, All The President's Men came out, I realized what I missed and was embarrassed. I began to pay attention, and then became much more active and outspoken. The birth and life of my social consciousness lasted for decades, culminating in a run for local public office in my hometown of Newton, Massachusetts after attending a lecture by Geraldine Ferraro at the then Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She said that if you wanted to get involved politically, you must begin your journey at the local level. Over time, after my welcomed failed run for Ward Alderman when I realized I would have been "a lamb to the slaughter" because I am much more of a "what you see is what you get" kind of person, I changed from a leftist optimist into a centrist skeptic.

I have become convinced that when in office, Republicans and Democrats behave similarly. The rhetoric promoted during a campaign has little to do with what happens once an elected candidate gets in office. The game of politics is a much bigger system than one candidate can affect. It is a system of "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours". I saw this behavior locally, and it just exists on a grander scale federally.

While watching Chicago Fire on TV the other night, this reality was played out. A good guy fireman is encouraged to run for local political office, especially after witnessing how the incumbent Selectman misused funds the fireman helped raise for victims of a local fire. During his campaign, a heavy-weight businessman wants to support him financially, ensuring his win, if he agrees to change and create laws that benefit him and his group. A local neighborhood gang leader gets him to meet with other leaders, and they will support him if he gets a street light removed from a certain corner. "I am not the candidate you want," he tells both parties. He quickly realizes that he must learn to play the game if he wants to win and affect the kind of change that will benefit "the needs of the many over the needs of the few or the one". So, while shunning the funding of the business leaders, he agrees to try to get the streetlight removed once in office because he witnesses what the drug dealers are willing to do to secure their "corner". He says he will only do this, however, if the drug dealers agree to move their location a block or so away from the front of the school, so students can feel safe to attend. He realized the existing system was bigger than he was, and required him to play along if he was to affect greater change if elected.

While watching the debates, I also realized that I don't know what each political party stands for anymore. I hear the rhetoric, but what is the party line of each? I decided to find out and see where I stand. Here is what I discovered. I found a site that did a comparison of four political parties of my choosing: Democratic, Republican, Libertarian and Green. I will outline what I agree with in each:

Ideals and Philosophy: (D) Promotion of community and social responsibility. (R) Belief in a limited government. (L) Promotion of individual liberty in personal and economic affairs, avoidance of intervention in other nations' affairs, and free trade and migration. (G) Belief in grassroots democracy. Promotion of environmentalism, non-hierarchical participatory democracy, social justice, respect for diversity, peace, and nonviolence.

Issues (support only): (D,L,G) No abortion restrictions. (R) Capital punishment. (R,L) No Civilian Gun Control [Me: Law-abiding citizens should be allowed to have guns. I do take issue with the need for automatic weapons in a civilized society though.] (L,G) Drug liberalization. (R) Immigration Restrictions. (D,L,G) Legalization of Same-Sex Marriages. (D,L,G) Limiting Private Financing of Campaigns. In truth, I'm not sure how I feel about this one. Campaigning in this day and age is very expensive. I don't see us going back to knocking on individual doors in a federal or state campaign, for example. Logistically, candidates knocking on doors is only viable at the local level. I did it and lost six pounds! (L,G) Non-interventionist foreign policy. I do not believe we should be the "world police", but I do believe we should intervene in cases of genocide, aka, Nazi Germany. That said, I also believe we should never "go it" alone. We should solicit collaborators from other countries to join us in any foreign campaign we believe is necessary for the preservation of the human majority of innocents victimized by warring aggressors. (D,G) Progressive Taxation. I believe the system of percentile taxing based on "taxable" income is a good one, but loopholes should be limited to allow fairness across the board. I believe tax credits are necessary, and tax breaks encourage good will. But, loopholes allowing those who can afford high-powered lawyers to find ways to allow some to not pay taxes is just wrong, and should be eliminated. Taxes to fund society are necessary. The question is: how much do we really need to fund our society? Who is asking that question? There is no "free ride" in my book, and nobody gets everything they want in life. Not in real life anyway. (D,G) Universal government health care. I am split on this one. I have not been the recipient of the Euro-style of universal health care, so I cannot speak to the benefits or the liabilities of that system. I do know that when a person without health insurance goes to a hospital emergency room, that person is treated anyway. Who pays the bill for this? We do in increased insurance premiums across the board. I would rather pay for what I know than what I don't know. That said, premiums and deductibles should be affordable, and good medical access should be fair for all. The cost of medical care has increased exponentially. What is the cause of this? And, I know that now that I am on Medicare, it takes longer to get a needed test than if I had the insurance policy I had when I was working. This situation is just not right.

