Category Archives: democracy

Every Day Is Opposite Day

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Well, well, well look who is celebrating their 5th anniversary with WordPress. Ah, it feels like yesterday. 

Last year, in celebration of this glorious milestone, I posted an essay that is sadly more relevant today Weapons of Mass Destruction Have a FaceA big orange face to be exact.

So, here we are, one year later, with the shit literally hitting the fan. Oh, happy day … not.

In just 365 days we went from watching this country’s biggest hit reality show to actually being contestants. I’m just sitting here desperately waiting for this show to be cancelled. 

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2017: Every day is Opposite Day

The show, as I like to call it, is “The Opposite.” That’s right folks, we are all participating in a new reality where our host is the opposite of being honest, treating women or anyone else who isn’t white like people, speaking openly, confronting situations directly, having patience, and basically just being a good solid citizen. The Opposite is now leading our path. Where we’re heading has yet to be determined. 

In just a little over 30 days our host has brought several teams to the surface.

First, we have Team Merica. The bible thumping flag waving team who wouldn’t know the constitution if it were narrowed down to a bumper sticker, who take pride in naming at least two of the seven dwarfs, yet cannot muster up the name of a single Supreme Court Judge. They believe every alternative fact presented, including, but not limited to, our former president being a member of Isis.

The White Team is a sub group to Team Merica that includes well-intentioned educated folks who for whatever reason cast their vote. Some say it’s because he’s a businessman, others believed that he would “clean the swamp”, but most, in my opinion, did it because they were tired of a Democrat “giving away” everything they earned.

Next, we have Team Resistance. Not hired actors or paid by a 3rd party to participate. They are a feisty group made up of men, women, children, babies & dogs. They are taking to the streets to have their voices heard bearing signs, pussy hats, and passion for all that is good for the greater good. Their voices are speaking out for common human rights for all people. They are demanding answers from their elected officials regarding our planet, our healthcare, our animals, our freedoms, our sanity and OUR COUNTRY.

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Who knew different could be this bad?

Then we have Team Oh Fuck. This group really, really, really thought they were doing the right thing when they went to the voting booth to cast a vote for “something different” and now they sit quietly pondering the definition of “different.”

Next up, Hollywood. This crew brings money, glitter, glitz, glamor, a microphone and a stage to spread a message they feel should be heard. This group has members on all of the above teams.

Last but not least we have Wall Street. They bring money, mo’ money and of course, mo’ money, which can easily allow them to rule the world … literally. Just remember folks the lack of a moral compass, a soul, and their cloven hooves will eventually lead to their demise. Hopefully.

So, in just over 30 days since the season premiere of “The Opposite” we’ve certainly been kept on our toes with the daily cliffhangers. What’s next? never sounded more terrifying.

Our new host likes to keep the teams confused. As they wander around questioning whether facts are truth or if lies are now alternative facts, which in our old world were just lies, he is vigorously flushing distraction_xlargetheir tax dollars down the drain on his weekend getaways, our satellite First Lady, and my favorite, the 2017 Feed My Ego Tour a/k/a 2020 campaign rally. What just happened?

While the teams scramble to fact check like Ninjas, desperately trying to determine which news is real, fake or somewhere in between, Executive Orders are being signed sealed and delivered faster than a middle of the night Tweet. Diversion at its finest.

Thing have been tense between the teams. While each team frantically attacks each other via social media outlets, the wool is pulled further over their once bright hopeful eyes. Next stop, slaughterhouse.

Let’s just hope that this show will be cancelled long before the Season Finale scheduled to air November, 2020. Until then, crank up the music and Enjoy the Ride!

 

 

Let’s Put The “We” Back In The People

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If this gem doesn’t just scream my name I don’t know what does. That’s right folks, I’m officially hanging with the pigeon squad. 

I am EXHAUSTED!

Not by the hamster wheel of life, but by the behavior of my co-humans.

By the increased hatred and decrease in common decency.

By the lack of truth and over indulgence of misinformation and lies.

