Civility

Rebel, It’s Time to Care Less

These days it’s difficult not to focus on the vast array of outrageous news that bombards us from far too many sources. There are the President’s non stop mostly ridiculous and outrageous tweets that cable news and social media are intent on repeating ad nauseam. What if we consciously decide to stop giving up our serenity by paying so much  attention to him? I have wasted countless energy discussing how he and his administration are going to destroy our democracy, the environment and start World War III! I’ve recently come to the realization that we will endure this presidency, survive and most likely thrive in the future.

All the mass shootings are tragic and quite disturbing indeed . And what about the threat of terrorism that politicians want us to believe we are in imminent danger of at any moment. These two issues are are almost one and the same.  While they are real dangers, chances are we are more likely to have a piano fall on us than be killed by a terrorist attack or mass shooting. Don’t misunderstand me, I am an advocate for reasonable gun control. What I am trying to convey is that these issues loom so large because they have become viral, grabbing our attention from whatever screen we happen to have our face in. If we gave much less attention to them, they wouldn’t necessarily stop occurring but much of the energy that fuels them would dissipate.

You see whether it’s Trump, the Terrorists or the Mass Shooters, what they all share is an obsession with being the center of attention and the media especially viral social media only feed their obsession. 

When we place too much of our focus on the sensational and all too often disturbing events that are in our daily news feeds, we give up our connection to our soul’s inner tranquility. I’m not saying to bury your head in the sand, I care about mankind’s well being. Just place more of your focus on truth beauty and goodness and care about the  best things in life that really matter. 

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The Winter of My Discontent

It's February in Western New York State and the skies seem even grayer this year than in winter's past. I find myself talking with friends and colleagues that are experiencing a new type of anxiety and depression. I must admit, I'm extremely uneasy as well. Some of this can still be attributed to the weather and lack of sunshine.  However, I'm feeling that much of the distress has to do with our new president and his radical agenda. I get it, the Trump phenomenon was a rebellion. That's what got so many disenfranchised people so fired up to support and vote for him. He ran against a corrupt establishment promising to "drain the swamp" that he claimed had been running our government for too long.  As someone who typically admires rebellious men and women who act as change agents, I am deeply troubled by this so called "rebel" who is now occupying the White House. The kind of rebel I admire is highly principled, honorable and cares about a cause greater than his or herself. Trump is an unhinged con man, who cares only about himself and his "ratings". Since election day and his stunning upset victory, I have experienced a wide range of emotions. I've felt outraged and terrified for my children's future. I have conversations on a daily basis with many people that can't believe this is happening in the United States of America. In the midst of this very dark time, I see a light emerging on the horizon in the form of a rebellion I haven't seen since my youth, when I actively protested the Viet Nam War. How I plan to participate going forward is in the spirit of two of the greatest rebels of the 20th century, Mahatma Gandhi and the Reverend Martin Luther King. These spiritual giants affected great change in India and the USA without any violence whatsoever, never firing a single shot! I recently had an awakening and realized I couldn't fight anger with anger . I will be actively involved in resisting the Trump agenda with civility and kindness . My commitment is to do so in the spirit of non-violent love and compassion following the examples of Gandhi and the Reverend King.

Rebellion '16.....The Presidential Election Outcome

I was stunned by Donald Trump's victory and have been on an emotional roller coaster all week. I’m a politics junkie, have been since JFK was President. I’ve always been intrigued by elections, especially by the Presidential races. This year is very different and like many of us I’m distressed by the toxic tone and lack of civility that has taken hold of our country.

The race has a had quite a rebellious tone, a rallying cry against a corrupt system on both sides. Many people especially young millennials were embracing Bernie Sanders’ progressive message during the primary season. On the other side, the disenfranchised white working class along with many who were just fed up with the Republican “elite” got fired up by Trump’s nationalist message. As it turned out Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee became the symbol of the establishment that people are so angry with. Many progressives were  challenged to support her if for no other reason than to prevent a Trump presidency and too many just didn't show up to vote.

Now that the election is finally over, my intense election fatigue has become sheer exhaustion. I fear for our future and have concern over whether we can ever have bipartisan respectful and civil discourse again. Election-related stress is running rampant among supporters on both sides.

Perhaps instead of each side angrily trying to belittle and prove each other wrong, a true rebellion would be about coming to understand the opposing views on the issues and how to best solve the country’s problems.

The people have spoken, we need time to heal.  As a country we have always survived and hopefully will rise above the adversity. I remain very concerned, pray that the rancor will die down, we will become a kinder, more civil and respectful nation sooner than later.