I'll stop here, but I encourage you to go to the site I linked above. The site details each party's stance in detail and is worth the read. Find out where you stand.

Where does this leave me at the polling booth? I am a "butter over guns" gal. I believe in the power of non-violence, aka, the philosophies of Jesus, Gandhi and Martin Luther King. But I learned how to shoot a gun, and would use it if I had to defend my home and family. I believe in accepting personal responsibility for word, action and deed. I believe everyone should invest in their own life at some level. There should be no "free ride". The cost of living should be fair and affordable for all. Equal opportunities must be available to everyone. The cost of education should be reduced and/or made affordable to provide fair and equal access for everyone who wants one, especially a higher education. Public Schools cost too much, and are no longer adequately providing a good education for our children to allow them to compete for high-quality jobs later on, or use their brain and God-given talents/skills in creative ways. Charter Schools should be privately funded with access to special government grants, like any other special interest group/organization/institution.

I believe that as a human race on this planet, we should be finding common ground to ensure we all thrive, survive and have a healthy home to pass onto future generations. There are enough resources available to take care of everyone. If those resources were fairly distributed, no one would feel deprived or lacking. Without deprivation, there would be no need for greed, selfishness or aggression. I believe in the mantra, "Think Locally, Act Globally."

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The 2016 Presidential Election

This is the first election in a very long time that has caused me to engage in some level of debate. I am uncomfortable putting my political thoughts out there because my skin has become thin (not just due to aging), and I don't enjoy the haters looking for a head to lop off. I do not spend a lot of time reading about politics or listening to the media skew the issues. In my mind, the media only help politicians breed fear and paranoia, and I cannot allow those thoughts into my psyche. They get in anyway, but I don't need the flood causing me to panic, like I see so many voters doing right now.

My political views have drifted over time from extreme left to middle. There are no candidates who represent me and my views. So, what do I do when I think about entering the voting booth? This year, I have tried very hard to keep an open mind. I vote as an Independent (or Unaffiliated as it is called now). There have only been a couple of elections where I truly got to vote across many party lines. I have become an advocate of abandoning the two-party system, because I desire many more choices. The reality is that the two-party system is the one that rules this country.

People want to vote for someone who will "win", not for a viable candidate who could make a difference, even if that dream in this political system may be a fantasy. Voters love a good ideological fantasy, but our system is much more complicated and embedded with egotistical back-scratchers desiring only to remain in their jobs for that fantasy to live free. I have become cynical and skeptical. I used to be optimistic and hopeful. I resent being made to feel hopeless in the "land of the free and the home of the brave". I love America, and I wouldn't want to live anywhere else in the world. But, our system has become so big and complicated, our elected leaders over time have been relegated to fix it with bandaids only. As the popular singer, Taylor Swift, sang in her song, Bad Blood, "Bandaids don't fix bullet holes".

I vote in South Carolina. With the Republican primary coming this Saturday, our television viewing has been inundated with political ads. One new ad caught my attention: Willie Wilson. Who knew there was another Democrat running in this election? Dr. Wilson is from Illinois, and will only be on the electoral ballot in select states: SC being one. How is this possible? I guess I need to get educated about this process at a level I didn't know existed before. He is listed in a similar category to what "Pat Paulsen for President" once was. I read his biography, and decided he is exactly the type of person who should be running for President! But, he will never have a chance to win. So, if I were to vote for him because I think he should have a right to get a shot at the highest office as is the American Way, I would be accused of throwing away my vote.

I want a woman for President in my lifetime. I planned to vote for Hillary Clinton. But, with all the hoopla over her "mistakes" and ethics controversy, I searched for a list of the most controversial to remind myself what all the hateful talk is about. After reviewing a couple of sites, I had to be honest and say to myself that if a man did some of those things, I wouldn't vote for him. So, then, where does that leave me? She is the only candidate on the ballot on either side with all the requisite experience to actually do the job. She has paid her dues and deserves to be President. Finally, a woman who deserves to be President! But, I am conflicted about the ethical argument. I understand ethics has become a system of "levels and degrees", just as in all things. I also know that I have been forced to do some (what would be considered) unethical things in my life to survive as an unwed mother. The system made me do it. As a woman trying to succeed in a man's arena, questionable decisions and choices must be made. I understand that. I just have to decide the degree of tolerance I will accept with Hillary's choices.