I am EXHAUSTED!

By the loss of common ground and the divided beliefs.

By the daily negativity of he said she said while important issues sit silently.

By the rise in civil obedience and the lack of active participation in the process.

I am EXHAUSTED!

By being told who to hate by our televisions, while books collect dust.

By judgments, labels & stereotypes in one hand and bibles, flags & hypocrisy in the other.

By the absence of faith, hope & charity and the escalation of greed.

I am EXHAUSTED!

By the Social Media scholars and their ignorant followers.

By the callous treatment of the less fortunate and the misguided definition of fame. 

By fear dictating our decisions, while common sense faces extinction.

I am EXHAUSTED!

By the abuse of our first amendment and the over extended defense of the our second.

By selfishness leading the way, while collaboration sits on the sidelines.

By the misconception that strength is loud and quietness is weak.

I am EXHAUSTED! 

By the thought of war being the answer and not giving peace a chance.

By the short memories and selective truths.

By the thought that I’m too optimistic, while others have surrendered hope.

Let’s TRY to celebrate our Independence and our Interdependence today by being free from our hatred, fears and differences. These are the freedoms that lay out a strong foundation for our future. These are the freedoms that unite. These are the freedoms that will thrive. 

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the Common Defense, promote the General Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to Ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Now, I’m not going to lie, I will have to remember all of this when my beer induced, wanna be pyrotechnic neighbor starts setting off fireworks from his weather-beaten, one spark short of an inferno deck this evening. I NEVER SAID IT WAS GOING TO BE EASY…anything worthwhile rarely is easy.

We’re all in this together, so hop in and Enjoy the Ride!

 

Weapons Of Mass Destruction Have A Face

Giving-Pledge-Words_thumbNothing better to push me to write than a big ole “Happy Anniversary” from WordPress. Yep, it appears that I entered the Blogosphere 4 years ago today. Time flies when you’re having fun.

In the spirit of writing, today I would like to touch on the power of words.

Remember this old saying:  “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Yea, it’s the biggest piece of BS ever written. 

Words are capable of growing, changing and spreading. They have even been known to influencing our world, for good or evil; and they have the power to hurt us directly or indirectly through others. Today more than ever.

I never thought about a word being “alive” but when I think of words spoken through history, written down and passed through generations, they seem to resurrect when read or spoken today.

For instance, when I listen to the powerful speeches of John F. Kennedy and Martin Lutherimages King, Jr. I can feel their words reaching out and raising me to my feet some 50 years later. That folks is how it’s done.

The words of these men were delivered with such strength and passion you could practically feel a gentle hand on your shoulder. Today it’s more of a shove.

“Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country” ~ John F. Kennedy

Now, let’s fast forward to today…..

WTF

We are living in a time were our words, whether truthful or lies, courageous or weak, kind or hateful, have the ability to be heard, in some cases by the world, within seconds of leaving our minds via our mouths, phones and computers. We have the POWER!

Instead, we allow the Media to abuse their responsibility by silencing the good and sensationalizing the FUCKERY.

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

On the heels of the Republican “Debate”, I have been struck by a revelation regarding the power of words and the authority they can have over our lives. As a firm believer in our First Amendment, Freedom of Speech, I am stunned at the recent abuse of its power. No doubt good ole #1 crumbled itself up last night and headed for the nearest incinerator before the first commercial break. 

Why have we allowed this to continue beyond the F I R S T hateful message?

Why have we allowed O N E person to shine a spotlight on the worst of us?

Why have we allowed the media to continue to sensationalize this mess?

Why the FUCK aren’t we in the streets stopping it?

27b4ea021f2c548371dc500bc8733282The answer to all of these questions is Complacency: a feeling of being satisfied with how things are and not wanting to try to make them better.

Although I don’t believe we don’t want things to be different, I do believe we have become a society of dependent thinkers. A group of people who want someone else to fix things for us and a society that frowns upon people who take it to the streets to protest injustices. Sheeple 

In the end, we have no one to blame but ourselves. When we get the urge to point fingers, we better head to the nearest mirror.

