Monthly Archives: November 2016

Thank you Facebook, you’ve made an addict out of me. I look at you all the time and I wonder how I will relate to you in the future. You’ve also blocked out all the awesome cat and dog videos with opinions parading as facts.  Facts matter. Opions are interesting.  I’ve been unfriended and it hurts.

Truth be told I looked at my friend list yesterday to see who I might need to dump. This Trump-Clinton,  18-month “hell-hole” has left me exhausted and the pain of a Trump election has left me looking to create my own echo chamber. I had slipped into the “if you are not with me, you are against me, a$$hole thinking.” That’s a dark space I want to escape. That purge will not service my learning or our creating community well, so I looked over my “friends” list to find people who might be able to engage in a meaningful, spirited, but respectful conversation.

What I found is that nearly a dozen of my work, college and high-school mates have dropped me. I’ve been un-friended without warning. I will live. I don’t like it.  Not one goodbye, not one reason why. I’ll no longer get to see their kids, learn what motivates them or see what awesomeness they ate last night. I fundamentally believe that in getting to know people who are vastly unlike me and that have different opinions, I can grow- and so can they.  Without interactions with those that differ than me I remain stuck in my own thinking. I’m like wine – under stress and challenge, I produce a better fruit, we are a better vintage. Do I push for Blue States of America or United States of America?

There is much I want to say about this election.  There is much I will say. I am also, like many of you, stirred to action. Before I go to those spaces, the most important thing for me to say as white man is that I am sorry.  I have tried to combat sexism. I have tried to be an example of unlearning my own racism. I have tried to be an example of Christian faith that joins people of all religions into community rather than emphasizing our difference.  White men failed and I feel accountable. I am sorry and heartbroken.

My next post?  Facts & Opinions.  I’m searching for a way to engage my family. This passion reminds me of how annoyed my father Clovis would get when someone wouldn’t concede a fact. He’d get fired up a swear in French if someone couldn’t agree to what is a known fact.  I miss that. Today opinion seems to conflate with fact and there is an important difference.  More on that later. For now- again, I’m sorry. I’m sad. I’m still your friend.

#unclerandy

Opinion http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/opinion

Fact: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fact

 

 

 

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My meditation word and work this year is “purpose.”  Last year it was priority. The year prior, patience. Next year and the subsequent years (until I am 50) are the words integrity, serenity and release.  My mantra- patience, priority, purpose, integrity, serenity, release. Wow. I have needed ALL of them. So have you.  Tomorrow many of the people I know, love and respect are going to be as equally afraid for what is next as I have been. I promise I will not gloat.

I am, however, hoping that given how stirred up this nasty-long and terribly horrible election cycle has been, we can collectively remember that we are the UNITED States and that we live in community.  Community means compromise.  I just hope our elected leaders can do it.

But don’t get me wrong. I’m done being politely quiet when I see folks repeating lies. You are entitled to your opinions.  You are not entitled to make up your own facts.

Please hold me (politely) to the same standard. I look forward to the respectful dialogue.

Mash up time? Lets remember how great America is by standing stronger together!

#unclerandyelection

Headlines? I have considered buying a gun more seriously now than ever. I have considered “unfriending” people I love. I have become so frustrated I lead with anger over compassion. I look for articles that drive me mad rather than ones that lift my spirits. I find myself wanting to prove others wrong and myself right more than I value keeping dialogue going. Truth be told, I’m exhausted.

Yeah, I get it. She’s not your cup of tea. But she’s mine. And…. she’ll get stuff done. She’s smart. She fights for her values. She cares about poverty, and children, and women’s rights, and good global citizenry. She’s spent 35+ years being criticized and blamed and maligned. She’s had to morph herself into the most palatable, yet least distasteful version of herself possible because of sexism, opportunism, her husband and her own ambition- and we blame HER for the end result? This hate-on-hillary fervor falls just short of the “she shouldn’t have worn that dress” (pantsuit) – argument. It’s crap. We made her. We are lucky to have her.

In the deep, dark thoughts of my own passion for “the American way” I have told myself I would turn to violence to protect it. WTF. From whom? To what ends? I fear what the “fear of Trump” factor is making of me. Yeah, I’m calling myself out so you don’t have to.

What surprises me more now is not how far Trump has made it, but how much I bought the current narrative. Hook. Line. Sinker. I’m a goddamed sucker fish. Trump is a monster. But do we have to sink to his thinking? Examples…

  • Our system it totally broken. No, no it is not. We are not ISIS. Yes, America still can do good and we still stand for shit that matters. Despite media though-control, we are still free. Mostly.
  • All politicians are liars. Nope. That is actually a lie. Many suck. The system is flawed. We are too entrenched in positions but there are many, many people in public service that still believe in the higher ideals of the Republic, our Democracy and the democratic process. This whole balance of power thing we have- yeah, that’s pretty cool. Congress needs to grow up, but the Executive and Legislative Branches – that stuff is working. Have you read a full supreme court decision recently. All sides of the arguments. Those are some smart, smart people. Let’s add another justice and get out of their way.
  • Republicans are morons. They suck on the teat of Fox News.  Democrats are communists, hypocritically praying at the altar of MSNBC. Nope- I’ve let the stereotypes of the one define the group and all that is called is bigotry. I’m not proud, but I own it. We have more in common that we do that divides us

If you actually have read this, you are probably exhausted. So am I. I want so much more from my experience of America, but I’m slowly realizing that I can’t get it from the comfort of my couch, from behind the safety and the soft-glow of my various screens. I need to be part of the conversation, part of the solution.

