theorangeinkblot

Looking at life through orange colored glasses…

Archive for the tag “current events”

I’m shocked that they’re shocked.

I was listening to the radio in the car this morning and heard spokespeople for both the democratic and the republican parties be interviewed in response to Super Tuesday election coverage.  The spokesperson for the democrats said he was “shocked” that Donald Trump was leading the pack of Republican nominees.  The Republican spokesperson said it was “shocking” that a “socialist” should have any influence at all over the Democratic party.   My response?  I’m shocked that they’re shocked.

For at least the past two or three decades, our two party political system has been  breaking down.  Our democracy is supposed to be a government “for the people, by the people” but the deeper we look into both major parties, the more it looks like a government for the corporations, banks, and lobbyists by the politicians who are completely out of touch with their actual constituencies.

Most of what we have heard from our elected leaders has been fear based rhetoric designed to convince Americans that whatever hardship has befallen them is the fault of the “other” party.  Politicians on both sides have lied, cheated, broken the law, manipulated the American people, filibustered, held secret meetings designed to keep their opponents in the dark, been obstructionist, and even shut down the government in the name of “protecting” the American people.

They are caught having affairs as they preach family values, their own teens have gotten pregnant as they pour millions of dollars into abstinence only education.  Our schools and education system have not gotten better, despite spending more per student that most countries in the world.  We are seeing increasing numbers of Americans suffering from decreasing levels of mental health with little to no money being designated to  mental health services for those who cannot afford private treatment.

At the hands of political hypocrisy and power plays we have watched thousands of American soldiers die; hundreds, if not thousands; of American children be poisoned with lead laden water;  and mass shootings happen on an almost daily basis all because politicians are more concerned with towing the party line and catering to the corporations and lobby groups that line their pockets than they actually are with speaking up for what they believe in and trying to address the issues at hand.

With each passing election, more voters have become more disenfranchised and feel less represented by their representatives.  For years, American citizens seemed content to play the blame game and just argue with each other. It seems, though, between wall street and bank bailouts, the government shutdown a few years ago (which nobody benefitted from), the non-stop arguing and tantrums of our congresspeople, and the current attempt to block the supreme court vacancy (and yes, the democrats have done the same thing),  our current politicians have pretty much shown that they do not have the best interests of Americans at heart and they are incapable of actually doing the job they were elected to do.

So should we really be “shocked” that we see a large percentage of voters gravitating away from the establishment candidates who will simply maintain the status quo and moving towards candidates that are at least laying their cards out on the table?  If our political leaders are truly shocked by this then they should really let it be a wake up call that the current system is not working because the current system, IS NOT WORKING!!!

I am not at all shocked that we have found ourselves where we are.  I am sad, disappointed, angry, and frustrated.  But I am not shocked.

Prayer as Action

In the wake of the terrorist attack in Paris this past weekend the twittersphere blew up with the hashtag #prayforparis.  This was quickly followed up by requests that people also #prayforlebanon, #prayforhumanity, and #prayfortheworld.  I saw other people posting messages of a different nature saying, “Paris doesn’t need your prayers;” “France doesn’t need more religion;” and “Don’t just pray- actually do something.”

I both identify and struggle with both sentiments.  As a fairly secular Jew, prayer, in the traditional sense, is not typically my ‘go-to’ reaction.  However, as someone who does lay claim to the Jewish faith, belongs to an organized congregation, and feels like it is important to recognize that there are forces at work in the universe that reach beyond my comprehension, I can understand why some people immediately turn to their higher power in times of darkness.

Within my internal struggle comes a rejection of the idea that to pray is to do nothing.  This rings especially true for me if I broaden the definition of what it means to “pray.”  Traditionally, prayer is generally defined as a direct communication between a person and their deity, and that can be a truly beautiful thing.  But, I think that prayer can be broadened beyond that definition. As I contemplate the events of the past week here is how I am defining and practicing prayer:

Self Reflection as Prayer

I am fairly vague when it comes to my own definition of a “higher power.”  However, I do have a very strong “G-d Voice.”  My “G-d Voice” is that little voice inside of me that speaks up when I feel very strongly about something.  It guides me in my daily decision making, parenting choices, and choosing how to put myself out in the world.  This past week, I have found myself asking my inner voice some important questions:

What kind of American do I choose to be?

I choose to be an American who remembers that our country is a country of immigrants; that we are the protectors of democracy and freedom.  I choose to be an American who knows that our diversity only serves to make us stronger.  I choose to have the courage to approach those who are different than myself with curiosity instead of fear. I choose to seek out factual information and not buy into media hype.