Honestly, I’m not afraid of terrorist attacks, ISIS, bombs, mass shootings, Mexicans, Muslims or any other fears that are fueling our current hateful fire, but I am very afraid of living in a society that promotes, encourages and allows it to be exploited. That is some real shit to fear. 

“Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can’t, and the other half who have nothing to say and keep on saying it.” –Robert Frost

Today, the most powerful weapon of mass destruction has a face. It’s orange, with bad hairfc5599bb6bbe9b95d7634a5793bc58e7 and a vile mouth. It uses words to fuel anger. It uses words to feed its ego. It uses words to divide this nation. It uses words to make others feel small, and worst of all it’s CONTAGIOUS!

This is our biggest threat and it didn’t cross a border, it was created by the Republican party and grew into the monster it is by our complacency.

The good news is there is a way to put an end to this shit show; stop participating in it. Unfortunately, we have become a nation addicted to crazy, so this is not going to be easy. 

Enjoy the Ride … on the Crazy Train.  All aboard!

 

 

 

 

We, Us & Our

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I think it’s safe to say that democracy is a work in progress. So, as we celebrate the 4th of July, let’s really get this party started shall we.  A true celebration means recommitting ourselves to the work that needs doing if we want democracy to survive and thrive. This excludes just sitting in the house and “liking” a democracy page on Facebook. We have a responsibility to be accountable to everyone around us…The Common Good.

We spend so much of our time divided these days, defining ourselves by our “side” that we forget something very important and frankly it’s in grave danger: We’re all in this together! Sound familiar? That’s right, it’s because you’ve heard this many times before in a wonderful document that seems to be getting some attention these days … The Constitution. 

We the People  of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. Everything after this sentence is just sugar on that big ole piece of pie.

So, today as we celebrate our Independence, let’s try to re-think how we start tomorrow. I’m suggesting an Interdependence way of thinking for the rest of the year. I love my freedom, but I’m also a big believer in collaboration. A small group of thoughtful people could change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead.

I know for me, in my personal life, I wouldn’t be where I am today without all those helping hands along the way who took the time to invest in my wellbeing. There were many times when energy and love were thrown onto my path to push me along.

Of course we would all love to take credit for our achievements, but let’s face it … it was a communal effort. We tend to forget that many of our opportunities came from the hard work of the generations before us who cared enough about our future to invest in the common good. Where would we be without it? 

Let’s celebrate our Independence and our Interdependence today by being free from our hatred, fears and differences. These are the real freedoms that lay out a strong foundation for our future. Now, I’m not going to lie, I will have to remember this when my beer induced, wanna be pyrotechnic neighbor starts setting off fireworks from his weather-beaten, one spark short of an inferno deck this evening. I NEVER SAID IT WAS GOING TO BE EASY…nothing worthwhile is ever easy.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re gathered around embracing your freedom with friends & family or just enjoying an extra day away from the salt mines work place, you can take a moment to focus on the similarities of your surroundings. Hey look we both breathe air Omg! we have so much in common. We have to start somewhere now…rightEnjoy the Ride! 

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Stay Awake

tumblr_mctl04mveM1rabieto1_400People never cease to amaze me! Just when I thought it was safe to be line at the grocery store, something changed. Little did I know that someone, most likely the Fox network, must be dispensing portable soap boxes to their loyal listeners. This is what I’m going with since I have no other answer.

Hey, I am a huge fan of Free Speech, but for the love of God I can not tolerate when it is abused. Why on earth would a complete stranger feel that a hateful political rant would be a good way to strike up a conversation with ME of all people on this planet? guess the days of “hey baby what’s your sign?” are long gone. 

There I was minding my own business in the check-out line, reading the headlines on all the rag magazines, catching up on all the Kardashian bull shit news, when out of nowhere this person decided to egg me on while he ranted over everything under the sun. Maybe my peace sign bracelet set him off…who knows.

