It’s ALL About the Base

They call it a grassroots movement.  These are movements that start small, like one person small, with a small core group, like maybe 12 people.

I am sure you guessed.  That small group and their leader founded one of the three major religions of the world.   Social and political movements start also start with the roots.

When Thomas Paine prints and distributes 100,000 copies of “Common Sense,” in 1776 the ideas lead to revolution, and a new country, the United States.  In the 1960’s young people tired of watching their friends march off to a foreign war (and afraid they would be next), began a movement to end the War in Vietnam.

Today, high school students are the leaders for a movement for sensible gun control legislation.  Two political bases, those calling for inclusion and those calling for protection, what the media is calling tribes, are struggling for political dominance.

The nastiness of these tribes, willing to fling aside any sense of decorum, civility, decency to win their point has erupted in the media with nasty tweets and comments, quickly apologized for as bad jokes that went too far.  The fact is, while these comments make a political point, they are not funny.

Like-minded people might laugh, but more from a sense that a good burn was scored, rather than mirth.  Friends are blocking each other on social media, and possibly even unfriending each other in their real life.  Only those who keep their politics to themselves can maintain their friendships.

I’d like to wrap myself in my tribe and the comfort of just being in agreement with everyone, rather than feel on the defense all the time.

Mostly, I want to live in the kind of world my mother taught me about.  A world where people treat each other with compassion and understanding.  A world where agreement might not always be possible, but courtesy is.

We are lucky.  We already have several examples of how to bring peace and forgiveness to the world.  We can start a movement to make our world a kinder place, today.

Time

8 Year Anniversary Achievement
Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com!
You registered on WordPress.com 8 years ago.
Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging.
Eight years ago I had no idea what a blog would come to mean to me.  My original concept was very different.  I wanted to write about psychographics, but nobody seemed interested, except my sons.  After awhile, I decided to try again.  Sometimes I’m more serious about blogging than other times.
These days I am not exactly burning up the keyboard.   What am I doing?  Processing!
If you aren’t from my area of the world you may not even realize what is going on here.  Between current events in my area, and personal events, there is a lot to process.
We had a very contentious election in 2016, and the divisiveness continues.  We have this Russian investigation into Russian attempts to interfere in our election, and possible collusion with candidates.  There is also a special prosecutor investigating obstruction of justice related to the Russia investigations.
Our outspokenly provocative president has done nothing to heal the divide in the electorate, and has participated in a war of insults with any opposition, including, most notably, North Korea.  This discourse includes such memorable comments in tweet form such as, “My button is bigger than yours!”
Trade agreements have been tossed.  Tariffs have been instituted.  Regulations are rolled back.  The Environmental Protective Agency is barring new organizations from meetings dealing with clean water concerns.  The Government has opened park land to business interests and has put up for sale large tracts.  There are scandals in various government departments.  There are also politically motivated accusations of improper procedures being followed by anyone who has anything to do with the various investigations.
Some of this “politics” continues to spill out into daily life.  Political topics quickly lead to arguments, and sometimes violence.  Demonstrations seem to be a part of daily life:  Against guns/for the Second Amendment, kneel for social justice for black people and minorities/stand for the flag, white power (complete with tiki-torches)/unity of all people.  Plus we have Women’s March, Not One More rallies against gun shootings, and the Me Too movement against powerful men.  As I write, Harvey Weinstein is being taken to prison after being arrested and charged for violence and abuse against women in His business under him.
All of this can be overwhelming.  It is mesmerizing!  It is upsetting, no matter which side of the politics you are.  I now limit my news viewing.  I need to give some thought to my real life.
There are changes going on in my life.  Doctors are now a big part of life.  Answers need to be found.   Adaptations have to be made.  Plus there is our house.
Our house is being painted!  I know I picked them, but I have to say, I love the colors!  I am so relieved.  Those tiny little swatches look great as a room.  I still have some anxiety about my other selections.  They are so different from anything else I’ve ever had.  It is exciting and fun.
While I am processing all this stuff, time just gets away from me, and yet another day goes without a blog posting, but I’ll do better.