What kind of Jew do I choose to be?

I choose to be a Jew who remembers that our collective history is laden with our people being forced from our homes, cities, and nations at the hands of extremists and bigots.  It was not so long ago that Jews trying to flee the Nazi Regime were turned away at every border.  Brave souls who stood up to the extremists of that time were hard to find and propaganda was easy to buy into.  I choose to be a Jew who stands up for innocent people suffering at the hands of extremists, and who knows that the only way to fight the dark is to spread light.

What kind of human do I choose to be?

I was telling someone recently about the nice Muslim family who lives down the street from me.  My daughter plays regularly with their daughter in both of our homes or at our neighborhood park.  The person to whom I was speaking with wanted to know- how did I know that this family wasn’t just being nice to my face while they were actually thinking, “we hate Jews.”

I guess we can’t ever really know what people are thinking but I choose to be a human being that evaluates people based on their words and actions and not on what they might be (but most likely are not) thinking.  I choose to be a human being who tries really hard to not make fear-based, media inspired decisions.  I choose to be a human being who believes that our best chance at peace is to look deep within ourselves and identify and then work on our own fears and biases.

Right Action as Prayer

Nothing makes that little voice inside me sing louder than when I do something to help make someone else’s world a little brighter.  Doing a good deed- whether it is donating money, standing up for someone who doesn’t have a voice, or collecting food or needed resources for people in need, is for me, as close as I get to feeling like a spiritual being.

My daughter, who suffers from separation anxiety, likes to say, “mommy is a lighthouse,” in emphasis of the idea that a lighthouse can protect and guide surrounding ships from a distance.  I love this analogy and choose to take it one step further.  We can all choose to be a lighthouse- a beacon of light, calm, and dependability- helping to steer each other through stormy waters.

Gratitude as Prayer

For me, there is no better way to pray than by practicing gratitude.  If you are currently reading this, you are likely doing so on an electronic device that you are thankful to own, in a house you are thankful to live in, or at a job that you are thankful to have.  Life is not perfect.  We live in an increasingly scary world.  It is easy to focus on the negative, the scary, the unknown.  But I am trying to see the world, each day, through grateful eyes.

I am grateful for love, for stability, for peace everyday we have it.  I am grateful for the courage to write all of this knowing that there are many people out there who will disagree very strongly with what I have written and may have less than kind words for me.  I am grateful that I live in a country where people have the freedom to disagree with what I have written without fear of persecution.  I am grateful for the voices that are different than mine because they allow me to look within and clarify my own system of values and beliefs and to broaden my scope of understanding of the world in which we live.

Prayer is many things to many people and it is completely optional.  But I don’t think that prayer is akin to “doing nothing.”  If we pray in a way that leads us to a place of greater peace, self awareness, gratitude, and right action, then it impacts the way we put ourselves out in the world and better allows us to shine our own lights.

Until next time, I will be praying in my own way for peace, love, and stability for the world.

Just Stop Talking

Just Stop Talking

A Poem

Maybe we should just stop talking- after all, we disagree.

Should I even listen if you don’t agree with me?

When you say those things that go against what I’ve been taught,

It makes me feel these feelings: anger, sadness, and distraught.

 

When feeling these emotions there’s a strong need to defend

my position (which is right) so that you can comprehend.

After all, I must be right-otherwise that means I’m wrong.

How could that be true when my feelings are SO strong.

 

And yet you are the one who thinks you’re clearly in the know.

It seems there’s nothing left to do but argue to and fro.

It doesn’t really matter WHY you’ve come to hold your view-

though if you were to share that I might think of things anew.

 

If you haven’t shared it’s probably ’cause I haven’t asked.

But if I asked that question I might find myself off task.

The task, of course, at hand is to convince you that I’m right

(and make you feel quite foolish that you haven’t seen the light).

 

This might make you angry- you may even think it’s rude

which explains your coming at me with a pissy attitude.

Now you’re storming off because you say, “Enough’s enough!”

I can’t understand why you must leave in such a huff.

 

I was only pointing out the errors in your thoughts.

People are so touchy when they’re not calling the shots.