Well, that’s all I can say is THANK GOODNESS I’ve been graced with the gift of having my face come8a83b3cdb5d142b58ffcf58f0c7d9487 up with a quick response long before my mouth has a chance. Sometimes this can be a curse, but not this time. 

I have no idea what my face said, but I can only imagine it was something like “WOW!” or “Shut up you bigoted ass!” or perhaps both since I was then referred to as “one of them” shortly after my face had spoken.

There really were no words to respond, well I did think of two, but I wasn’t going that low. One would think that having a 5′ 9″ cricket as his only audience member would make him stop.

34f61adfcaba647773cb17bf7c5b7071Oh, this guy had all the answers. He was explaining everything that should be getting done “down there in Washington” and everything that would be getting done if “all the idiots” didn’t come out to vote. Can you feel my pain?

At this point I began chanting the ole “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” lecture in my head for sanity purposes. I’ll be honest, after the 3rd time there were F-bombs tossed in to keep me out of jail.

I stood in silence wondering what would happen if this guy spent a quarter of his energy actually contributing to something good instead of spreading his relentless mouth farts all over the place. Hmm, maybe … just maybe, it would loosen that padlock on his mind. 

Since that didn’t seem to be happening any time soon, I continued to silently ingest his gases while loading my groceries at the speed of light. As if food shopping wasn’t enough to suck the life out of me…seriously. 

“All of us wish at times that we lived in a more tranquil world, but we don’t. And if our times are difficult and perplexing, so are they challenging and filled with opportunity.” Robert Kennedy

As you can imagine this left me with a huge social hangover by the time I got home. You know that wonderful feeling you get when you’re around exhausting people for a long period of time. It was going to take something much stronger than CALGON to take me away from this one!

I decided that the toxic remnants of this encounter had to leave before they did any more damage so I went out on my deck, flopped onto my swing and turned on some tunes. I was swinging in the silence when out of nowhere BAM! Teddy Pendergast saved the day. Thank you higher power, thank you very much!

I’m glad I didn’t waste my words on someone who didn’t deserve to hear my voice. Sometimes the most powerful thing you can say is nothing at all. Stay awake and Enjoy the Ride! 

Life Is Good!

Writing Challenge: The Devil In Details

Your challenge this week is to practice your powers of observation. Take any person, place, or event, and write three paragraphs describing your subject in great detail.

gods-light1As I sit on the oversized chair in my living room trying to relax from a long day of labor. I can’t help but be calmed by the last beam of sun breaking through the front window. The natural light bounces off a pink antique dish leaving a magnificent collaboration of colors on the floor. My big beagle Chester is laying in its bright center, no doubt enjoying the warmth it is providing. His breathing is calm, as the colors seem to dance about his body. He remains unnerved as he snores his peaceful snores in the center of a sunbeam. Life is good!

In the background of this peaceful scene President Obama is delivering his Inauguration speech to our nation. I can hear the strength in his voice as he reminds us of our duties as citizens. I can hear the passion in voice as he eloquently reminds us of the importance of compromise. I hear the hope in his voice as informs us that “peace in our time requires the constant advance of those principles that our common creed describes: tolerance and opportunity; human dignity and justice.” My heart begins to warm, my mind begins to ease and I become settled with the confidence that our future will be bright. Life is good!

The sun is about to turn in for the night. Chester begins to stir as if a warm blanket has just been removed when the last of that sunbeam makes its way back out the window. The scent of sautéed onions begins to fill the room with a sweet aroma. Onions? Dinner? Shit! Shit! Shit! I got to the pan just in time to turn off the gas flame, rescuing those caramelized beauties from a tragic demise. My pot of boiling water was now on the edge of extinction, but quickly resuscitated with a new batch of fresh water. The poor baby carrots appeared to be involved in some sort of rapid dance-off. As I lowered the heat they all seemed to collapse to the bottom of the pan surrendering to their exhaustion. They showed no signs of life until I drizzled them with honey and they began pleading to be consumed. Life is Good!

