Monday, December 31, 2012

Why do we resist change?

A friend exclaimed my daughter couldn't be a mother yet; in his mind, she was still "a small girl-child with a potty-chair!" not a married 35-year-old. Another wondered if there were anti-wrinkle exercises to keep hers at bay; at 86, she's earned the right to wear hers proudly but still she worries that at 90 they might overwhelm her.

Change. It's our permanent condition and yet, too often, we tend to live as if the world remains the same as our sweet memories, but loving toddlers become sulky teens just as surely as functioning appliances suddenly spark and fail.

Credit: Photobucket
This past year has been one of upheaval for me, and much of my family has experienced the impact of that universal constant. I've relocated from one coast to the other, but the beauty of change is that friends in NY, CT, TN, TX, IL, AL, wherever, are still as close as my computer.

We each have endured the realities of deteriorating loved ones, the added burdens of new responsibilities, the financial confusion of income loss or added expenses. My grandmother claimed "What can't be cured must be endured," yet just as the world has weathered countless variable winds, we spring back each day with confidence that tomorrow can be better.

Change. It may be our inevitable fate but it's a destiny ever-tempered by hope and improved by our own ever-available effort.
Can't get COMMENTS to work? Email with date or Wonder to and I'll post for you!

Monday, December 10, 2012

How can you honor Human Rights today?

In honor of World Human Rights day, you can just sit there and watch this video:

Or you can write for Human Rights with Amnesty International.

Can't get COMMENTS to work? Email with date or Wonder to and I'll post for you!

Monday, November 12, 2012

What's wrong with focusing on the Achievement Gap?

As Camika Royal adjures in Please Stop Using the Phrase 'Achievement Gap', "Words count because they indicate place, position, and power."

I've never heard the phrase "Achievement Gap," perhaps because my daughter graduated in 1995 near the top of her Tennessee high school class, but I know exactly how important Camika's issue is to students and to the future of our nation. It's not "just semantics."

Studies have shown that when students fill in demographic data prior to testing, their scores are affected by the categorizations by which they label themselves. Race and gender carry heavy weight in the psyche.

English is a sexist language; perhaps all existing languages are. But even more subtly pervasive than the "universal He" of its linguistics are the social rules society embeds in all aspects of culture. Just as that Kings always outweigh Queens in cards is simply understood, Black does not merely label total lightwave  absorption but assumes a breadth of negative connotations in every comparative sphere. To persist in the stark Black and White divide of America does a social disservice to our purported melting pot heritage and the entire nation of its descendants.

As Camika states, "Language counts because it suggests, if not highlights, the thinking underneath the words used." It's not just the "achievement gap" phraseology that we should be questioning but the underlying assumptions pervading our entire social structure -- from history's biases to the marriage "partnership" to corporate "personhood" to the hierarchical inversion of democracy's powerbase we're all expected to struggle to claim our rightful place in what used to be termed the (white male) landed aristocracy.

Indeed, it's all about "place, position, and power." A different focus, a different priority, a different standard inevitably earns not kudos for creative initiative or alternative possibilities or innovation but correction, sanction, and remedial action. Because different is always judged inferior, the focus of assistance is never "How can we help this person/group/approach to maximize the focal potential?" but rather "What’s wrong with them?"

And in a nutshell, that is what's wrong with most social programs. They imply that a single standard is appropriate for everyone. They require a uniform approach to resolution. They judge, criticize, and penalize difference rather than evaluate, assist, and improve within the context of the specific person, approach, focus, priority, and unique potential.

For "Achievement Gap" corrective programs to be meaningful and productive, they need to stop  labeling underperforming subsets as deficient and instead see them as signals that the uniform standard doesn't apply. If we could evaluate every situation for this societal Achievement Gap, then resources could be effectively directed toward maximizing the existing potential of each person and group in a unique, meaningful, and collaborative way.
Can't get COMMENTS to work? Email with date or Wonder to and I'll post for you!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

What would make mindset generational?

I'm sorry to burst Diego Palma's youthful "Going Into This Election,  Our Generation Sees the World Completely Differently" bubble, but it's not generational.

There are plenty of adults with decades of living under their belts who agree with Diego, and I venture to say that there are an unfortunate number of his age-peers who would side with his counterpointed Billy (Graham).

Mindset isn't categorizable by age or experience or any sort of standard demographic. Rather the ability to see the world from others' perspectives and respect their viewpoints is a result of the ability to actually THINK for oneself.

Sadly, learning to think for oneself is not encouraged in the American educational system or in any of the church institutions Billy and his ilk sponsor. Rather, children are too often taught by catechism, with multiple guess questions hinting at the right answers rather than thought-producing essay explorations.

Rote interpretation according to tradition is more apt to leave the student indoctrinated in conformity to an outdated -- biblical, so to speak -- outlook on the world, one in which accepting other philosophical perspectives and other moral choices is at best discouraged and more often strictly prohibited.