Psychographics and Data Driven Marketing

You have heard about it in the news:  Psychographics.  This is something I know a little about, as I studied psychographics in college.  Many of my classmates just didn’t get it, and now all Americans are coping with the fact that their data from social media has been used in a deliberate attempt to sway their votes in the last presidential election.

Normally, psychographics is used to shape advertising for companies, like radio stations who want to appeal to hard rockin’ men, or maybe their girlfriends.  Movie producers will use psychographics to test ending to movies.  Politicians will use psychographics to understand what their constituents want, and word their political ads and speeches to show they are the ones to fulfill their needs.

Even a clever blogger could study other blogs and figure out what they really believe and pander to that.  A clever blogger could craft blogs to appeal to their current followers even better.  A really clever blogger could understand what motivates other readers so well that they could have a hit with every blog.  (I wish I was so clever.)

So how are your Facebook posts of family, fun, comedy, and how your day went useful to advertisers?  All of this information gives your basic demographic information:  sex, age, married or single,  and number of children, how old your children are, type and number of pets, and show an advertiser what you might need to make your life easier, happier, prettier, and more fun.

In addition, every like, can provide information about your likes and dislikes.  You don’t just like flowers and pets.  You like a political ad and share certain topics over and over again.  If you support the police, as opposed to black lives matter, you have registered a “vote” showing your political leanings.

There is nothing wrong with supporting the police.  There is nothing wrong with acknowledging black lives matter.  In fact, the two things are not mutually exclusive.  It is only advertising presented as opinion that makes the two things seem mutually exclusive.

Even more powerful, is to make advertising look like news.  This is the real fake news.  One of our son’s saw an ad presented as a newscast of the showing Seattle’s Space Needle being moved by tractor trailer to a new location.  (I was unable to find a video of this.)  My son could not be persuaded until he saw the Space Needle in its place in Seattle.

But know there is some clever advertiser, maybe someone who has no business involving themselves in our election, taking your click, and putting them together with other clicks, and use them to craft messages to get an emotional reaction from you.  Messages that look like someone’s opinion, or a news article.

You don’t even have to agree with the messages.  You see the messages over and over again.  As the messages get crazier, maybe you begin to wonder.  With all the smoke, you start looking for the fire.

These messages are tweaked to mix truth with speculation.  There are kind, well meaning people willing to believe the most outlandish speculation.  There are people who can get carried along with the crowd as emotions rise.

A tool that started as a way to bring us goods, wonderful entertainment, and services to make our lives better, has been used to manipulate us.

Equating common sense gun legislation with Nazi Germany’s attempt to exterminate Jews, is an exaggeration of paranoid fear.   I have several friends who have shared that on Facebook.  They are all excited that something drastic will be done.  Our right to bear arms is the principle they agree with.  Just because it originates with the NRA does not mean it is real.  Do the majority of gun owners agree?  No.  Every survey says most gun owners want common sense gun control.  We get to decide what is common sense.

The solution is to be skeptical.  If something seems extreme, that you have not seen someplace else, anyplace else, except another social media site, you may have something designed to manipulate you.

You are bombarded by adds for everything.  Click on Wayfair once and it will be forever be in Facebook feed.  Don’t be a sucker for every add that comes along, and that is what these posts are, designed to look like a person’s opinion.

 

Our Worldly Worries

CNN Logo

You recognize it.  This is the news logo of an organization some politicians rail against.  In fact as I write, Hubby is watching (therefore so am I) and news is breaking about the previous president warning the current president about the fired member of the current cabinet.

Lisa A. got me on this topic with her blog posting “What The Fu*k is Going on in This World.”  There is so much disturbing news, I’m surprised that we aren’t all curled up in little balls with the covers over our heads.