They Have to Be Carefully Taught

A lot has been written and said in the days since George Zimmerman was acquitted of shooting and killing Trayvon Martin.  I have been reading and listening to a lot of it- voices from all sides weighing in on why the jury made the right or wrong decision; network analysis of the trial; interviews with a jury member; blog entries; the presidential address, etc.  I have heard people blame “bad” Florida laws and say that the killing of Trayvon Martin had nothing to do with race.  I have been listening, and reading, and thinking but have remained decidedly quiet on the topic.

Now, I’m ready to share what I’ve been thinking about.  I want to say too that what I am sharing is merely my opinion, my thoughts – not specifically about Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman, but about race in general and why so many people are so uncomfortable talking about it, especially in mixed company.  I want to raise the issue of how we talk (or don’t talk) to our children about race and how dangerous our silence is.  You are welcome to agree or respectfully disagree with me and maybe we can even have a productive, honest conversation about a very important subject matter that is not going away any time soon.

This past week I have been reading, Nurture Shock: New Thinking About Children, the 2009 non-fiction book written by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman.  Especially in light of everything that is being written and said about Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman I found myself fascinated by Chapter three, “Why White Parents Don’t Talk About Race.”  The authors cite a 2007 study in the Journal of Marriage and Family which found, “that out of 17,000 families with kindergartners, 45% said they’d never, or almost never, discussed race issues with their children.”  However, when broken down by race, the number of white parents who said that they “never, or almost never” talked about race with their kids was 75%- almost three times the number of nonwhite parents who answered the question the same way (pgs.51-52).

The chapter also discusses another study, conducted in 2006 by a doctoral student named Birgitte Vittrup from the University of Texas who specifically recruited Caucasian families with children ages 5-7, to research whether or not watching children’s videos with multicultural story lines have any beneficial effect on children’s racial attitudes.  One group in the study was not given any videos to watch but was asked to raise the issue of “racial equality” with their children for five consecutive nights.  Five of the families in this group left the study altogether.  Two of the families told Vittrup that they did not want to point out skin color to their children (pages 48-49).  The reasons that the other families dropped out of the study were not provided but there is an underlying assumption that their reasons were similar to the other families who withdrew.

I have been thinking about these studies.  I was surprised by the statistics and the anecdotes in this chapter.  Could it be that parents are worried that talking to their kids openly and honestly about race, that by bringing up the subject of skin color, it could cause their children to become racist? To me, the idea that by not talking to our children about race they will not notice or think about race (whether positively or negatively) echoes the largely non-proven argument that by talking to kids about sex and birth control they will be more promiscuous.     As a Caucasian parent, I thought I was having the right kinds of conversations about race with my children.  We talk frequently about everyone being equal despite race, religion, sexual orientation, nationality, etc.  I tell them to not judge a book by its cover, and that skin color should not be criteria used to choose friends.  We have talked about the Civil Rights movement and slavery and about brave people of all backgrounds who fight for equality.  All this is okay- I don’t think they are bad things to talk about.  But I am realizing that it is not enough.

I have believed for a long time that children have to be carefully taught to hate.  But it is not enough to simply refrain from using derogatory terms or sing the praises of Martin Luther King, Jr.  I think that for some Caucasians talking about race forces us to admit that we are not where we thought we were on this issue.  That we don’t know as much as we should know and that we are not doing as much as we should be doing to move our nation forward.  There is a discomfort in acknowledging that there is a disproportionate percentage of minorities who are socio-economically disadvantaged and that our criminal justice system works largely in favor of light skinned people with financial means.  Most people do not like to think of themselves as racist in anyway.  But I will be the first to admit that my being a progressive and open minded person does not mean that I do not have work to do.  I have been one of those Caucasian moms who sit around a table with other Caucasian moms and talks about how lovely it is that our children are “blind” to the skin color of their classmates.  As if “color blindness” is really the ideal or as if we actually have any idea as to what is actually going on inside our children’s heads.

I was reminded of this a few nights ago while reading to my daughter.  We were reading the story of a Jewish family many years ago living in a shtetl somewhere in Eastern Europe or Russia.  There is a picture in the book of a little boy entering his school house and the question posed to me by my five year old was not, “why aren’t there any girls?” but instead, “why is everybody white?”  (So much for color blind.)  I was surprised that she asked this question, but I was excited too because it gave me an opportunity to raise the issue of race in a different way than I had in the past.  I started out by talking about how some countries, some cities, some towns, are more diverse than others and that there are places in the world where the majority of the people have similar skin tones.  Then, I took it a step further.  We talked about how sometimes people don’t get to choose where they live.  For centuries, Jews were pushed into little geographic areas because the rest of the population didn’t want to live among them because they were different.  I told her that this still happens today with lots of groups of people, sometimes based on skin color, for the same reason.  We discussed how sometimes people are afraid or uncomfortable around people who look differently from themselves, or have different religious beliefs.  I asked her to share with me what she already knew about this kind of thing.  My five year old daughter told me that she knew that there was a time in our country that it was against the law for people of different skin colors to be friends or marry each other and that it wasn’t right.  Then she said that she knew there will still places around the world where people did not have equal rights and that this wasn’t right either.  She also told me that she was glad we lived in a town where everybody did not look the same.

