Make Love, Not Hate

Revolution_JFKI grew up in an era when mothers didn’t have to worry about their children playing outside, even after dark. When neighbors gathered together for block parties. When nobody worried over much about leaving a door unlocked, whether to their home or car. When you could sit on your porch without having to worry about a drive-by shooting. I’m not saying it was idyllic, but things were simpler.

Although I missed the civil rights movement and most of the hippie era, I’ve witnessed the gradual disintegration of that lifestyle. And last week’s violence has left me badly shaken. It’s taken me several days to write this post, though, because I didn’t want to write in the heat of the moment as so many have. So I did some research in the hopes of  gaining a better understanding of events, particularly over the last decade.

 

 

We’re All the Same. People are People.

This blogger makes some valid points about how we judge people. Her description of her parents brought back memories of mine.

THE SHINBONE STAR

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It’s not just some white Americans who are phobic and/or racist. Much of the world feels the same way about “their own.” It’s easy to fall into complacency, of sorts, or put on blinders, when confronted with people not like ourselves. Many years ago, while in the Peace Corps, I stopped by a remote stream in Sierra Leone way out in the bush, a perfect stop to wash the dirt off my face, and when I got down there it turned out there was a group of kids playing in the water. When they looked up and saw me, they all threw their arms over their heads and ran SCREAMING into the bush. They had never seen a white person. Later I was told they thought I was “Mommy Water,” the albino witch who lives in streams and rivers, and would come to drown them.

Some of us get afraid.

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Scoop 2: Hot off the press…

The book really is wonderful and fun. I can’t even write a blog post on my smartphone or tablet. Too used to using a computer.

Diary of an Internet Nobody.(Archive)

After my unexpectedtime in The Sunat the weekend, the article that I did know about comes out tomorrow in the North Devon Gazette and I can preview it for you now, as I took a screenshot of the piece from their website.

I think it only fair to add that I did not say I was “enamoured with the social elements” at any point; I think I said that I liked the Android operating system.

I’m still not sure what the fascination is with me using my phone for everything(I was told by Linda G Hill that 50 Shades of Grey was written on a BlackBerry, so I’m hardly unique) but I’ll take all the publicity I can get, thank you very much.

Speaking of which;

***** BUY MY BOOK! *****

IT’S REALLY, REALLY GOOD, HONEST.

Too much?

Ok, how a couple of nice easy links?

ONE…

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2016 Year End Reflections

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The first thing that comes to my mind when I think about the approaching end of 2016 is “Thank God, it’s finally over!” Logic tells me, though, not to get too hasty because in reality it is nothing more than the tick of a few seconds into a new year, nothing more.

This has been a rough year for the world due to the terrorist attacks in Beirut, Lebanon, Paris, and other cities. In the US, we’ve been repeatedly shaken by the violence by and against police officers, in addition to mass shootings.

The US and the world has witnessed a historical election year, one that may well have set back our small advances in racial relations. I didn’t vote for Trump, but I voted and that’s what matters. I pray every day that Trump proves to be a better president than I expect.

We’ve also experienced an extraordinary year of celebrity deaths, many of them too young. The most recent deaths of Carrie Fisher and her mother, Debbie Reynolds, only a day apart has been the most impactful for me. True, it’s a fact of life that the older you get, the more you witness death among those familiar to you, but it will take a while to absorb the fact that these two lovely, talented women are gone.

On a personal level, we said goodbye to a nephew, a soldier who was one of the estimated 22 who take their lives every day. But that sad farewell was leavened by the fact that it woke up his father to not take anyone, any day, for granted and the relationship with his remaining children has improved.

On the plus side, we welcomed three new little girls into the family and it was just announced that a fourth will be arriving in July of 2017. Her parents are over the moon as up to this point all their married children had only borne boys.

On a final note, there is much to look forward to in 2017 and I will definitely have hurdles to make in several areas, but I’m working on it. For now, as the waning hours of 2016 pass, I’m just going to keep rolling on.


This was written as part of #SOCS

SoCS badge 2016-17

Merry Christmas From Southeast Texas, USA

Okay, I know I’ve been absent for quite a while, but I will be back next year.

Because we rarely have snow in Southeast Texas, and this year we are having abnormally warm, though humid, weather with everyone running around in shorts and tank tops, I though y’all might enjoy the following greeting.

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I also couldn’t resist sharing this updated version of an old Gene Autry song, “Merry Christmas From Texas Y’all [You all]”.

 

Why Your Vote Matters

“I’d rather vote for what I want and not get it, than vote for what I don’t want and get it.” 
— Eugene V. Debs, five-time presidential candidate of the Socialist Party of America

Lord, help me! How did a liberal evolve from a family full of conservatives? More specifically, I am a Centrist with decidedly progressive leanings.