Airlines, not so friendly.  Over crowded flights, no more meals, no smoking (thank-goodness) , no cell phones, and no room leads to customers lashing out at each other or attendants.  Commercial airlines don’t seem to care about safety as they ask a father to hold his young son in his arms rather than in a car seat strapped safely into the airplane seat as the airline recommends, and which the father dutifully paid the full price for.  People are threatened with arrest, and dragged off of airplanes with bodily injuries, and lame apologies.  This is the news we see.

You want customer service?  You think the airlines would have a vested interest in keeping the customer happy?  It is obvious the commercial airlines don’t have to care. There is no government regulation for them to worry about.  People need to travel for business, to visit family, to satisfy their desire to see the world.

Airlines have cut the number of flights, decreased personnel, cut everything they can, and added more and more seats packing people in like sardines.  The commercial airlines have you right where they want you.  Each commercial airline is like the other.  There is no advantage to the customer of one airline over another.

Healthcare is what I wrote my representative about.  I got a very nice letter from Senator Portman (R).  I expressed my concern about family with preexisting conditions, and another on Medicaid.  I can’t tell how Portman will handle the Senate review of healthcare.  I am glad for his response.  Countries with national healthcare include:  Canada, England, Denmark, Australia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, France, Germany, Italy….

For reasons I fail to understand, it is believed that the compassionate pharmaceutical industry will do the correct thing. Hospitals will always put the patient first as mandated by law, and will absorb the cost, which we will all pay for.  Doctors will take care of you if you are in need, by sending you to the emergency room where they have to treat everyone.

So why am I shocked that Hubby’s diabetes medications have dramatically jumped in cost.  My mother refused the most effective asthma medications, because of the cost.  She flat refused to let the pharmaceutical industry get an outrageous profit from her treatment.  Those with life threatening allergies have recently had to contend with the EpiPen 400 percent price increase.

So what do you think?  Do we need any government regulation of healthcare?

Passing costs on to the states is not a plan I support.  Passing healthcare to the states will increase state budgets, and unless we get a federal tax cut large enough, who will want to pay more in state taxes.  (This also applies to education and other cuts proposed by the federal government.)  I may be wrong, but don’t American’s want a simpler tax system with fewer loopholes?  Don’t we also want to pay less tax overall?  Does moving the services from the federal government to the state government satisfy any of the goals?

 

Tragedy Strikes on the heal of Thanksgiving

Outside a Mosque in Huntington, West Virginia the morning after the Presidential Election.

Freedom of religion doesn’t exist in every country.  Most Americans take their religious freedom for granted.   If Americans participate in a religion, it is their business.  If they want to drape snakes across their shoulders while they pray, or kneel before a cross or not before taking their seat in their chosen house of worship no-one really cares.

There is a very small minority of Americans who see it as an attack of their religious freedom to be forced to tolerate a Christmas tree, and a Menorah side by side in a public display, but even worse is to be denied these displays of faith.  (I know of no Islamic High Holy days that occur near the time of Christmas or Hanukkah.)

American freedom of religion is the bedrock of our American culture.  The first school lessons on our history, is of people coming to the Americas for religious freedom, and joining in prayer with the native population in Thanksgiving.

A country may not be able to prevent its citizens from quietly following their religion under the radar of authorities.  Most American residents can’t imagine living in a country where they can’t freely and openly worship in a manner of their choosing, and would be outraged at such treatment.

We have just been through a very divisive political season.  Muslims, a religion, not a country, was named as the enemy.  Harassment of Muslims has reached an all time high.  What difficulties Ohio State attacker Abdul Razak Ali Artan may have had is not the point.  He lives in a country where religious freedom is promised, and Artan felt he could not pray without fear.  Eleven people were injured, and the country is frightened.

Deportation and confinement of Muslims are methods of control that have been promised. The candidate that wanted to partner with Muslims in America has lost the election.  President Elect Trump has asked for the violence against Muslims to be stopped the news reports, but many more tweets are coming from President Elect Trump regarding the voter fraud that has resulted in his loss of the popular vote.

