Opposition for opposition’s sake is a no-win balancing act

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imageAs most parents will tell you, every child goes through a stage where they seem to suffer from oppositional disorder, fervently opposing even the slightest difference of opinion as if the future of the world depended on it.

Although I can’t confirm it, I’m pretty sure humanity will survive no matter who sang “Shameless” first.

(Billy Joel, by the way.)

Whether it’s the “terrible twos” or teens (or both, Lord help you) it’s part of a necessary step toward independence and establishing personal perspective on the road to maturity.

However, opposition itself isn’t a sign of maturity.

Opposition for sake the of opposition only limits our opportunities, our perspectives and the kind of understanding that helps us grow as
individuals.

Maturity happens with the recognition of this fundamental truth.  Continue reading

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Thanks to our veterans, there will be plenty of time to disagree tomorrow

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Driving to work this morning, talk radio stations were full of the continuing discussion and debate over the elections. Hosts grilled pollsters, questioned campaign strategists and analysts. Guests expressed their exuberance or dismay over the results. Prognosticators made predictions ranging from whimsy to woe.

As I listened, I noticed one topic that was missing from today’s discussion table:

Veterans.

Without the fundamental right we have as a Democracy to vote, there would be no election to discuss — and without the service and sacrifice of others in defense of our nation, there would be no Democracy to afford us that precious right to vote.  Continue reading

I hope you’ll join me for some peace today

imageSeveral weeks ago, Kendall F. Person invited me to be a part of his #OURWEEKOFPEACE at The Public Blogger. The idea was to bring artists, musicians, writers, statesmen, poets and others together to discuss and express their thoughts on the meaning of peace in our world.

Each day has a different theme, culminating this Saturday in a public “Shout Out to Peace,” which is an opportunity for everyone around the world to contribute their voice in their own way, be it through their written word, videos, photography, music or simply by sharing in the day.

Today’s theme is “Media,” and I have the privilege of opening it with a video about the importance of journalism in our democracy — a notion underscored by the fact that our forefathers included Freedom of the Press as part of the First Amendment in our Constitution.  Continue reading

Only embracing our common thread can keep America from unraveling

imageI generally reserve this place for humor. That’s because I believe in the power of its shared experience, and how that experience brings people together. Good humor transcends color, religion, geography, financial status or political affiliation. It’s devoid of hate and allows us to embrace a common thread woven through our humanity that we all share through laughter.

All living creatures get angry, scared, excited or worried; it’s humor that makes us human.

But there are mornings like this when being funny doesn’t feel right. The events of the past few days have spilled over from a collective cup that has been filling with a bitter brew being served during a time of unprecedented polarization within our country. We are being divided and conquered by fear — of each other, our differences, and a political landscape that inspires the worst in us instead of what defines us at our best.

And we swallow this bitter brew not because it’s what we want, but because it’s all there is.

This week’s shootings in Louisiana, Minnessota and Dallas — like Orlando — are about the kind of fear that breeds mistrust and hatred. It’s also the kind of fear that is fast becoming the oxygen within the current political atmosphere. The more of it we breathe, the more it permeates us, coursing through our life blood and into our hearts until that fear we breathe is what sustains us.  Continue reading

Why we need a Presidential Aptitude Test

(I’m a guest at Open Thought Vortex Magazine today, proposing the creation of a Presidential Aptitude Test for future elections. Unfortunately, it’s too late for this one…)

imageIf I’m being honest, I have about as much enthusiasm for our choices in presidential candidates as I do for licking a 9-volt battery; I know the result won’t kill me but the anticipation itself is enough to make my tongue curl — because I know it’s still going to sting. As I’ve watched the process of elimination over the last several months, I can’t help but wonder how, with a population of more than 324 million, this is the best we have to offer? Maybe we forgot some people somewhere?

Like Rhode Island. It’s small and easy to overlook.

It also got me wondering why becoming a presidential nominee isn’t harder. Don’t get me wrong, I realize not just any millionaire can become a presidential candidate. But in a country where you have to pass a background check and psychological interview before landing a job at McDonald’s, you’d think we’d at least require the same of someone vying for a position as the Most Powerful Person in the World. It seems like we might even feel obligated to other nations to make sure the Commander-in-Chief of the planet’s most advanced military doesn’t have mommy or daddy issues, an axe to grind, isn’t a power tripper and has a working knowledge of international affairs that extends beyond Fox News. (Read more at OTV Magazine)

 

We can’t let hate win

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I am incredibly saddened by the news this morning about the deadliest mass shooting in our nation’s history, spurred by an act of hatred against a group of people targeted for their choice in living life. Not only because of the lives lost in Orlando, but the atmosphere of hatred that is continuing to grow in our country. A nation that was founded on equality and the right to pursue life, liberty and happiness is falling victim to the notion that hate is a solution. This morning, along with the innocent lives lost in Orlando, I also mourn the loss of tolerance and acceptance. We reserve the right as Americans to disagree with others. We have the right NOT to support the lifestyle or religious choices others make. You can be anti gay, anti Muslim, Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, Ford or Chevy. But if we allow hatred to sway us into believing we have the right to not only deny those same rights to others, but to kill them for it, we will have lost everything.

Don’t let hate win. Or we all lose.

#hatewontwin