Posts Tagged ‘politics’

You May Say That I’m A Dreamer…

September 6, 2017

 

Many years ago, I had a dream. I would take a child, most likely a little girl who had been abandoned by her birth mother and placed on the steps of an orphanage, and raise her with all the love and advantages I could possibly offer. That dream became a reality in 2001 when we brought our daughter home from China, where she had spent the first 13 months of her life in a welfare center near Nanchang, in the Jiangxi Provence of China.

She was beautiful, and even at a year old, she was verbal, pointing at animals and foods and saying their names in her native tongue. She was fiercely loyal, crying when her caregiver from the orphanage left her and mourning her departure throughout our time in Nanchang. Our pediatrician assured us that her inconsolable outbursts, despite the discontent of the other hotel guests showed that she was able to bond and that she would in time, bond with us as well.(She did.) She told us that children who are able to thrive in the worst of conditions are innately fighters, able to overcome the obstacles that appear in daily life. That these kids tend to have exceptional grit and rigor. She hit the nail on the head.

Throughout her life, our child has been a fighter. When faced with challenges, she says “bring it.” When faced with adversity, she confronts it, sometimes with tears, but ultimately with strength and resilience. She adds value to our lives in a way I could never express, but even more importantly, she adds value to her community, through hard work and service to others, and will no doubt contribute to society as an adult.

Today, as I read that our president wants to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) my heart breaks. I remember sitting in that dingy room in John F. Kennedy airport in New York, holding my squirming and crying baby after a grueling 20-hour flight to her new home, listening to the cacophony of languages around us as we waited to be allowed to bring our immigrant child into this country. A few months later, the government issued a ruling that children adopted by American families during a specified period of time would be granted automatic citizenship. Our daughter was issued an American passport and no longer needed to use her Chinese issued papers and green card for identification. There is no official record of her birth.

She has lived the American dream; one where she has access to a loving family, a safe home, abundant food and clean water, a top tier education and the opportunity to be the best version of herself possible. Other than the fact that her parents are Americans, how does she really differ from the “dreamers’, some of whom may have been in that room with us on that very day at JFK when we brought her home? How does she differ from those who share that same desire to achieve, to rise up above their humble beginnings and fulfill their greatest potential? How bland of a country would America be, without our rich tapestry of cultures that weave together a society filled with bountiful flavors, styles, music, and customs?

Yet with the stroke of a pen, our president can take away the life these people dreamed of when they came to America. He can order nearly 800,000 young people back to their former homelands. Many of these people are living productive lives, whether they are working in our kitchens, picking our food, serving in our military, or tending to our health. These are the dreamers.

You might say that I too am a dreamer. I dream of a world where people are treated with respect and dignity and granted the opportunity to contribute to society in a way that is uniquely theirs. I dream of a world where we are judged solely by our actions and not by our race or religion. And I wake up to the realization that my child, had there been a very slight twist of fate affecting her parentage, could now be facing deportation back to the country that shunned her in the first place. And that is a nightmare.

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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When Did Politics Become A Religion?

August 10, 2017

 

Politics have become a religion. Wait a minute, hear me out on this one.

If religion is defined as a set of beliefs held with ardor and faith, than today’s political climate is definately religious.

Whether a Democrat or a Republican, people hold so tightly to their beliefs that any challenges to those ideals are completely shut down, often with a vengeance.

Those who defend our current president, will do so without limits. He himself once said that “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.” He appears to be right on that account. While currently only 33% of Americans approve of the job he is doing, those people will defend his every move, however outrageous, or treasonous it may be, as they devoutly believe that he is the savior of the American people.

Those who dislike the current administration will not budge on their conviction that he is going to ruin our country, and that everything he, or his advisors say is should be considered egregious.

The two factions hold on to their theories for dear life, not open to even considering that the other side could be correct. They believe what they believe, and like religion, it is not to be questioned or challenged.

The extensive array of news sources provide fuel for our fodder. Where the major networks and newspapers were once the only trusted sources, there are now tens of thousands of papers, websites and opinions out there to choose from. Suddenly, we pick and choose our facts, based on what we want them to be. Lies? “Alternative facts” are what we call them now.