Obviously Artan was a very disturbed young man, but does not meet the definition of a warrior.  My friends and I watched the news of the Ohio State University tragedy with sorrow while having lunch.  Thank God it wasn’t worse.

ISIS is taking credit for this tragedy, but I don’t think they had anything to do with it.  How about you?

 

Vegetal Beginning of a Story

Yesterday’s post seems to need a little clarification.  I hope you will forgive my vegetal beginnings of what I hope can be turned into something good.  I’ve written several essays that have been very well received, but yesterday may have been a little two dark.  Maybe this beginning would have been better written in my private journal.

Recent political rhetoric has stirred passions about how women are treated, and how women are valued.  As one who grew up with the Women’s Lib Movement during the 60’s, I was almost convinced that the discrimination and marginalization of women in the United States had come to an end.  The tolerance of sexist language and attitudes during our recent election shows that woman are not on an equal footing with men, even though one of the candidates was a woman.

In the story I tried to write yesterday, Appearances, I think I missed the mark.  Yes, it contained a collection of real events.  There were girls in the high school restroom every morning, monopolizing the mirror, but my personnel feeling about the situation were not so harsh.  I thought they didn’t need it.  However, make no mistake, we girls were judged and if you were willing to play the boys games, they were all over you.

I was painfully shy as the new girl in town.  I held back, they didn’t snub me.  Did they notice and try to make me feel included?  Come on!  This was high school.  We were all immature.  I was the shortest girl in the school, but not the only one with short hair, but the boys do love that long hair.

Only in retrospect do I realize the girls who monopolized the bathrooms, where doing what they couldn’t at home.  They also rolled up their skirts to make them shorter.  It is my understanding that even those in all girl schools did the same.  Why did we do it?  To be stylish.  Plus, we liked attention from the boys.  Our self-image was strongly influenced by boys.

Yes, there was some touching.  These were boys and girls who had known each other since kindergarten.  I was a total unknown.  Only one day, and I don’t know why, a boy put something, including his hand down a girls bra.  It started a free-for-all.  I would have decked any boy who touched me, but to be truthful, they knew I wouldn’t like it, and neither would my boyfriend, nor my male friends.

The teacher, was in chemistry, and was every bit at bad as described.  I should have told my parents, but I never did.  I was 17, I thought I should be able to handle things on my own.  My mistake.  That teacher was a bully to all the girls.  He absolutely said those things, day after day.  Going to the administration never occurred to any of us.  I didn’t need the credit to graduate, but it did affect my GPA, and I wasn’t allowed to go away to college and went to x-ray school instead, because my grades were not high enough.  My parents feared a lack of commitment to my education.

There were many nice boys in my high school.  Both boys and girls thought I was attractive, nice, kind, honest, and intelligent.

Now you may think my experience with high school is unique.  I assure you these things still go on in high schools.  I volunteered at the local high school when our boy, our youngest, was in high school.  What I saw were boys and girls groping each other in and around the school, behavior that in the late 60’s would have gotten us detention, and possibly a paddling.  Teachers walked by without a word.

I asked about the proper response to the public displays of affection, and very physical reactions to each other these young people were engaging in.  It was not considered a problem.  So why was I there?  I lasted about three weeks.  Maybe my experience is still unique.

Maybe it was only that school?  I think the teenage pregnancy rate illuminates the issue. For several years the teenage pregnancy rate has declined, but 7 percent to 12 percent pregnancy rates still exist depending on ethnicity, for a total of 249,078 babies (2014).

So I am asking for some feedback that can turn this embryonic story into something worth reading.  Maybe a story can change attitudes where demonstrations can’t.

 

 

 

 

 

Has it Become Stylish

This morning in the silence, I started thinking about political news.  Each side can tell you what gives them pause.  In fact, you can probably tell me what gives the other side pause.  Every election season it’s the same thing.  If people actually believed the political rhetoric spouted during an election, we would have to agree that all our leaders are tricky, shifty, lying, crooked, dishonest, indecisive, gutless, flip-floppers.  And we elect these people!  Every public office in the land is full of these people that we all think so little of.