Life is full of surprises…Enjoy the Ride!

Revolution? Nobody Has Time For That!

0050_soap_box3I’ve been trying to get up on this damn soap box all week, but I kept getting distracted by one piece of insanity after the other. So here I am, finally **tap pssh tap** I hope you can all hear me out there in Blogosphere and beyond. Ok, here we go…..

I need to address the escalated chatter I’ve been hearing lately in regards to a Revolution of some sort that is prompting people to run out and purchase firearms. People, I might add, who have NEVER owned a gun in their life. Everyone suddenly wants a weapon for “protection” for this Revolution. Really? Have these people ever tried to organize a group of people for a cause? Please!

You can call me crazy, but I’m going to provide you with a little scenario explaining why I believe there will NOT be a Revolution.

SCENE SETTING: The rally is being held in a large arena with red, white & blue balloons strung across the large stage. The PopsOrganizer is in jeans, a tailored shirt with dressy work boots, hoping his outfit will appeal to all classes in attendance. Flags are waving, lady Liberty is being erected through the center of the stage just as the Uncle Sam dancers make their way up the aisle high-fiving the crowd. The speaker appears at the podium and everyone is asked to move down closer to the stage due to the poor turnout. Just keeping it real.

REVOLUTION SPEAKER:  Good afternoon. Thank you all for coming out today. I’m sure it wasn’t easy pulling yourselves away from your busy lives to make history, but I’m glad you chose to make this sacrifice for your country. Roaring Applause. I know everyone is feeling a little unsettled these days with the direction our country is taking, but this has been happening for a very long time. Between the chaos in the Middle East, school shootings, slow economy, healthcare issues, Social Security issues, Medicare issues and our everyday life issues we are all on edge. So, I thought it would be a great idea if We The People got together to form a Revolution. Enthusiastic applause. In order to do this we will all need to share in the responsibility of organizing events all over the country. Applause seems weaker. We will all need to do our part to make this a successful Revolution. The crowd begins to shift in their seats. We will be setting up tents throughout some of the largest cities in America. This means you may be living in conditions that you are not accustomed to for long periods of time. If your want change, you have to be willing to make some sacrifices. Section A leaves to use the restroom, they never return to their seats. We will organize groups to get the word out via the Social Media, but let me be clear, we will only use Social Media outlets to invite more of the We The People to join us. The majority of our mission will be held on the ground. Whispers are heard amongst the attenders. We need to show our strength in numbers by physically attending these events. A hand is raise and a question is asked from the crowd. Can we just “like” this Revolution on Facebook? Applause. No sir, this is real life. Forefathers begin spinning in their graves. 

SCENE SETTING: The sounds of “This Land Is Your Land” is playing in the background. The Uncle Sams’ and Lady Liberties exit to man the tables and serve refreshments.

SPEAKER: Are you ready to take your country back? Weak applause and unrecognizable mumbles. We have information tables set up right outside these doors, so please, enjoy the refreshments while you decide how your talents can serve this Revolution best. Crickets can be heard chirping in another county.

WE THE PEOPLE: The crowd heads out to the lobby. We begin to whisper while avoiding eye contact with the organizer and aggressively search for the Exit signs.

SCENE SETTING: Long tables are set up outside the arena. Women dressed as Lady Liberty are patiently waiting to be swarmed with anxious Revolutionary participants, while the Uncle Sam clad men are serving refreshments. The free red, white & blue Revolution pens are waiting to be picked up to fill those sign-up sheets. Some curious potential participants begin to approach the table.

WE THE PEOPLE:  First: Are these pens free? Um, is this Revolution thing going to be during the week, because I work?

                                          Second: Is there any way we can revolt on a Saturday? Oh, wait make that Sunday Jimmy has practice on Saturday. Oh, no wait Sunday isn’t good Mary has dance. Can I get back to you? Are these pens free?