While I'd love to live in the world inhabited by Diego's generational friends, I'm skeptical whether there are really enough of them ready to vote their conscience to make this election a plebiscite for true freedom, personal liberty, and free choice. I am one in the older generations who thinks that day is worth looking forward to.

Can't get COMMENTS to work? Email with date or Wonder to and I'll post for you!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Trick or Treat?

I moved in September. Determined to have my vote in this crucial election, I filled in my voter registration along with my drivers license forms and submitted both at the DMV back on Sept.25th. Last week, I wondered why I hadn't gotten a voting card or information on where to vote. I went online and then called -- only to discover they never processed my application!

Worse yet, the registration deadline was 12 hours before I checked (a full 2 weeks before the election). There is no way to research to find out where my paperwork went or what went wrong, and I have no recourse.

If I'd realized I had such an early deadline I'd certainly have checked it sooner. So now I can't vote in this crucial election

The claim is that the DMV didn't send in my forms, but in this election climate you have to wonder how many others registering as Independent voters had a similar experience. 

Anyway, I decided to contribute to the election to make my voice heard. The League of Conservation Voters supports causes related to climate change and the environment and will triple donations made though Nov.2. I hope you'll join me in combatting the dirty tricks of this election with a donation treat to the LCV.


Can't get COMMENTS to work? Email with date or Wonder to and I'll post for you!

Monday, October 29, 2012

What can we do about Sandy?

With Sandy bearing down on the East Coast in reprise of last year's Irene, the presidential candidates are paying heed enough to suspend campaigning. What we really need is candidates for all our political offices to pay heed not just to this one storm but to climate change and all its terrible ramifications.

Climate change is real, and it is affecting our nation and our world. It's time the naysayers drop their outdated rhetoric and pay attention to the facts that affect us all.

Learn more from trained scientists who have the expertise to know what they're talking about, and do what you can to reduce your personal and our national toll on the atmosphere we all share.

It's our earth, and our leaders need to take responsibility for cleaning up our national impact on the environment. It's not too late to elect those who will have a positive influence

Can't get COMMENTS to work? Email with date or Wonder to and I'll post for you!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Who should you vote for?

History is a record of the power points of the past. Historic presidential campaigns are a record of the leaders' calls to stimulate people to move toward a united target, a destiny to manifest. Recall JFK asking us what we could do for our country; remember Johnson leading the drive to forge a Great Society.

Since then it's all been trickle down. Instead of holding our guiding light up to lead the way forward, we've dimmed its brightness with repetitious Middle East forays and covert Latin and South American interference and submission to multinational corporate manipulation.

Our country's role in international progress has been reflected in our nation's leadership. America has become mired in its history and the centuries-old language of our founding documents; we've forgotten that progress is only possible with change.

What we need now is not a presidential candidate who promises to take us back to old glory days, because what was forward-moving and inspiring in the past is just history now. What we need is a candidate who has the vision to see a new world and can help us imagine the better life we'll have by working together to make it happen.

Today changes as rapidly as the speed of global communication. The world has become a complex interactive network. When we think we can become more than we were, possibilities grow like synaptic synthesis.

It's time to unite in a vision of vibrant growth, to challenge the people to become more than we are, to foster innovation, to be willing to invest in the future with an infrastructure that can support explosive growth. We need a president who champions the power of the people and dreams of equity in opportunity and commits to ensuring equal access to fundamental human rights, freedom of personal choice, justice for every accused, and a nation that doesn't just fulfill its goals but continually expands its potential.

Each American voter has the responsibility to elect leaders who envision the future we yearn to live.
Can't get COMMENTS to work? Email with date or Wonder to and I'll post for you!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tired of Corporations thinking they are People?

If you're like me and think this nation's People deserve to actually be represented by our elected officials, you'll be glad to know that this is Resolutions Week across the country. Like-minded People from coast to coast are raising awareness and working to take back our national and state legislatures from the grip of Corporate influence.

Washington politics doesn't have to be like the last decades of Corporate dominance. Rather, we could return to the vision of a country run by We the PEOPLE. If you want People to have more voice in how this nation is run, support Resolutions Week in your area. Sign up NOW!

Together, We the People CAN overturn the erroneous (and euphemistically titled) "Citizens United" ruling and put Corporations back in their proper place on the national agenda -- but it'll take and Act of Congress! Get out and influence YOUR legislators today.

Be a constituent who counts!
Can't get COMMENTS to work? Email with date or Wonder to and I'll post for you!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

How can you support America's Common Welfare?

Taxes are what we contribute to ensure our common welfare. Taxes aren't about individual welfare, and tax breaks aren't either. When the wealthiest benefit and the poorest suffer, our common welfare -- the well-being of our society -- suffers.

The Bush-era tax cuts were exactly the opposite of what a conservative financial policy would support. Increased expenses should never be accompanied by intentional income reduction. Deficit spending is the inevitable result, and to enable continued deficit budgeting is simply an outrage to taxpayers eking by on minimum wages yet paying their fair share of taxes.