This conversation still may not have been perfect but it was definitely a step in the right direction.  I learned that my child is thinking about these issues and that she is observing everything that is going on around her.  She is trying to make sense of the world and figure out how she fits in.  We have to do more than just not teach our children to hate.  We have to take advantage of teachable moments, we have to let our children hear us speaking out in the face of injustice, we need to answer their questions as honestly and thoughtfully as we can and we need to ask them how they feel about these issues.

We also have to ask ourselves why we do not want to talk about this.  What is making us uncomfortable?  What is holding us back?  We have to ask ourselves what our silence tells our children- what permission are we giving them to not care if we give the impression that we don’t care.

There’s more to be said- so I’m going to end this by saying, to be continued.  I need to regroup and think some more about all of it first.  In the meantime, I welcome your thoughts.  We need to be talking about this if we hope to make any progress at all.

Maybe what we need is a little less tolerance and a little more empathy…

When I was in high school, my mother took me to see ‘Dancing With Wolves.’  As the theatre lights dimmed and the opening credits appeared on the screen my mother (who had pre-screened the film) leaned in towards me and whispered, “Don’t get too attached to the horse.”

I have always been one of those sensitive souls who seems to feel the pain, joy, sadness, and frustration of others, whether they are a real person, or a fictional animal.  I cannot watch Dumbo without crying because I am imagining that I am the mommy elephant being separated from her baby.  When I saw Monster’s Inc., I really felt the fear of a small child who is afraid of the monsters in her closet.  Despite my overdeveloped sense of empathy (which is at once my best and worst quality), I feel that in general, there is a lack of empathy in this country, which is impeding our ability to move beyond rhetoric and unite as Americans.

It’s important to not confuse empathy with sympathy.  There seem to be a lot of folks out there who ‘feel badly’ for the situations other folks are dealing with.  Sympathy can be a good thing, don’t get me wrong.  Feeling sympathy allows us to feel compassion for others and can lead us to show mercy or extend a helping hand to a person in need.

Empathy goes a step further.  When we feel empathy, we vicariously experience the feelings and thoughts of another.  Through empathy, we can put ourselves in another set of shoes and allow ourselves to step outside our own reality and experience the reality of another individual.  The reason that empathy is so important, in my opinion, is that it allows us to let go of bias and judgement and see a person or an issue from a multi-faceted and broader standpoint.  When we think about an issue or a person from a broader standpoint, we gain a broader understanding of that issue or person.  A broader, more complex understanding of an issue or person, allows for more variables, and requires us to think more deeply (even if it makes us feel uncomfortable for a little while).  Thinking deeply is what opens ourselves up to deeper levels of learning, understanding, humanity, and puts us in a place where we can we can talk about our differences without feeling threatened by them, and potentially come up with some solutions.

I have heard people say that empathy is something we either have or we don’t.  That it cannot be learned.  It does seem to come more naturally to some than to others.  My older daughter, despite being extremely sensitive and emotional when it comes to her own feelings, has tremendous difficulty putting herself in someone else’s shoes, while my younger daughter who is more stoic about showing her own emotions, constantly surprises me by her vicarious responses to the emotions of others.

Whether or not empathy is learned or something we are born with a natural acclivity for, trying to better understand where individuals are coming from- especially individuals with whom we disagree on things- is an area where we can all strive for improvement.

We hear a lot in the media these days about tolerance.  It seems that there is always somebody writing or speaking about the need to be “tolerant” of each other’s differences.  When I hear somebody asking me to “tolerate” somebody else, it really rings of being asked to “humor” them.  We tolerate (or don’t tolerate) behavior from toddlers and puppies, and other entities that just don’t know any better.  Showing “tolerance” doesn’t seem to move us any closer to understanding each other.  Nor does it seem to bring us any closer to creative solutions to difficult issues.