The country would be a total loss if this were in fact true.  Even electing the one person who says they have all the answers would not be enough to fix the mess.

Politically speaking, we have thrown decorum, courtesy, and diplomacy out the window.   It is stylish to not pull our punches, tell it like it is, let the chips fall where they may, without consideration for the pain and suffering of the people our policy will be directly affecting.

Decorum is politically correct.  We don’t need it!  We can simply remove anyone who disagrees.  We have right on our side, so if we can get a punch or two in, so much the better.  Heck, why wait until they actually make a scene or disagree?  You can tell by how they look that they are trouble makers.  Heck, we are entitled to our own opinion, so why listen to any other opinion.  We can mock, ridicule and ignor anyone who disagrees.

Courtesy is politically correct.  Why be courteous when we can reduce everything a person is, all their struggles and concerns into a harshly worded tweet, or denigrating term?   We can call people names, and are praised because of it.  We are telling it like it is!  We are being honest!  We are right and you are wrong!

Diplomacy is also politically correct.  Why use diplomatic means of solving problems when you can use your power to get your way?  Why negotiate when you can dictate?  Why compromise when we are powerful?  We don’t agree and aren’t going to, unless we get our way.

The truth is, we don’t want to spend our time working out how pay for public projects and services.  If we want highways, bridges, schools, trade between states and countries then we need government.  If we want a legal system, fire, police and a military to cope with threats from not only within our country but from around the world, then we need government.

We need a free press to keep us informed of things we can’t be present for.   A press free to report the facts as they see them, and not in a manner approved by our political representatives.  A press of diverse points of view, not cherry picked and approved by our leaders.

If you sincerely believe all of our representatives are crooks, then you have the freedom to step up, and give us the leadership we need.  If you don’t trust the press you have the freedom to get yourself out to meetings and see for yourself exactly what is being done in those meetings, plus you could write your own report.  Every governing body has a gallery for those who wish to see our leaders at work, from the smallest local council or school board to Congress.

Withdrawal

Watching the news has been disturbing during this season when we really want to believe in peace on earth and goodwill toward mankind.

Add to the bad news some ugly politics and I have lost my smile.  The grinchiness  and all its sourness is reaching across all aisles and is doing its best to ruin our holidays.

Analysis of the latest mass shooting continues with no solution and no resolution.  Radicalization brings violence around the world.  A leading politician calls for walls, roundups, and exclusion of those trying to escape the ISIS violence, as if just being a Muslim is the same thing as being radical.  All the hate spewed by this radical and racist position has boosted the pole numbers of the Most Radical candidate.  To me it looks like an ingredient for creating radicals.

I have seen reports of the Muslim community coming out against the violence, but it doesn’t get nearly the press that the violence itself gets, and many don’t even seem to be aware, as proved by discussions with those in my circle prove.  Muslim’s themselves are the major target of the ISIS violence.

My small voice doesn’t seem like much of a weapon against this hate.  My one vote doesn’t seem like it can make much difference.  Discussions with those in my circle don’t seem to change any minds and leave me feeling  ineffective.

A friend suggested I was letting terrorists (or maybe politicians) win by giving up on my blog.  I may withdraw at times, but I think I will try to hang in here.

 

 

 

A Week of Bad News

People strapped bombs to their bodies, and set out to do as much damage as they could a week ago, Friday, November 13 in Paris.  Just as I did after 9/11, I withdrew from society and watched all the news I could about the destruction.  I have seen French news reports being cautious about blaming refugees for the violence, and United States governors (31 U.S. governors) have signed declarations to refuse entrance to any Syrian  refugees.  I have heard presidential candidates say they would refuse shelter to three year old orphans.  I have seen social media posts angry at President Obama, because he has not turned Syria into a glass parking lot, at a minimum.