I remember when we were first about to become parents, I concluded that if you read enough baby books, you would find one that agrees with the way you want to raise your child. Co-sleeping or sleep training; time outs or more time together; whatever feels right to you is correct, and you can find a so-called “expert” who wrote a book to tell you that it is the best thing to do for your child’s well-being.  Politics have become the same way.  Whatever you want to believe happened, there is a news organization which will tell you that it is what “really” happened. From the lips of our chief executive, to those of our “trusted” newscasters, we embrace and accredit the reports we choose to believe. You can almost always find a story that will take either point of view, right or wrong,  if you look hard enough. And if you can’t, just read the comments and there will be hundreds of rude attacks condeming the article and anyone who might agree with it, in an often not so eloquent manner. (Tip: You will be perceived as more intelligent if you don’t have spelling and grammatical errors in your rebuttal.)

Oh, and if you can’t find a way to defend someone, just trash their opponent. It’s a great distraction when you don’t have a leg to stand on, but aren’t willing to accept the reality of what is being said. You can even call them cute little names, like Libtard, and Snowflake.

Politics and current events are unfolding before our very eyes. We don’t need to rely on information from a book written thousands of years ago to guide us through it, yet many are not willing to let go of their beliefs, to react and respond to what is happening in realtime. Jews rarely become Christians, and neither group tend to become Muslim or Buddhist. It’s not how they were raised, and it doesn’t conform to their doctrine.

In decades past, politics were black and white. They were factual and explainable, whether or not you agreed with the decisions being made. Now, politics have become a chosen belief system that guides one’s morals and values on somewhat blind faith. Just like… religion.

photo: Glasshouse Images 

 

 

 

 

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Quiet Amidst The Storm

January 25, 2017

 

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It is no secret that we are living in challenging times. Whether you are in support of our current administration or not, it’s pretty rough out there. My social media feed has been filled with articles containing facts, opinions, and “alternate facts” since the Presidential race got underway last year. Every post is met with a long thread that evolves from agreement, to hideous accusations from “friends” and total strangers alike. And you know what? It’s debilitating.

We, as a country are so divided that we can no longer carry on a conversation, without it exploding into accusations and vitroil. I as an individual, am done. I haven’t changed my views, I haven’t crawled under a rock shielding myself from news stories, and burning issues. I have however, decided that I am going to refrain from commenting on things more controversial than eating pickles with peanut butter. (Verdict: GROSS!)

Everyday, I find myself respectfully defending my views only to be attacked. Yesterday, I found myself in a nearly 1000 comment thread about the inaugural cake. Let that sink in a moment, before I tell you that it got pretty ugly. In a time that the world is in turmoil, people took time to argue over a cake. A CAKE! I fell down that rabbit hole, and came back a little bruised from the journey.

And not commenting isn’t making it that much better. The things I take issue with continue to be there. The things others take issue with are blamed on us “liberals” and “special snowflakes.” Each individual action, is now attributed to an entire group of people, who didn’t do it, and don’t condone it, yet whatever political affiliation that the guilty party belongs to, now owns their misdeed. The constant verbal attacks over absolutely everything are becoming overwhelming. The name calling, the assumptions regarding one’s intelligence, and the outright bullying of those with different views has got to stop. And until it does, I’m not going to play.

Sometimes I am so riled up, I feel like I can’t breathe. Sometimes I am so shut down, that I just want to pull the covers over my head and hide. This can’t be healthy, for me or for anyone.  So I am taking a little break, and sticking to discussing issues that are far more benign than those with a political bent. Which apparently means pickles over cake, unless the President or his family hates pickles, in which case, it’s all fair game.

In a year that has divided us so, I look at the beacon of light that is before me. Last Saturday, millions of people came together to protest, and bring to the forefront issues that are meaningful to them, that our current administration doesn’t agree with. While the public shouldn’t need to protest to have our leaders represent their points of view, perhaps, in some really twisted way, all of this discord is in fact, bringing us together. We can only hope.

In the meantime….Indigo 0ut.