I would rather see people trying to empathize with each other- put ourselves in each other’s shoes, imagine ourselves being raised by each other’s families, with each other’s values.  Think about how our own individual histories and stories have brought us all to the place we are today.  We are products of our life experiences and we all have value and validity.  We are never going to look at the world in exactly the same way.  But if we can expand the way we look at the world, and think about issues in a less dualistic way then it gives us a lot more room to search for common ground and work together to find solutions to the problems that affect us all.

 

The ‘Sanctity’ of Marriage

Lately, we have been hearing a lot about ‘the sanctity of marriage.’ In particular, there seems to be grave concern that if same sex couples are allowed full marriage rights it will result in the complete desecration of the institution of marriage. But while people banter about the phrase ‘the sanctity of marriage,’ I’m not sure that many people have actually sat down and thought about what it means to them and their own marriage or partnership.

When I looked up the definition of “sanctity” on dictionary.com, I found the following definition: “condition of being inviolable.” Just to be sure, I looked up the definition of “inviolable.” It reads “secure from destruction, violence, infringement, or desecration; incorruptible.”

Considering the divorce rate in this country, it is funny to me that the words sanctity and marriage go together at all. (Not to mention the number of people to choose to remain in an unhappy marriage.) The act of getting married in no way guarantees a happy, successful partnership. It’s not even a guarantee of love. There are too many people who get married for the wrong reasons, and so many factors that can cause a marriage to be unhappy- infidelity, abuse, jealousy, resentment, disagreements about money or child rearing, lack of affection, dishonesty, miscommunication, etc. – that it seems to me instead of talking about the sanctity of marriage, we should be talking about the vulnerability of it.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t know of too many marriages that are completely ‘inviolable.’ Marriages are made up of imperfect people, and like life itself, marriages are fragile. It takes a tremendous amount of bolstering and nurturing by both partners to have any chance of a marriage both being happy and having longevity.

Instead of spreading nonsense about how allowing everyone equal access to marriage will result in the legal union of a man and his toaster, perhaps people should be sitting down with their own spouses and partners and focusing on what they are going to do to strengthen their own relationships. As far as I am concerned, the act of simply being married (whether or not the wedding takes place in a house of God) is not enough to make a union sacred.  If it turns out your marriage is one of the 50% or more in this country lacking in “sanctity”, you can be certain it has nothing to do with whether or not Greg and Gary or Lisa and Lucy can legally tie the knot.

Please Continue to Hold…..

I haven’t written in a while and there’s a reason why.

I have a kind of writer’s block

The minutes pass with a tick and a tock

As I sit and wait for my brain to unlock the words on which I rely.

It’s not that a topic escapes me-

it’s more that I can’t narrow down.

Should I write ‘bout religion?

Or nuclear fission?

I sit in my kitchen, my brain on a mission, my face twisted into a frown.

I could write on the subject of discrimination-

Gay or straight, white or black.

Freedoms under attack.

I am taken aback, by the way our words smack of judgment and condemnation.

Perhaps I should write about all things political

But political words are so shady

Dishonest, and often berating

And not becoming of a lady

or maybe I’m just being cynical.

There are plenty of “wars” that they show on the news.

Wars on women and drugs

Wars on terrorist thugs

And similar slugs.  Even wars on bedbugs

to name only a few.

.

So it’s not that my head is empty, it’s quite full

With news of the day

Close to home, far away

Try to rise ‘bove the fray,

to sort truth from the bull

But when so many thoughts swirl around at one time

There’s a clog in my brain

Like you’d find in a drain,

And I have to abstain from writing these lines.

Eventually chaos will give way to clarity.

The word dam will burst

I’ll be free of this curse

and I’ll jump in headfirst, quenching my thirst,

 enjoying this moment of rarity.

Because when I put pen to paper,

I want to evoke a response.

Whether or laughter or tears

Or thoughts of past years

Even sneers allay fears of cool nonchalance.

Dude, you’re harshing my buzz…

I have had a hard time writing my blog post this week. Usually, something happens during the week that reminds me of a funny anecdote from my younger days and I can fold the two together to create a little piece of literary ribbon candy.

This week, I have found myself too distracted to reminisce. I found myself witness to a bizarre traffic incident and read a couple of disturbing media posts that have left me feeling like much of the American population has substituted it’s cocoa puffs with coocoo puffs, or added a shot of ‘questionable behavior’ syrup to their extra hot, half caff, no foam lattes.

Let’s get caught up, shall we?