Hillary is the only woman on the ballot now. But, Willie is a candidate I think deserves a shot. He has used the American system to overcome adversity and be successful. That's what the American Dream is all about. The problem is when a candidate's platform is a one-hit wonder, (s)he requires a team of knowledgeable advisers to help. I learned when I ran for Alderman in the city of Newton, Massachusetts, that endorsements are critical to get anywhere in any election. How then does a candidate like Willie acquire endorsements to get anywhere in this presidential election? I just gave him one, but I am a nobody. Therein lies the real problem. Nobody's won't vote for nobody's.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Half-time Super Bowl Shows

I just watched the television show, "Super-Bowl Half-Time Shows"; on CBS, I believe. They reviewed the history of Super-Bowl Half-Time Shows and their performers up to Beyonce and Bruno Mars. I left it frustrated they didn't think or deem to include Katy Perry's Half-Time performance.

Katy's Half-Time Show was mind-blowing. She took full advantage of the stage with superior special effects. I, for one, didn't know it was technically possible to do some of the creations she presented interpreting some of her songs.

In the TV show, I saw impressive and really fun shows with technical and performance perfection made sublime:Prince and Paul McCartney really connected with the audience with appropriate pomp and fire.  But, Katy's show raised the bar for half-time shows going forward.

Let's hope Chris Martin will do its 50th justice. I like his attitude going in, based on this same TV show (see first sentence in this post). I have just never seen a Coldplay performance that rocked me. They're good and fun, but they have never moved me. I guess I have high expectations for Super-Bowl 50, coming Sunday, February 7th on CBS. Larry and I will be driving towards DC. We'll probably be able to catch the finish at our hotel.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

"If it bleeds, it leads..."

Watching Sunday morning talking heads spin the 2016 Presidential election this early on, was a huge yawn. Talking about Democratic and Republican approaches of inclusion versus exclusion; continued focus on discrimination versus touting real freedom for all Americans is beginning to fall on deaf ears. Nobody believes these people anymore. Talk is just that: talk. Who is walking the walk?

An inspirational story followed: that of Lauren Hill. Nineteen-year-old Miss Hill was buried this week as a result of pediatric brain cancer after continuing to play basketball for Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati when she should have been in Hospice care. She was a hero, and a true inspiration for many. This story made me cry. It was sad, that's true, but this young woman's bravery touched my heart. That touch is what made me cry. I want to see more stories like this on the news and on talk shows. I'm sick of the bleeding that leads news stories. I just don't watch the news anymore as a result. I bet I'm not alone either. I want to be inspired.

In a world and a society that makes it easy to be sad, angry, hateful, or depressed, we need to be uplifted. We need to be uplifted because we humans are better than the dark side of our nature that leads news stories. In the upcoming Presidential election, I would like to hear how candidates will choose to inspire us instead. How will they move our society, and attempt to move our world, away from war, killing, fighting, violence and hate? How will they attempt to allay our fears? Fear is ruling both our society and the world today. The only way to reduce the power of fear is to focus on the "light" in our human hearts. That light is what moves human beings to do acts of kindness. The light causes us to be brave, and move through our fear. I'm sure Lauren Hill was afraid of dying, but her desire to be a warrior in support of fighting pediatric brain cancer was stronger than her fear of dying.

We are all stronger than the news portrays us. We are all better, kinder and more loving human beings than the news, movies and television choose to portray. Instead, we need to be reminded of our light side. We need to see many more examples of human beings acting out kindness, and demonstrating what true heroism is. Heroism isn't just displayed in war. It is acted out every day in each life all over the world. I want to see more focus on those stories. I want to hear Presidential candidates talk about heroism in their own lives. I don't want to hear anymore "party lines". I want genuine expression from candidates.

We need to hear about forgiveness, kindness; movements towards peace and prosperity for everyone. All human beings are included in the species, and as such we have the equal right to grow and be who and whatever we choose. As Americans, we chose Freedom as the ruling value of our society when we broke away from Britain's iron fist and crossed "the pond" to begin again. America still sets an example for the world of what Freedom means. But, America is losing sight of that meaning. We must get back to the reason we began again in the first place. This remembering is what History is all about. Brave, inspiring stories are the kinds of examples of what is truly possible, and is what I want to hear dominate "the" discussion. Those are the types of topics I want to see addressed if our country and our world is to move forward, and not continue to fall backward into times when fear dominated. When one powerful faction wanted only to control the masses for greedy and egotistical means.

Enough already. We are brave. We are kind. We are loving. Who doesn't love their parents or their children? Who doesn't love a good love story portrayed, whether it be between two human beings or a human and an animal or a bird? It's time to stop ruling the world with just our heads and our egos. It's time to begin to move more into ruling the world and our society with our hearts leading the way. Tell me about how you feel about the state of our society and world, Ms. or Mr. Candidate, and then tell me how you see us move more in that direction. Forward. Away from the fearful behaviors, thoughts and laws that have dominated politics all our lives. Who will be as brave as Lauren Hill, and speak about the light instead of the dark? Whoever is brave enough to speak in Light terms, will receive my vote. Who will join me?