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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Haters Gonna Hate

November 22, 2016

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A Facebook friend from my childhood posted what she thought was an innocuous yet extemely deragatory comment about Michelle Obama’s current Vogue cover. It incited a dialogue that was both bitter, and frightening at the same time. Those that agreed added their two cents in the same defamatory way, and those that disagreed practically ripped her head off. As I read the comments, the small voice in my head kept repeating,” don’t engage, don’t engage.” Yet, regardless of your political bent, she made a comment that was demeaning, rude and wrong on so many levels…about another woman who didn’t do anything to invite this vitriol.
I silently followed the thread throughout the evening, and picked it up again early in the morning. A few people commented to say goodbye, as they unfollowed her forever. A few encourged her. The only thing that was consistent was the hatred. This was not about reasoning, or objecting; this was two factions that were so fed up with one another, that they said exactly what they thought, without sugar coating a thing. I finally caved and simply stated my mantra that Michelle herself instilled in me a few months ago: “When they go low, we go high.”

Minutes later, the post was deleted.

I think of myself as open minded and reasonable. I am liberal, and believe in the rights of all people, regardless of race, color, religion or sexual orientation. I believe in being a good person, and doing the right thing wherever possible. I want to accept that others have opinions different from my own. Yet, all of this hate is getting to me. It’s giving me a stomach ache that won’t go away. It’s causing feelings to well up inside me that are full of fear, and frustration. And finally, as each racist, homophobic, xenophobic and misogynistic cabinet appointment is revealed, those feelings inside me are starting to resemble hatred. And that frightens me even more.

Yes, I do hate that we have just set ourselves up to be a white supremacist society that has no filter in how we deal with others. Even our new first lady to be, who has decided to stay in New York, seems to want no part of this sh*t show. Yes, I do hate that you supported this behavior and are doing nothing to stop it, as it spirals out of control before your guy even takes office. Yes, I do hate that suddenly you are smug and spewing rude comments as if it’s ok because our future president does it too. It’s not ok.

I am sorry Michelle. I don’t know how much longer I can continue to go high, when so many around me on both sides are going so very, very low.

Each day, I take a deep breath, and try to remind myself of the good things in life, and to live in the moment, because as the Jews in Nazi Germany can attest to, it can change for the worst in heartbeat. And all indications are that we could easily be headed in that direction.

I believe in free speech, but not in hateful, hurtful speech. Please take a minute to think, before you speak or post a comment that might inspire hateful rhetoric, and demand it from others. If we all did that, it would be the first step in coming together to keep America great.

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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Taking The High Road

August 1, 2016

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Lately, it seems like people are going out of their way to use their notoriety to hurt others. Celebrity feuds on social media are so prevalent right now, with everyone publicly airing one another’s dirty laundry. It only takes 140 characters to assasinate one’s character these days.

We are also in an election cycle, so the nasty-grams seem to be magnified tenfold right now.

Politically speaking, I am not interested in hearing why I shouldn’t vote for your opponent. Don’t fill my newsfeed with reasons why they aren’t the right choice. Instead, tell me why you are the better option. Tell me about your skills, your passion and compassion, and your brilliant ideas to make the world a better place. We are bombarded with slanderous comments, onerous fact checking, and then dispute over those facts if they don’t suit our personal viewpoint.

All this comes on the heels of Kim Kardashian posting an authorized recording of Taylor Swift telling Kanye West that the lyrics he wrote about her in his then yet released song “Famous” are fine to use, after she publicly took offense to them when the song was released. Since, the Twitter-verse has explosively taken sides, even starting a hashtag inviting readers to the #taylorswiftisoverparty. Why would we, or anyone else for that matter, want to celebrate someone else’s demise?

Even a week later, the war rages on, with other celebs joining the fray and continuing to perpetuate the onslaught. Perhaps Ms. Swift did give her ok for Kanye to proclaim “ I made that bitch famous,” or perhaps she didn’t. It still doesn’t make it acceptable to drag her through the mud and make her walk on hot coals for the rest of her life. The joy people are taking in seeing someone with a flawless track record fall from grace is appalling. We no longer think about her talent, her music or her quiet philanthropy. Yet we dwell on her failed relationships and on a conversation recorded without consent (illegal in the state of California BTW,) that we have no right to be hearing at all.

When did we become a society whose personal value is based on the inferiority of others? When did someone else’s pain become a key source of our pleasure? Have we come to a place where we can’t accept culpability for our actions, and need to take down others to boost ourselves up?
I am quickly losing respect for politicians, celebrities and anyone else who needs to publicly bash others in a childish plea for attention.