Thanks to a spark of surburban planning genius, the road leaving my neighborhood, merges with the driveway that serves as an entrance and exit to a shopping center. This was not a big deal when the shopping center contained a supermarket that few people shopped at and a vacant former Home Expo store. A few months ago, a certain discount superstore moved into the old Home Expo space and the parking lot turned into circus. The superstore could use a parking lot three times the current size, a concern which was raised by the residents of my county as soon as it was announced they were moving in. We were informed, however, by the county planning office that according to their city plans the parking lot and it’s entrance and exit “met county regulations” thereby alleviating them of any responsibility to, you know, check.

Since the store has opened, there have been multiple accidents in the parking lot, people can’t seem to figure out the traffic pattern, and then there was this bizzare incident:

The entrance and exit of the “superstore” consists of a traffic light and a divided (by a narrow mulched embankment) driveway. Exiting traffic stays to one side and incoming traffic is entering on the other. At least four times, I have seen exiting cars turn into the entrance lane, realize their mistake, and then have to back out (sometimes with incoming traffic barreling towards them) and turn into the correct side of the driveway. In this particular instance, an elderly woman trying to exit the parking lot turned into the entrance lane, pulled right up to the light, and sat there, waiting for it to turn green. A man parked in the correct lane, rolled down his window and tried to yell across to the woman that she was in the wrong lane. The woman either couldn’t hear him, or was ignoring him. The man, then got out of his car, walked across the embankment to the woman’s car and tried telling her through the car window that she was in the wrong lane. The woman looked terrified that this man was yelling at her through the window, as if he was about to carjack her Oldsmobile at gunpoint. After a minute though, the woman seemed to comprehend what the man was telling her (good thing it is a very long light). Even then, she just waved him off as if to say, “pish posh, don’t be silly” and went back to waiting. The man gave up and went back to his car. When the traffic light changed, and cars started coming directly toward her, she continued to sit there, while the incoming traffic (who luckily had been watching her from across the intersection for two minutes) drove around her, honking their horns and shaking their fists. When the outgoing light turned green, the cars allowed her go first, and then we followed, all equally puzzled by what had just gone down. Maybe I should have been able to just dismiss this incident as a random one-off. But I am still thinking about it. Was the woman simply confused? Did she have dementia? Did she feel that she had just found a way to the front of the line? Would she have taken help from somebody other than the man who tried to intercede? Should someone close enough to have seen her plates written down her license plate number and called the police?

Being that my tendency is to over think, my mind has been busy trying to dissect the above incident. Maybe that’s why my brain has been unable to comprehend the two stories I read about in the days that followed. One was about a Florida college student who died as a result of a marching band hazing incident (There is hazing in marching band??). The other was about a college fraternity that was suspended after creating a survey which asked men to choose which women on campus they would like to rape. (Really?) Both of these incidents are, in my mind, pretty disturbing. At what point, in either incident, did people allow themselves to think, “this is all in good fun.” Having spent the bulk of my career working in higher education, it saddens me to no end that even with all of the anti-bullying and anti-hazing initiatives and sensitivity training that has been implemented on college campuses, these incidents continue to take place.

On the other hand, should I be that surprised? Look at how our national leaders act publicly towards each other. Name calling, back stabbing, scapegoating and accusation throwing are all par for the course on the political scene. There are a plethora of bad examples out there who get plenty of air time from the media. Still, it is no excuse for poor judgement and hurtful behavior.

I find myself thinking that this truly great (but currently troubled) country of ours could use a voice of reason. Someone who does not have a personal agenda to push, or an election to win. Someone who could help us put our differences aside so we can again recognize the human qualities that make us mostly the same. Since a national voice of reason seems unlikely, maybe each family could appoint their own. Wouldn’t it be nice if in each family there would be someone who said that regardless of where we stand on any issue, perpetuating violence (physical or verbal) is not okay. Because I don’t think it’s just implied anymore. And that while none of us are perfect, we should try awfully hard to do no harm. I’m not talking about being “politically correct.” I’m merely suggesting that before we do something, we take a step outside our little box and look both ways to see if there might be larger implications to our actions coming down the road.

(P.S. Next week is Chanukah- always a happy and exciting time in my house. Hopefully, once I am in the holiday spirit with visions of latkes and dreidles dancing in my head I will return to my humorous, self deprecating, family teasing self. In the meantime, thank you for indulging me this opportunity to clear my mind. And a special thank you to my favorite clip art characters (the screen beans) for helping me out with my little cartoon.)

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