Politics

The Elephant in the Room

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ElephantHave you ever jumped to conclusions or reacted ill-advisedly because you didn’t have all the information about a particular person or situation?  If you haven’t, I guess I’m the only sorry person out there who has made that mistake far too many times throughout my life.

Dr. Bernie S. Siegel is my commentator today as I quote directly from his 365 Prescriptions for the Soul that starts with an Indian parable:

Three blind men touch an elephant. The first blind man was holding the elephant’s leg and said, “I think an elephant is like the trunk of a tree.” The second blind man was holding the elephant’s trunk and said, “An elephant is like a large snake.” The third blind man said, “An elephant is like a great wall,” while touching the elephant’s side.

You all know the story about the elephant that walked into an area where many blind men were living. They all wanted to know what the elephant was like. So when the elephant was captured, they were allowed to touch it. Of course their descriptions varied depending on the part of the elephant they touched. Read the rest of this entry »

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Focus on Caring: Boundaries that constrain us

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Box

How are you defined?  What kind of box would you fit into?  Here are a few characteristics some might assign to me:

  • White American
  • Baby Boomer
  • Pacific Northwest resident
  • Wife
  • Mother
  • Sister, aunt, niece, cousin, friend
  • Seattle Seahawks super fan

Box with color cubesAll items on that list are correct but if that’s all that people see about me, they’ve greatly reduced the trueness of who I am because my box also contains the following:

  • spiritual but definitely not religious person
  • free-thinker (is that redundant?)
  • writer of things that matter to me
  • advocate of the elderly and just about everyone else who crosses my path in life

Setting boundaries between who I am, and who you are, benefits no one.

Compassion facesLeonard Pitts, Jr. spoke at a TEDx event in February of this year.  His 20 minute talk, The Boundaries We Choose, is readily available on YouTube so I strongly suggest you seek it out.  He suggests, “Our labels shouldn’t define who we are and place us in a strict box.”  He then spoke of labels one might put in his box: African American, Christian, Husband, Father, Fan of the LA Lakers.  If you’ve read any of Mr. Pitts’ literary pieces in the Miami Herald or any of his books, you already know that he is more than the contents his box may imply.  (To be sure, there is a very valid reason why he was named the 2004 Pulitzer Price Winner for Commentary.)

During his February TEDx talk, he provided a fabulous story that illustrates the downside of labels or identifying markers.  I’ll let you discover that beautiful and clarifying story by watching his TEDx video, but for the purposes of this blog posting, I will provide you with one of his statements from that video.

Our bonds are more than connecting with certain markers that define people.

Examine, if you will, your way of describing something that happened to you during the course of your day.

Cup of CoffeeWhen you relay a story about a person taking his or her time in line at the Starbucks store, holding everyone up for far too long a time, do you define the person this way?

This Asian woman in front of me acted like she owned the damn place.  She was so selfish, taking her damn time ordering her fancy drink when all I wanted was a damn cup of brewed coffee.

Or did you simply say

This damn person in front of me took so much time ordering a fancy damn cup of coffee that I  just about ran out of time to get my plain and simple cup of brewed coffee.

Read the rest of this entry »

Cup-gate

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Football 2I’d like to shift the focus from footballs and their degree of inflation, to “indecent” gestures that draw fines.  In particular, let’s look at the actions of running back, Marshawn Lynch of the Seattle Seahawks.  This beast of a Seahawks player has been fined twice this season – so far – for “grabbing his crotch” after making touchdowns.  Interesting.

The NFL is so hell-bent on harassing Marshawn, that in addition to fining him for not talking to the media in the manner expected of him, they’ve taken to harassing him for adjusting his cup in public.

Wait a minute, Irene.  What he did was obscene.  He touched his crotchal area and moved it up and down.

Read the rest of this entry »

Teamwork: playing nice together

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Children with Seahawks colorsAs a child, do you remember being admonished to “play nice together” with your siblings or friends?  Or perhaps you’re a grandparent who has encouraged your grandchildren to behave better with others by using that same phrase.  I like it, and I think playing nice together needs to be a part of our daily life strategy. Read the rest of this entry »

I’ll write what I damn well please

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Where has freedom of the press, and freedom of speech gone?

Must we concern ourselves with offending every element of society – friendly or adverse – with the words we choose to express ourselves?  to express our views?  Whether political or religious views; whether mundane topics such as fashion or dining; are we supposed to produce euphemistic journalism so as to avoid ruffling the feathers of another person’s beliefs or opinions?

That’s not my plan.
Read the rest of this entry »

2014: The year of no ideas a/k/a red states vs blue states

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2014: The year of no ideas | Opinion | The Seattle Times.

Opposing sides of the field
Opposing sides of the field (Pixabay)

Syndicated columnist, Leonard Pitts Jr. did it again: he wrote about issues that most of us are very concerned about and at least for this one reader/writer, he spoke for me.  The above article addresses the precise way that I feel – and that many others feel – about red versus blue.  Here’s a few quotes from the article that you should take the time to read in its entirety.

First a quote from President Obama, a quote that he premiered ten years ago and reiterated after the recent mid-term elections:

“I continue to believe,” said President Obama, “we are simply more than a collection of red and blue states.  We are the United States.”

Now a few paragraphs from Mr. Pitts’ article addressing that statement:

“People for whom everything is about politics tend to forget that most of us do not see the world that way.  Red or blue, left or right, most Americans simply want a government that works, that gets things done, and a nation that stands for something, that means something in the world beyond just a parcel of land where a bunch of people live.  This is why Obama’s words electrified 10 years ago; they seemed to connect people to ideals larger than their own lives.

“And it is why the same words seem flatter than left-out cola 10 years later, the hope of larger ideals having been sequestered, government shutdowned, PAC’d and gridlocked down into a sobering realization of how truly small American politics can be.

“Cowardice squared off against cynicism Tuesday [2014 election day] and cynicism won.  But there is something wrong when those are the only options on the ballot.

“We are supposed to be united states, the president says.  But there are too many days lately when a sentiment that once grounded and ennobled feels fanciful and unlikely.”

And now my statement:

Whether we’re talking about State/local government or Federal – year after year, too many employees of each have failed to do their job.  These employees don’t work behind desks in the hallowed walls of government; they square off on the football field where at least two opposing sides refuse to give an inch for fear that the opponents’ goals might be reached.

And I might add, goals that could very well benefit the American citizenry, but are turned down simply because the other team proposed them.

Doesn’t that seem shameful to you?

 

R.B. Bailey Jr.’s Blog – A site you all should visit

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R.B. Bailey Jr.’s blog comes close to being a one-size fits all website because of its inclusion of multi-facted and varied postings that attract the viewing needs of a broad population.

Check out and follow his blog as I did just the other day
Check out and follow his blog as I started doing just the other day.

I hope you’ll visit – and even follow – his site.  It deserves to be in your Favorites folder.