As someone for whom I hold great respect recently said, “ When they go low, we go high.

Let’s take that advice to heart, and try to take the high road in our interactions for awhile and see how that goes. Who’s with me?

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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Washing Their Hands of It All

February 20, 2015

 

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The Republicans have long argued that there is too much government regulation in the world for their tastes. The latest “onerous” business mandate to be the bone of their contention is hand washing.

Republican Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina suggests that restaurant owners should have the option of posting signs saying ” We don’t require our employees to wash their hands when leaving the restroom,” in lieu of the current sign that does require clean hygiene.

First of all: Gross. Second of all: Doesn’t he  have anything more important to deal with? Third of all: Gross.

Proper hand washing protects us from the spread of fecal-oral pathogens which can contaminate our food. Allowing restaurant workers to have the option to transmit disease and infection to customers through poor hygiene is ridiculous and dangerous.

Tillis does acknowledge that hand washing is important, but feels it is the restaurant owners perogative to decide if they want to risk people boycotting their establishments due to questionable sanitation or not.

Is it just us, or is having to have a sign stating that employees didn’t wash their hands just as much regulation as having one that requires they do?

While this isn’t meant to be about political party affiliations, it is about politicians spending tax dollars to discuss policy that is ridiculous, unnecessary, potentially harmful to their constituents, and did we mention GROSS?

photo: glasshouse images

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Election Day

November 6, 2012

Sandy has come and gone, and for most, the worst is behind us. Our hearts go out to those who have experienced extreme damage to their property, or even death of a loved one. We were lucky. Loss of power for a few days is nothing, compared to what it could have been.

Tuesday represents another big challenge for all of us: it’s Election Day.

This election season has been more grueling than most. People have a lot of passion around their choice of candidates, and most are very vocal in expressing it.  It is hard to embrace the views of those who support the candidate we don’t, and in some cases there is a lot of animosity surrounding the issues. The candidates themselves have been embroiled in a fairly nasty campaign, with spending on negative advertising being more in the forefront than either one of them telling us what they can do to effectively, and positively change the lives of the American people for the better.

I for one will be happy to have this behind us, at least for a few more years.

Regardless of your choice, it is critical that you get out and vote.

New York is expecting an unprecedented LOW turnout, due to hurricane related issues. While they are trying to set up polling places to accommodate those in devastated areas, those who were affected the worst are less inclined to make the effort right now. While that is understandable, it is even more critical than ever that we all get out and make our opinions count.
If you don’t vote, you might just end up spending the next 4 years with a government you are unhappy with. The election is close, and every vote counts this year. Please exercise your right to be heard, by getting to a polling place and casting your ballot.

Happy Voting! May the best candidate win…

photo:Glasshouse Images

Boy Scouts: Placing a Caveat on Family Values

August 10, 2012

The Boy Scouts has been an institution in American life for decades. Many boys have worked through the ranks of Scouts, earning badges, taking oaths and gaining life skills. The group, which strives to produce responsible, morally upstanding young men, also has an anti-gay policy.

It is absurd to think that a group dedicated to teaching integrity, teamwork and leadership, would choose to be so closed minded and exclusive.

Recently, a group of adult Eagle Scouts, the highest and most prestigious rank in Scouting, has renounced the organization by returning their much-coveted award.

On the Tumblr site appropriately named “ Eagle Scouts Returning Our Badges”, letters to the Boy Scouts of America are featured in protest of their discriminatory policies.

One former Eagle Scout so eloquently refers to his hard earned medal as “…a faded, tarnished symbol of outdated thinking, prejudice and intolerance.”

I have proudly attended the Eagle Scout ceremonies of my nephews, and celebrated their accomplishments in achieving a rank that only a small percentage has the tenacity and drive to reach.  While I commend their achievements, it hard to support an organization whose values are so misguided.

The Scouts speak of being reverent, loyal and brave.

To be reverent, is to show respect. We should be teaching our children to respect others, regardless of their religion or sexual orientation. To be loyal, is to be supportive of your friends, regardless of your differences. To be brave is to stand up for your beliefs, even if they challenge the status quo. Sadly, The Boy Scouts of America are not teaching the values they stand for, when there are caveats attached.