                                          Third: Can I revolt from home? I work every other day, so I can revolt on my days off after my errands.

                                          Fourth: Do you think this Revolution thing will take long? I can commit to 2 weeks of my vacation time, but that 3rd week is mine. Are these pens free?

                                          Fifth: I really, really want to revolt, but Idol just started so, if your still revolting when the season is over I’ll be happy to help out. Hey, can I have this pen?

Instead of filling our homes with weaponry in preparation for a Revolution that may or may not happen, why don’t we figure out a way to honor the gift of American democracy. Impossible? That answer is up to all of us.

It’s time for me to leave the soap box and Enjoy the Ride!

No Room For Lame Excuses

Election Day 2012 is less than a month away. Time sure flies when you’re having fun. You have 25 days to clear at least one hour out of your day to cast your vote. Get on it people!

I took the liberty to compile some fun election facts to you know, get this party started.  Be inspired, swayed or guilted, I really don’t care what it takes to get you to VOTE on TUESDAY NOVEMBER 6, 2012.  Do It!

Speaking of Tuesday…

Do you know why Election Day just happens to land on the first Tuesday in November? It’s complicated, let me explain.

▪   November was selected because the harvest work was done. Today “harvest work” may be defined as taking down the Halloween decorations…not sure.

▪   Tuesday was selected because many people had to travel the day before to reach the polling place. Since most people did not travel on Sunday for religious reasons, they did not want it to be on a Monday. Wow! This makes the old “it’s raining” excuse seem really lame.

▪   They did not want Election Day to fall on November 1st because it is All Saints Day. Well played forefathers, well-played indeed.

▪   They did not want Election Day to fall on the first of the month because many shop keepers did their books for the preceding month on the first. Now wasn’t that considerate? Let’s reciprocate shall we…thanks. 

A citizen of America will cross the ocean to fight for democracy, but won’t cross the street to vote in a national election.  ~Bill VaughanMore 

Did You Know That….

EIGHT LEFT-HANDED PRESIDENTS SERVED James A. Garfield, Herbert Hoover, Harry S. Truman, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama.

FOURTEEN PRESIDENTS served as vice presidents: J. Adams, Jefferson, Van Buren, Tyler, Fillmore, A. Johnson, Arthur, T. Roosevelt, Coolidge, Truman, Nixon, L. Johnson, Ford, and George H.W. Bush.

THE TALLEST president was Lincoln at 6’4″; at 5’4″, Madison was the shortest.

THE TERM FIRST LADY was first used in 1877 in reference to Lucy Ware Webb Hayes. Most First Ladies, including Jackie Kennedy, are said to have hated the label.

Why Should You Vote?

Because I said so! Sometimes this is the only necessary argument. 

Because it took 72 years of crusading by women like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton to earn all women the right to vote. Yes, that is guilt your feeling. Yes, that was the intention.

Because in 1960, John F. Kennedy defeated Richard Nixon by less than one voter per precinct. So yes, we can hunt you down and we will.

Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting. Franklin D. Roosevelt

Because in 1996, among the world’s 20 biggest democracies, voter turnout in the U.S. was lower than every country except Switzerland. Belgium was top of the list with 94 percent. Come on already, do you really want to live down to our lazy stereotype? No, the answer is NO.

Because in 1845, one vote brought Texas into the Union. Oh, what’s that? One vote made a difference..umm hmm yes it did.

Because some have made the ultimate sacrifice for the right to vote. Among them: civil rights leaders Martin Luther King Jr. and Medgar Evers, who were assassinated; Fannie Lou Hamer, who was beaten, lost her job and her house for insisting she had the right to vote in Mississippi; Vernon Dahmer, who died protecting his family and home because he allowed blacks to pay their poll tax at his store; and Andrew Goodman, Mickey Schwerner and James Chaney, who were murdered for helping blacks register in the South. People have died for this privilege. So yea, Bobby & Susie’s soccer practice can wait 5 minutes. 

Because you get permission to complain for the next for years. If you don’t vote, you will need to shut it.

