One Small Point of Light

The flame of a candle is one small point of light.  One standard candle is estimated to give off 12.5 lumens.  One candle shines brightly in a dark space, but doesn’t reveal much about that space.  Each candle added increases the light, until every dark corner is illuminated.

There is a darkness that is being brought to the light from a surprising source, the political arena.  Being brought to light is something women everywhere have to deal with, from the most progressive societies to the most socially repressive.

I am not going to try to make a judgement on the political firestorm, because it seems that everyone has already decided the importance of the language or possible reality of the sexually aggressive, bullying actions.  I do want to do is share my experience with men.

I know many wonderful men.  My husband, my father, uncles, brother, sons, cousins, many men I went to school with, and many men I worked with are all wonderful, respectful men.  However not all men are respectful.

At age 12, greeting my uncle with a kiss after not seeing him for a long time, he made it clear that such actions were “asking for it ” and would deserve anything that happened. Our relationship was never the same again.  After this I avoided not only this uncle, but men in general.

In Junior High School, a boy grabbed me roughly, and I couldn’t get away.  Every boy in the school let him know this behavior was not going to be tolerated.

Sitting in a high school English class, a couple of boys were putting their hands down the blouses of some of the girls.  Everyone was laughing, even most of the girls.  If they came near me, not only would I clock them, but so would my marine boyfriend, his friends and every other male I called friend.

At age 18, I was talking to a fellow student about my brother studying Judo.  My brother, several of his friends, my sister’s boyfriend,  were all black belts.  The man I was talking to said, “A man would have to be crazy to mess with you!”  It was at that moment that I realized how important it was to be under the protection of the men in my life.

At age 19, two weeks after getting married,  a man I had known for several months offered me a soda while waiting for my ride.  I thought I knew this person, but found myself in a sexual situation that I was lucky to talk my way out of.  Exactly the type of situation my Mother had warned me to never get myself into.

The next day he grabbed me, and wanted to press his case, telling me how I should be complimented by his attention.  I informed him that my uncle was the head of the radiology department in the hospital where he was a resident, and if he ever came near me again, I would report his behavior and he would be out of the hospital.

I had more than one husband of a woman friend “make a pass,” and I have had to give up long term friendships with women when their husbands would not take no for an answer.

I’ve had to work with men who described their exploits and considered themselves a gift to women.  They could not believe any woman would be serious about not wanting his attentions.  These were men I had to be careful to avoid being alone with in the workplace, but they “did the job.”

Why complain?  Nobody would do anything.  It was just something women had to put up with.  Men were the sexual aggressors, and women should be complimented.  But no means NO!   At best, we would warn each other of the danger.

Sexual aggression must be stopped by men.  Only men can stop the locker room bragging.  Only men can keep these aggressors in line, but only if they care about their wives, mothers, aunts, sisters, daughters, and other women they know and work with.

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.

So Dramatic

In Public Square, Cleveland, Ohio

An ambulance with lights flashing drives up to the emergency room door, where doctors and nurses are waiting to receive the patient.  No!  Not one ambulance, but two, and we learn a building collapse, or traffic accident or shooting, has taken place. Injuries are grave, and everyone gets to work, knowing life and death hang in the balance.   Families in panic beg for information, doctors skirt personal issues, ordering tests, stopping bleeding, and fighting death.  Then the drama is ratcheted up with an overflow of patients and no other hospital to send patients to, every doctor and nurse is treating multiple critical patients at deaths door.

Dramatic ?  Yes!  This is one of my favorite shows, “Code Black.”  Medical shows make good television because of the potential for drama.  Other good choices are police shows and who done its, legal dramas, and soap operas.  Just sit back and ask yourself what is the worst thing that could happen?  What is the worst choice this person could make?  These bad events and bad choices add to the drama, but if the show is coming to an end, watch for the lucky break for a satisfying conclusion.

These dramatic shows manipulate our emotions to keep us watching, and keep us coming back for more. Our favorite books do the same thing, and I would wager our favorite blogs do a little of this also.

Real life drama is just as riveting.  I have been on the edge of my seat watching the parties elect their candidates, and watch how the candidates try to position themselves to look good (before flags, before military boats) while making the other candidate look bad by repeating every bad thing that may have ever been thought about the competition.  We watch reports of war, and rumors or war.  We watch as gunshots fly and bodies mount up.

Some people will argue that trouble in the world is aggravated by the fictional and real representations of violence.  I would argue that fiction and news can show us not only the worst, but the best of what we can be in a crisis.  We can see the way people band together to help each other in crisis.  We can see many reach out to give comfort in times of suffering.  We can see that there are those who reach out in times of suffering due to injustice.

Real life is not a dramatic show for our entertainment.  Real life has complicated issues that we cannot solve in an hour.  Our entertainment may show a reflection of real life and a hint of the complexity of the issues of life, but it can’t provide solutions.                                                                                                                     #

Winds of Politics

storm clouds
Storm Clouds taken by April E. Sutton

Polls tell them  which way the wind blows, after windbags wind up and release their pitch.

Testing the wind, bending right or left, winding up after a second wind.

Voters like a candle in the winds, with breaking winds of change around them.

Tossing caution to ill wind or fair set sail, hoping to take the wind from the others sails.

Gathering wind in their sails, following the way the wind blows.

Voters left twisting, bend with the wind, spit and piss into the wind.

Looking for something in the wind, hopeful for storms end.

The Daily Post:  wind




The American Experiment


I hope everyone had a happy July Fourth.  I was in Maryland, staying close to D.C. for Independence Day at a hotel with an international clientele.  The only hint of violence were the reports of ISIS attacks reported on CNN.