Someday, our grandchildren will look back at this period of establishing gay rights with the shame we feel when we think about our ancestors forcing blacks to sit in the back of the bus, or prohibiting women from voting.

Our country was founded on the principles of freedom and equality. It is a shame that one of the groups synonymous with American family values would hold onto outdated notions of discrimination.

photo: Glasshouse Images 

The “Oops” Olympics: Going for the Gold

August 1, 2012

The Olympics are well underway, transfixing people around the world. While nothing of that scale can go off without a hitch, there have been some major gaffes this year.

Did anyone notice a strange woman in street clothes marching with the Indian team? Apparently the Olympic officials didn’t, until she was spotted in the midst of the group clad in jeans and a red hoodie, as they all marched in their bright yellow garb.

Security also proved to be a challenge, when the privately contracted firm hired to handle this, acknowledged that they could not provide the amount of guards they originally committed to. Thousands of military personnel, some just back from Afghanistan were recruited to fill the gaps.

When the women’s soccer competition kicked off, the South Korean flag was proudly displayed on the jumbo screen. Too bad the team was representing North Korea, who they are currently at war with.

Police accidentally misplaced the keys to Wembley Stadium, forcing them to have to change all of the locks at the football arena, after a team from Scotland Yard failed to find them.

While the list goes on, from televising rows of empty seats to misstating athlete’s countries of origin, none of these are quite as bad as some of the gaffes made by our very own Presidential candidate, Mitt Romney and his team.

Today, while in Warsaw, Poland, Mr. Romney was questioned by the press about some of his travel faux pas. His press secretary promptly lashed out saying,” Kiss my ass, this is a holy site for the Polish people. Show some respect.”

While the English are enjoying a little self deprecating humor and laughing at their mistakes, the Republicans will just do what they always do: blame it on the black guy that lives in the big, white house.

Yeah, I went there..”oops”!

photo: Glasshouse Images

Right To Life, or a Good LIfe?

March 1, 2012

With all of the “right to lifers” out there trying to control women’s reproductive rights, I am mind boggled by some conflicting practices.

If a woman wants to practice birth control by taking a contraceptive pill, some factions say that the employer, not the woman, should decide if this is reasonable.

If a woman, (or a man for that matter) wishes to adopt an abandoned child, conceived by someone who can’t or won’t care for that child, they are subjected to major scrutiny to see if they are fit. When we adopted our daughter, abandoned on a door step when she was a mere 3 days old, we were finger printed 4 times, had a social worker visit our home several times, and had numerous “child abuse clearances” run on us,to see if were fit to be parents.

The conservatives believe that life begins with conception, and that abortion should be made illegal, regardless of the circumstances. Women, in their eyes are ostracized for wanting to prevent or terminate a pregnancy, but not for abandoning a child.

Today, the tabloids are buzzing with the news that Snookie, the hard partying star of the Jersey Shore, is pregnant by her equally hard partying boyfriend. She makes a living out of being portrayed as irresponsible, self -harming, and indulgent. On the show she stays out all night, is promiscuous and has trouble maintaining relationships. She over indulges in alcohol and has recently lost a remarkable amount of weight by using pills, instead of a healthy diet and exercise plan.

So, if life begins at conception, is it too soon to alert the child welfare agency about possible endangerment? Do we have any reason to believe that she has been taking care of herself, and her unborn child? Do we think that she is fit to be a mother? Is it any of our business to be concerned?

Giving birth and being a parent are not mutually exclusive. Anyone with a functioning womb can get pregnant and have a baby. It takes love, sacrifice and responsibility to be a parent. It’s hard work that doesn’t stop at the end of the day.

How do we rationalize that it’s okay to be an unfit parent just because you conceived a life?

Perhaps we all should be required to be licensed to become parents, to ensure that we are willing to do what it takes to raise stable, happy children who will later make positive contributions to society.

Which is a better alternative: helping woman pay for their birth control pills through their prescription plans, or allowing irresponsible parties to become parents?  Permitting abortion, especially where health issues or rape is a factor, or having people shirk their responsibility to their child later?

Should we be discussing the “right to life” or the “right to a secure, healthy,loving life?”

Join the conversation: What do you think?

photo: Glasshouse Images


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