Because about 7,200 Americans died during the Revolutionary War, 8,200 more were wounded and as many as 10,000 died in military camps from disease or exposure. Many soldiers from the Continental Army were never paid for their service. They were fighting for the right to vote. It’s a PRIVLEDGE.

Because you just never know who you might meet in line. Love can be found in the strangest places….just saying. 

The Number One Reason You Should Vote: This the one day when everyone in the U.S. is EQUAL. Your vote counts just as much as anyone else’s. VOTE! Tuesday November 6, 2012…Enjoy the Ride!

Oh Yes We Did!

I loved the headline!

This is an update on my recent post Democracy Is Alive. Looks like a small group of committed citizens certainly can make a difference…Oh yes we did! 

After we gathered the troops to battle the politicians, we utilized our freedom of speech via the press and the good old social media. Fact: Facebook & YouTube scare the crap out of old politicians.

We went old school to pound pavements for signatures and also included an online petition for our cyber supporters as well. No one said it would be easy.

I was fortunate enough to be part of a team composed of like-minded individuals in order to make this a success. We all have talents that enabled us to move this forward quickly. This “project” was in the works for 7 years and we changed those plans in a little over 40 days.

For instance, my neighbor Joe created the video that tugged at heart-strings of his audience … hey now, nothing wrong with jumping on the sympathy wagon … which just happened to spread like wildfire, dubbing him the “Michael Moore” of our project.

Our neighbor Ray was our communicator/informant. He made calls to all parties involved daily to gather our ammunition pertinent information, dubbing him “Deep Throat.”

Deep Throat, Michael Moore & Erin Brockovich

As for me, well I was the digger. I searched until my eyes were burning and my fingers sore. Thank you Google and Public Records search engines thank you very much. This dubbed me “Erin Brockovich.”

The story made an appearance in our local paper The Northeast Times, The Philadelphia Daily News, The Philadelphia Inquirer and Radio Station 106.9 here in Philadelphia. Not bad for a few concerned neighbors. 

Our initial goal was to stop the madness completely, however according to our City Councilman, it was already a “done deal” and although he admitted “I should have notified the community, I take full responsibility.” Let me finish this sentence: However, it was an election year and a lot of you already didn’t like me, so I decided winning for my 8th term was way more important than all of you. 

Therefore, without a long drawn out legal battle we wouldn’t have a chance in reversing this deal. The other “done deal” will be this councilman loosing his next run for office. He has been in office for 32 years…so tootles! 

After numerous negotiations we made the decision to compromise with the business owner and I am happy to report that we made some significant progress in saving a large portion of this land from the asphalt. It’s amazing what a collective effort can accomplish. Hmm, I wonder where this would come in handy *cough* DC. 

The company we were up against has been at its current location for 11 years, with organic growth during that time, however he is getting cramped and does need additional space to expand. The fact that he is able to expand in this economy is a very good sign for our community. 

We were extremely fortunate because just like us, this businessman was also duped by the politician involved. He was promised that “everything was taken care of” and he had nothing to worry about. Poor thing thought the politician was doing the right thing by him. 

We have been given the opportunity to assist in the design of the area that will be surrounding the parking lot. It will now be bordered by natural berms, lined with mature trees to block our view and absorb sound. We blocked the idea of a chain-linked fence and agreed on something that would be safe, but esthetically easy on the eyes. 

There is also going to be a “meadow” constructed using trees and grasses that are historic to the area. The business owner as agreed to maintain this portion of the property for (5) years to ensure this land resumes to its natural state. We were all especially elated about this piece of the plan. 

All in all our efforts were not wasted. We not only gained a voice in the construction of his property, we gained a stronger sense of community, which was long overdue.

This small sliver of the pie opened our eyes to some significant changes that need to be made in order have a successful voice in the decisions that are being made on behalf of “our best interest,” at all levels of  our local government.

Now get out there and make a difference one act at a time….Enjoy the Ride!