It's time for Congress to remember its constituency is real people back in the homestates and not big-monied corporate pseudo-people. The majority of We the REAL People in every district is middle to lower class.

Ending the Bush tax cuts for those making over $250,000 a year is equitable, fair to all voters, and legitimately fiscally conservative. It's time for every good America to stand up and ask our Senators and Representative to do their parts to support the common welfare of America by ending the Bush tax cuts for the very wealthy.

Take action to contact your Senators and Representative today.
Can't get COMMENTS to work? Email with date or Wonder to and I'll post for you!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

How does a good American debate?

In America, people disagree with each other without one party demeaning the other.

Sadly, talk show host Rush Limbaugh doesn't seem to have that American spirit. His recent attack on Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke for voicing her support of health insurance coverage for contraception goes beyond rabble rousing for his cause to character slander. This is a serious offense that his broadcast channel should not tolerate.

If Rush cannot tone down his improper rabid rhetoric, Clear Channel needs to tune him out of their bandwidth entirely. If you agree, sign the petition.

Rush goes far too far to stir up the extremists his show caters to. A good American would debate on the merits of the topic with proper decorum, not fictitious slurs. It's time for Rush's broadcasts to shape up or be shut off.

Can't get COMMENTS to work? Email with date or Wonder to and I'll post for you!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Why worry?

Worry is the neverending bane of most people's existence. It wastes time, effort, and often resources; and in the end it gets you nowhere (except into more stress) and solves nothing.

All right, all you worrywarts, here's your permission to stop worrying about at least a few of the things on your worry list:

And after you master not worrying about those 10 items, you'll have the skills to figure out how to stop worrying about all the rest of your worry list as well.
Can't get COMMENTS to work? Email with date or Wonder to and I'll post for you!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Why do we limit our Valentines?

It's Valentine's Day, that time to revisit the old couple's quandary of how to make the day romantic – or worse the day you're reminded you're 50% short on couple status. It's enough to make just about everyone feel as deflated as those hearts Cupid keeps puncturing.

If you've discovered that "smarmy greeting cards, overpriced roses," and stress aren't very romantic, you're probably ready for a better Valentine’s Day idea – and you're in luck. Network for Good has suggested an improvement:  Generosity Day.
Make your day about love, action, and human connection.
We don't need to let Cupid maim another soul. Each of us can choose to share our love more generously. Everyone deserves a happy heart – and not just one day a year.
Can't get COMMENTS to work? Email with date or Wonder to and I'll post for you!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Why do we live in shameful silence?

Guilt is the assumption of responsibility for violating stated or presumed values of right and wrong behavior. Shame is the pervasive perception of being entirely unacceptable and fundamentally damaged at core. As children, we feel guilty if we took cookies without permission; we feel shame if we are irredeemably flawed: thieves who can't ever respect mother's ownership of the cookiejar.

As adults, our sense of guilt and shame are embedded in our psyches, enabling us to conform to the basic values of society. By virtue of our American citizenship, our fundamental behavioral expectations are generally governed by the rights, freedoms, and obligations set forth in the Constitution.

For more than 200 years, Americans have upheld this honorable system. Our elected representatives codify these values with legislation that enables everyone to understand our rights and obligates the correction of any wrongs; and the President must concur to authorize these laws to take effect. Our courts review alleged transgressions, determine violations, and order corrective measures; and it is the right and responsibility of every citizen to ensure that abuse of our values is adjudicated promptly.

As a nation principled in this judicial equality, it is a fundamental founding right of every accused individual to be charged under law and brought to timely trial. Even during times of prejudice and adversity, detainment was lawfully managed. Yet for the past decade, Americans have tolerated egregious violations of this rule of law.

Shamefully today, America remains guilty of depriving thousands of prisoners of their Constitutional and human rights. By indefinitely incarcerating prisoners without charge in inhumane conditions, even subjecting them to torture, America has not only violated international standards, we have violated our own stated laws of rightful behavior.

Even worse, we Americans have allowed our nation to become fundamentally damaged at core. We have tolerated behavior that ignores our own rules of law and the Constitution's system of checks and balances. In fear-induced capitulation, we disregarded our constitutional values, and for ten years, we have perpetuated that shame by allowing Guantánamo prison to operate outside American law and without international sanction.

Torture, indefinite incarceration, and deprivation of human and legal rights are not American values. Keeping this prison operational is a visible and disreputable reminder of our national guilt and shame. Perpetuating this travesty of constitutional justice is not only immoral and illegal, it is counterproductive if America ever wants to reclaim its standing as a model of democracy in action.

On this shameful anniversary of America's most costly human rights catastrophe, Amnesty International points out, 
"There is a simple solution to closing Guantánamo – either charge detainees and give them a fair trial in US federal court, or release them."

It's time to overcome your shame and become proactively pro-American again. Support Amnesty International's human chain of protest in Washington DC: add your signature to the petition to close Guantánamo.
Can't get COMMENTS to work? Email with date or Wonder to and I'll post for you!