I have been following the primary and election  process very careful.   I have very strong feelings about certain issues and find the ugly rhetoric  employed by some of those running as harmful, creating intolerance, and fostering hate.  I hear people say such rhetoric is only emotional talk, and policy would be much more informed and diplomatically implemented.  I would like to be assured, before we vote for our president, that the person elected is a serious and responsible candidate.  The primary offered choices from each party that meet my criteria.  Hopefully the chosen candidates will rise to the challenge.

I have been reluctant to write  in-depth about politics in an effort to retain a degree of neutrality, but politics dominates my thoughts.   Besides, my opinion is only my opinion.  The only value of my opinion is the value you, the reader, give it.  I am not a political reporter, nor political analyst.  Just a person trying to become informed and vote for the person who I  believe will do something good for the  American people.  My forceful defense of my stance on issues has provoked forceful assertions of the right to hold a contrary opinion.  If you don’t want to hear a contrary opinion,  then just keep quiet, and hold your opinion.

I have been upset at times, until I ran across an old journal entry written during another presidential election cycle.  The  feelings and concerns I wrote of then, are the very same feelings and concerns I have now.  Some how the American Experiment keeps on going.

The best or worst president has only a limited amount of power.  Congress can howl presidential overreach, and can refuse to approve appointments, but what the president is allowed to do is defined, in broad strokes.  In fact the duties of the legislative branch of government and the judicial branch of government are also defined in broad strokes.  These broad strokes create a lot of controversy over which branch has the power to do specific things.  Does the Judicial legislation the result of Supreme Court decisions?  Is the congressional obstruction the result of legislative control over the budget?

The struggle makes for an interesting show, and helps to prevent any real damage from being done.  If a president does anything really bad there is the option of impeachment. Impeachment is rare, only happening twice in the history of our United States.

So enjoy the freedom to vocally disagree with your candidates, and vote bravely.  You will get to do it all again in another four years.


Will IT Never End

Political stress and anxiety have some people fearing the end of the American Dream.

For his entire presidency the left says President Obama doesn’t go far enough, and the right says he goes to far.  These disagreements on the hill have caused government  gridlock, with those in favor of President Obama’s work around (executive order) being drowned out cries of presidential overreach. Now the primary season is dragging on and on leaving everyone to question whether party unity is possible.  The idea of parties actually working together and coming up with workable compromise is the impossible dream.

“Its only politics,” you say, but political stress and anxiety still strikes.  Political actions affect us in direct and indirect ways.  A government shut down, because a budget can’t be agreed upon affects the many government employees very directly.  If a budget can’t be agreed upon, the stock market fluctuates, investors lose money, interest rates fluctuate, and the bottom line is what you have to spend, and how much the things you want will cost you are directly affected.  This is only one example, I am sure you can think of some government action, or inaction, that has affected you in some way.  Many actions don’t affect me at all, yet politics confronts me with making decisions that could affect others.

Pro-choice/pro-life, LGBT rights, the plight of illegal immigrants has never been a personal issue for me.  I have sympathy for both sides.  Politically, I am a centrist, and I have proof!  I took the World’s Smallest Political Quiz, and so can you.

I’ve always called myself a moderate, while some call me liberal and others call me conservative.  I’m teased that I just can’t commit to a position.  I hope its teasing.

All of this politics causes a lot of stress.  Me yes, but many others.  While learning about the use of SEO “search engine optimization with Reji Stephenson at Digital Dimensions4u   I tested the process using political topics and learned that people dealing with political stress and anxiety fear the coming election will lead to civil war, or just want to get away from any ramifications of the upcoming decisions by leaving the country if the opposition candidate should win.  When the SEO of Political Stress came up, I knew I found my topic.

Living in “enemy” territory, holding the minority opinion is particularly stressful, at least for me, as the urge to speak out arises . Speaking out has changed, maybe aborted, some budding social relationships.   When you don’t speak out, people assume you think the same way they do.  During a campaign season where the extreme positions take the spotlight there is a lot of eye rolling.   Each candidate has its following and their supporters are coming to physical conflict.  There are the Never Donald Trump and Never Hillary Clinton camps, and many will simply refuse to vote at all.  Then there is the Bernie “Burn” camp who want to vote in a new congress.

It is all very exciting to follow the reality show of our United States politics, but for all of us politics is stressful.  Stress that can affect the workplace, social settings, the future makeup of our countries leadership, and our lives.  A feeling of bad choices will cause some to drop out, and if those people are the centrists, then government gridlock will remain for the foreseeable future.

(Thank you Reji for teaching me about somethings so useful!)



10 Reasons for a “Show of Respect”

A comment to my last post, Manners?, got me thinking about why someone might want to make a “show of respect” even if they don’t feel respect. If we react to political posturing and sound bites we can believe that those in public office are nothing more than the puppets of special interests. When I listened to Ohio Republican and Speaker of the House John Boehner and Kentucky Republican and head of the Senate Mitch McConnell speak on CBS 60 Minutes I could see them for the concerned and intelligent people they are, and agree with much of what they said.

A Show of Respect:

  1.  gives the impression that maybe you can work together for things both parties say they want:  tax reform, easing the stress on the middle class, improving the country’s infrastructure, to promote trade, and defeat ISIS and terrorism.
  2.  does not mean agreement, but your “scowl” will not receive private nor public mention.
  3. may make the public think you are the good guys, and with an awful 15 percent approval rating for congress, and 46 percent for the president, both need that.
  4. wins the respect of any man or woman, past of present, in the military when respect is shown to the Commander-in-Chief.
  5. gives the impression that you represent the interests of the country, and not a political agenda.
  6. makes you look a statesman, and not a politician.
  7. looks like you are listening with an open mind, and not closed and decided.
  8. makes you look like somebody I might vote for (and I know exactly how important that is to you).
  9. sets a good example for others for public (and private) discourse.
  10. shows you have class.

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