Got Truth?

I’ve been pondering about writing on this subject, but I decided it was necessary.

On September 11th this year I had the pleasure of being in NYC one of my most favorite places to attend the taping of a very popular TV show.

My feeling was the ticket availability was due to the lack of enthusiasm for venturing into NYC on 9/11, but I don’t think that was the case. It seemed to be business as usual 11 years later.

As we headed out in the wee hours of the morning, I couldn’t help but notice how this day seemed to mirror 11 years ago, as far as the weather was concerned anyway. It was absolutely perfect with clear blue skies, cool air and bright sunshine. No one expected the darkness we all experienced later that morning and I certainly didn’t anticipate what I experienced 11 years later, which was absolutely nothing. No extra kindness, smiles, eye intact  or a word spoken the entire 2-hour ride for that matter.

The Faces of Vulnerability. LIFE

My Facebook, however, was exploding with images reflecting the towers draped in flags, flickering candles with prayers and, of course, the famous shot of the fireman planting the flag on the rubble. It was borderline annoying considering what I was experiencing in the real world.

All of these powerful images were met with the words “Never Forget.” News Flash….we’ve  forgotten something very important. Not the event, that will be embedded in us forever, but the lessons seem to be MIA. What happened to our vulnerability? 

As we were sitting on this bus, without an empty seat, I couldn’t help but notice the silence. It was deafening for god sakes, not a word was spoken.

I couldn’t help but think “If this bus blew up could I depend on this crew of statues to lend a helping hand?” Hey, I don’t walk around in fear of the sky falling, however, I don’t dismiss the possibility to the point of disconnect with the people around me.

Have we forgotten that the target that dreadful day 11 years ago was not the physical structures of these massive buildings, it was the strength they represented?

The real targets were our freedom, tolerance and decency. What happened to a sense of humanity? 

As I sat outside of a cafe waiting for my nephew to eat his 100th meal of the day, I watched a homeless man being passed by an endless sea of people. Did I mention he was an Army veteran, oh and that it was 9/11?

I understand people get tired of  giving up their dough to strangers that might be complete frauds…I get that whole thing. What bothered me was no one even made eye contact, he was invisible. 

Well, call me what you will I had to give him something before I left. He stood up, shook our hands, thanked us, complimented my nephew’s bow tie and explained his recent homelessness. He was legit, alive and very visible and long as you’re willing to open your eyes! 

Have we forgotten that we witnessed the worst of an ideology of fear and hatred, and the best of the American people? What happened to our unity? 

I was the last to enter the bus to return to Philly, only to find there were no seats..or so I thought. Apparently there was a seat being occupied by Louis Vuitton. Simmer down folks, not the man the travel tote! Seems like the designer travel tote, who was not a paying customer, suddenly had more value than me. After numerous requests, the bitch woman reluctantly moved Louis to the side without an ounce of acknowledgement to my existence…I was invisible. 

It could have been worse, it could have been a cheap knock-off! I had to justify it somehow people! 

All of this, along with the negative climate that seems to be clouding over us daily, really has me questioning my own Truth to Power. Why is it so hard for us to exercise these simple tasks? 

We speak to power in three senses:

  • To those who hold high places in our national life and bear the terrible responsibility of making decisions for war or peace.
  • To the American people who are the final reservoir of power in this country and whose values and expectations set the limits for those who exercise authority.
  • To the idea of Power itself, and its impact on Twentieth Century life.

Our truth is ancient: 

  • that love endures and overcomes.
  • that hatred destroys.
  • that what is obtained by love is retained, but what is obtained by hatred proves a burden.

You can check out more on this powerful statement right here….sttp.html

Honestly, if we want things to be different, we as individuals need to take serious action to recommit to communicating rather than acting rashly, focus more on building rather than destroying and observe wisely rather than acting without thought.

These small changes can make a huge difference, not just in our daily lives, but as a nation and a world.

We can do this folks….Truth to Power…one day at a time. Enjoy The Ride!

 

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