I have heard about hackers who have taken it upon themselves to take down ISIS propaganda from the internet.  I have seen Christians who are begging people to follow their faith instead of their fear to welcome those running toward any country of freedom and safety, including our own.

There is a multi step procedure for legal entry into our country for refugees.  I tend toward a sympathetic response to people displaced by war and violence.  I would welcome refugees from Syria, and other people who practice the Muslim faith.  I have made this known in conversations with those who would isolate the United States from all Muslims.

My father grew up in a country at war with the United States,  He came to the United States as a young man having lost his home to U.S. bombs, and lost his country to the violent and repressive Nazis.  He served in the U.S. Army before he could even speak English very well.  His brothers also established their families here in the U.S.  The family has done well, and is now on it’s third generation of Americans.

I think offering the same opportunity to others who seek freedom and opportunity is the right thing to do.   I also think we should use every tool  we have to fight ISIS.  This includes the use of rhetoric and being a light of freedom to the people of our enemies, and those trying to escape them.

 

 

 

Law vs. Conscience

Ashland, Kentucky takes the spotlight of the national news as Kim Davis, Rowen County Clerk, is now in jail for contempt, in lieu of a fine, so she could not interfere with Deputy Clerks ordered to comply with the court order to resume issuing marriage licenses to all according to the law.  Davis refused to issue marriage licenses after a Supreme Court ruling made it legal for Gay/Lesbian couples to marry with the full benefits marriage implies.  Davis has refused to allow her office to issue marriage licenses to anyone, to not be accused of discrimination against a minority.  Davis takes this action based upon her religious convictions, but the Supreme Court refused to hear her appeal based upon her religious conviction.

Decades of legal discrimination, social stigma, and predatory behavior against LGBT people have led to the ruling of the Supreme Court and this current impasse between this personal religious conviction and the law.  These religious convictions are not accepted by all Christians.  Some Christian Churches are churches of reconciliation.  I am proud member of a congregation that is going through the process of becoming a reconciling church.  Since 1970, the year I graduated from high school and took my place in the adult community, I have stood up for gays accused of every vile impulse known to humankind.

Not only were gays thought to choose gayness, but were accused of actively trying to subvert the youth of the community to their chosen lifestyle.  The nastiness that spewed forth from those who claimed to be Christian was something I could not allow to stand unchallenged.  I was often a lone voice, although sometimes, someone would quietly take me aside and tell me they agreed with me.  If I had gone to another church, and I in fact did, because I have moved several times in my life, I would only have to face the same attitudes.  Some ask why I feel the need to meet this or any other issue?  Why don’t I just believe what I believe, and keep quiet?

I am sure that one reason is that I am first generation American on my father’s side.  My father who grew up in Germany while Hitler was in power, and took the world to war.  Good people stayed quiet, as worse and worse became acceptable. There were small tokens of resistance by brave people, but that will be a blog for another day.

I am sure that another reason is that my Uncle Juergen was gay, and put lie to those comments.  People in church were saying those vile things about people like my uncle.  People like my uncle just wanted  to live their lives.  If their partner was sick, they wanted to offer comfort in a hospital setting.  They wanted the right to give financial security to their partners upon their death, for financial decisions they made jointly.  They wanted to walk down the street, along a beach, or anywhere else without being jeered, threatened, harassed, accosted, and harmed.

Uncles Lunch 1

Without legal marriage, families could choose to bar visitations in hospital, and other care facilities.  Without legal marriage, every penny earned, everything within their possession, and everything they owned, collected, or saved, became the property of their birth family when they died.  The birth family was then free to displace the loved partner, and remove all tokens that the rest of us would keep and cherish for the sake of our memories. Without legal protections LGBT people live with fear daily, and were denied the comfort and security given by marriage.

Some call Kim Davis champion of  religious protection and freedom.  I say Kim Davis represents the worst judgmental, unloving, unforgiving, and intolerant picture of a Christian.  If Kim Davis will not step down, then I hope Rowen County, Kentucky citizens will get a recall petition going immediately.

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