I think we need a constitutional congress. Or we need a shut-up button when the village idiot spouts lies and we cower from telling them we actually only care about facts. We (I) need to take a real hard look at what we need today rather than looking back nostalgically at what we interpret our founding “fathers” felt we needed then. Times have changed. We need to as well.

But the path must be one of non-violence. This goes beyond the physical. In 2016 that should be a no-brainer. My desire to call up arms, to grab a gun and fight should be seen as irrational and irresponsible because it is. My nephew-in-law inspired me recently. He posted, “Like a lack of gun control, lack of tongue control only becomes an issue when we have gone too far and killed the character of the nation.” My husband commented that so too has Twitter and the lack of Thumb-Control. Brilliant. Words are the new weapons behind which many cowards hide.

I am not saying that times are not tough. They are. But we have first-world, American problems and we can fix them by sticking to what makes us special, together.  One Nation. Indivisible. Lets not let Trump convince us otherwise. Really. Let’s make America great again by remembering what we already have… community, integrity, social justice and UNITED states. Make America great? It already is.

#unclerandy

 

For the first time in my adult voting life I am afraid, mostly for our republic, democracy as a system and the loss of the American dream. I fear more stagnation among our leaders. I fear violence from Trump supporters when Clinton wins. I fear that Donald Trump could win, and if he does, I will no longer believe in America or a good half of her people.

Let’s start with things I believe to be true.

  • We are not nearly as divided 0r as different as our politics, media and leaders say we are. I believe good reason and getting to know someone else creates connection. Connecting and compromise can solve big problems.
  • Fundamentally our political system works. Most people in government right now fail to compromise and are not doing their job.  Washington is mostly broken.
  • Most Americans are feeling pinched economically and the consolidation of power and wealth into a small minority is the root cause. This is no different than the industrial revolution and the robber barons. I own one of these mythical small business that run America and we often feel like we are being run into the ground by America. We can fix this. I call for a break-up of monopolies and a break-up of wealth consolidation within the top 1%
  • Corporate interests in politics has failed democracy. Citizens United must be overturned.
  • Civil unrest, civil war is a possible outcome. Civic and discourse are a simple solution but seemingly impossible to achieve. Media outlets must return to facts.
  • Facts exist and matter.
  • By choosing an obstructionist position years ago Republicans have created this mess and now don’t know what to do with it. Democrats have lacked the backbone to stand up on principle and have muddied the waters by trying to game the system. Playing a dirty game because it is there doesn’t make you clean. The two-party system has failed, we need a constitutional congress.

I cried the other day when discussing all of this with Chris. Yeah, it is that upsetting. He and I both grew up on the east-coast being taught about civics and the birth of America an ideal- that the “idea of America” was equally as important as the system of American democracy. I grew up believing in a system where fairness, honesty, compromise and reaching for common good trumped personal gain. The current election calls into doubt some of the very fabric of my political belief-system and that is unsettling. Very, very unsettling.

We are poised to potentially elect a man who lies, is a rampant sexist, racist, and completely full of himself. He is proud of bankruptcy and shows no remorse for the harm cause on the working-class he has exploited. If you are voting for Trump, I believe some day in the future you will have a very, very hard time reconciling your actions. Hillary is not a perfect candidate, but I believe in her, she is qualified and she is the best the system has given us right now. She is the most experienced candidate we have ever had.

Here is one example of why I am even bothering writing this. Mostly no one will see it, so it is for me- I can get it off my mind (a little).  However, just yesterday President Obama called out Clinton supporters for booing a Trump supporter.  The President defended this man’s right to free speech, he applauded his military service and he asked the crown to respect their elders.  Not much later Trump cited the SAME INSTANCE but instead told his crowd that President Obama shouted down the protester. He flat-out lied.

Don’t believe me- here is the recording

http://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2016/11/05/obama-trump-protester-origwx-bw.cnn

That alone should disqualify him- but what is more disgusting is that he lied to a group of mad, hurting people looking to hold someone accountable to the challenges they are facing. So his lie TRUMPS up the anger, adds fuel to a fire of discontent and gives his supporters more “facts” supporting their belief that Democrats and Obama and Clinton do not hold their values. A whole section of our country has been fleeced and they don’t know it or lack the intellectual curiosity or time to discover it. Trump exploits that lack of knowledge.

Last month I said to Chris, “If Trump wins I want to move out of the country.” I mean it. If this is what the US has come to, I might want out. Canada, Spain, Portugal, Antarctica… here we come! Lately, however, I feel a fight. If Trump wins, we stay and stand up for Democracy. He is a tyrant and a bully and we can do better than that. I’ll do my part.

#unclerandy