As the world is aware, we in the United States are nearing the end of one of the most volatile presidential election years we’ve ever seen. So much so that I fear even more people than ever will stay away from the polls. Myself, I will place my vote on Friday during our early voting period, but I will still be on pins and needles until November 9th.

It has always been a point of pride for me to vote in local, state and federal elections. I remember how proud I was the first time I registered to vote, although I would not be able to vote in a presidential election for another three years.

I worry about the Millenials and Gen-Xers who feel their votes won’t matter, so they won’t vote. But for those who have decided to stay away from the polls, let me assure you . . . your vote DOES matter, whether it is for a major party candidate or a third-party candidate. Wasted votes have power, too.

Admittedly, I was concerned that those who do show up to vote, being so unhappy with either of the major party choices, will, by voting for a third-party candidate or a write-in, end up assuring a win for a major party candidate who might otherwise not have won. Such votes for third-party candidates or write-ins have traditionally been considered “wasted” votes. But then I did some research. And this is what I learned.

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The Power of the Wasted Vote

A common theme during presidential elections is the idea that people who do not vote for one of the major party candidates are wasting their vote. This idea is passed around so frequently and casually that it is likely many of the people proposing it never really stop to think about it. Unfortunately, those accused of wasting their vote may mount a meek defense, acknowledging that while they may be wasting their vote, it’s okay because they’re voting their conscience. Aside from the fact that telling someone their vote is wasted is condescending, this logic lacks a basic understanding of what voting means. Voting is more than a simple act of math; voting is people actively taking responsibility for choosing their leaders and representatives. Therefore, you do not vote for who you think will win, you vote for who you think should win. The reality is the “wasted” vote has value, it wields power; it is intrinsically the same as the vote cast for the winner.

The Myth of the Wasted Vote  

Major party candidates try to paint third-party candidates as sideshow acts that deflect from the real show. This characterization is not only harmful to democracy, but also untrue. Harmful, because it is attempting to silence perfectly valid points of view. Untrue because the Electoral College and 12th Amendment guarantee that all votes hold the same potential, especially in the event those votes return a plurality rather than a majority.

The verb waste is defined by The Oxford English Dictionary as: to use or expend carelessly, extravagantly or to no purpose; to expend on an unappreciative recipient; to fail to make full or good use of.  Implicit in these definitions is the suggestion that whatever is being wasted has value. If one cannot really waste something that has no value, then the trope “your candidate cannot win; therefore, your vote is wasted” is a non-sequitor. It assumes that there is only value in the votes cast for the winner.

Telling people that they are wasting their vote is a fear tactic. And since many people are more motivated to avoid failure than they are motivated to achieve success it is a sound tactic, but it’s logic is dangerous. Feeling powerless and being motivated by fear are traits more commonly associated with totalitarian regimes, not democracies.

Every vote has value. One can vote for the eventual loser, for a candidate who reneges on their promises, or for an individual who appears to have little chance of winning, but none of these actions are tantamount to wasting one’s vote. Conversely, if you’re only voting for the candidate that is most likely to win and, in doing so, voting against your own beliefs, then you are truly wasting your vote.

More than Statistics

While each vote has statistical importance, there is more to a vote than simple mathematics. The election is not a horse race, it is not about picking the winners and the losers — it is about participating in democracy. That is why you do not simply vote for who you think will win, you vote for who you believe will do the best job based on the issues that are important to you. Your vote is your voice. If you are merely voting for the candidate most likely to win you are self-censoring.

From Either/Or to Neither/Nor, the Power of Influence

The presidential election is more than an either/or proposition. Third-party candidates certainly face an uphill battle before they will be seated in the oval office. However, that does not mean that votes for those candidates are wasted votes; every vote has the power to influence. Third-party candidates challenge the dual party system and add alternate viewpoints that can lead to a more robust national discussion.

People don’t need to justify their votes, regardless of their choice. Every vote cast has the power to change the direction of the national conversation; some just have a more direct impact than others.

I’m out

If you’re not already familiar with Linda’s writing, this is a great opportunity to get acquainted and add a great book to your collection.

I’m out. Of money, that is. It’s official. I went to the grocery store today to pick up some essentials and I got the dreaded “Insufficient Funds” screen on the debit machine. Though it’s killing me to do so, I’d like to ask a favour.

If you haven’t already, please buy my book. If you have, or if you have a friend who might like it, please direct them to it. Reblog, share on social media, have a parade down the main street of your town or city, whatever it is you normally do to get attention. If I can get to $100 in royalties, Amazon will pay me next month – they hold smaller amounts.

If you know me, you know I never ask for anything. I hate asking for anything. Please, just share this post. And if you have 99¢ and want to read a really funny book…

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