Who Will Survive Unscathed?

I just love it when a journalist tells it like it is… (see the link)

My favorite section was on the IRS and the difficult job they have.  Like any other government branch, the IRS is made up of humans and humans often make bad decisions, especially when there are new or complicated policies to manage.

What I find most odd about this latest round of “scandal” is the comparisons being made between President Obama and President Nixon. Nixon was a tightfisted president when it came to decision making and oversight. He trusted few.  Obama seems to trust many and seeks to let the professionals in each bureau run the day-to-day.  This is what causes him so many problems – he trusts people to do their jobs.

Mistakes happen in every administration, that is a given. There has never been nor will there ever be a “perfect” president, not even ole George Washington himself was without flaws. Sometimes mistakes get reported, sometimes they don’t, and in some cases mistakes are covered up – hopefully in all cases mistakes are motivators for change and better training.

Mistakes will happen but if WE THE PEOPLE keep going on witch hunts and continue on a path of losing faith every time someone makes a mistake – including the people in the Oval Office and in Congress – then WE THE PEOPLE will be making the biggest mistake of all. Our lack of faith in our system is the greatest threat to our nation! When bad things happen, when mistakes are made, and when threats are not halted at our borders, instead of rallying we gnash our teeth and rend our clothes in anger over our governments failure. But our government is of the people and by the people. People make mistakes  – some from good intentions and other from arrogance, but this is nothing new.  The only thing new is the speed and volume of information availability. Mistakes now become public fodder even before they are fully investigated. Human mistakes!

Just as the laws are made to protect the common man, those same laws protect the common man who works for the government whether they be elected, appointed, or hired by a bureaucratic supervisor. During a witch hunt, would you voluntarily give up your right to remain silent? So why then would you expect any public servant or employee to give up that same right? Instant news and the public outcry that follows instant news do not negate the right to a fair hearing.

Seeking change, disagreeing with policy, disliking personalities – these things may direct your voting choice but they should not cause you to distrust those who are elected, nor should they cause you to lose faith in the system. During the election cycle there is much complaint about mudslinging and the lack of truth, but where is the outrage and disgust over such underhanded politically motivated tactics during the non-election cycle (if there is such a period anymore)? Hiding political agendas and mudslinging behind demands for transparency and demands for instant details is appalling. Even when mistakes are less mistake and more intended actions, the rights of individuals and the protection of innocents must be considered. Even a witch hunt targeted at one, may cause unintended casualties and unintended consequences. People make up our government and their lives and their freedoms COUNT!

In the days of old, the witch hunt often targeted innocents, and just as often ended up targeting the very people responsible for the witch hunt’s origin. When January 2017 rolls around, who will have survived this latest witch hunt unscathed? Will it be WE THE PEOPLE or will WE perish due to our own mistakes rather than from those we perceive made by others?

Questions… Taking Sides and Losing Unity

Is there a danger in supporting YOUR TEAM rather than supporting OUR Team? Have we lost the OUR NATION and become irrevocably divided in a contest of finding fault? Has history become only the Myths and Legends with which we batter and attack the opponent? Or can history still teach us something about the reality of human fallibility and the imperfect nature of trying to do our best and falling short of expectations? Can truth ever be found if we only see what we want to see, only hear what we want to hear, and only perceive what we already perceive?

Are we still trying to learn, grow, evaluate, and improve – or are we simply taking sides?



“Note to Democrats and Republicans: This Is Not a Game” by Mathew Dowd

Saith Me… To Stand not Fight

It is a good and noble thing to stand up for that in which you believe. Sometimes you may even need to fight for your beliefs, but remember when we choose to fight, we are seeking to change the will of others. Changing someone else’s will is not simply changing their mind, but changing their desire to resist the result you propose.

The decision to fight, to try to change someone’s will, should not be decided upon lightly.  Even a fight of words can result in harm and injury.  Before you start a fight, make sure your fight is for something in which you are willing inflict injury to achieve.  Be sure the thing you are willing to injure others over has a great enough value that it will offset the damage you will cause.

We can stand on principles without resorting to a fight, but to do so we much have respect for the principles upon which others stand. In almost all cases, it will be better to stand than to fight.  It is a profound task to figure out the exceptions.

We Need a Hero

I went to bed last night thinking how sad it is the way people go about fitting in with a crowd, often putting down others to do so.  Popularity is a mighty strong enticement for our youth.  We try to teach them to ‘be themselves’ and not copy the behavior of others.

As adults, do we follow the same advice?  In our attempts to gain the favor of one group, do we feel we must offend someone else?

As youth, our influence on others is often limited, either by locale or by relative anonymity, but our adult influence is often greater than we realize.

It is probably safe to say that we all slip-up time to time by putting down others in order to fit in with a crowd, but do we take the time to rectify our actions?  When we get caught, do we apologize? Do we do the very thing we ask our children to do?  Or do we feel we are justified in our speech or actions more than our children are?

During an election, much will be said that will irritate others.  Much will be said for the shear campaign value of it.  This is, and has been, part of our political culture, but is there a line we cross when we move from putting down our opponent and instead put down our opponent’s followers, the very people we want to represent?

While Mitt Romney is the latest to be called out for this, by no means is he the first to attempt gaining favor of a smaller group of citizens by insulting a larger group. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, I am going to conclude that if one of his children or grandchildren acted in a similar manner, he would require them to make amends.  This is probably the greatest reason for my sadness today.  For as a fellow Christian, especially as a fellow Mormon, and certainly as a fellow citizen, I recognize most of us make mistakes such as Romney’s, and most of us struggle to make amends.

The expectation of doing what is right should be an equal expectation placed on all of us, but sometimes I wonder if it is of greater importance for those with a greater audience to hold a higher standard of themselves than they might expect of others.  Making mistakes is part of human nature, but amending one’s mistakes is somewhat divine. It shows greater character and a greater humility.  It should not be seen as a weakness, while often it is labeled as such by detractors.  But these same detractors are the ones who would require we gain their favor by insulting and offending in the first place.

So I went to bed last night feeling sad, but this morning I woke up with a song running through my head, a song that says, “I need a hero!”  Maybe instead of counting the number of mistakes a person makes in their life, we should spend more time evaluating their reaction once they have made a mistake. For a hero is not a perfect person, but is rather a humble person willing to serve others and who attempts to make amends for their mistakes. For while they may often seem to fall short of our standards, they should never fall short of their standards without making amends.

Other YouTube versions of Holding Out For A Hero:

Shrek Version

Tribute for Peace (this one chokes me up, but it is a must see)

If anyone can find a link to the Paramount VHS promo, the romantic one not the violent one, could you please share it with me.  

Meet the Mooch

I have just found out that I am a mooch on the American Dream.

Worse yet, I am a mooch many times over: a military wife living off of a government pay check and receiving government healthcare, a stay-at-home mom not paying taxes, and a recipient of government assisted education. (But at least I don’t mooch off of the public school system with my kids, right?)

And here, I thought that by supporting my husband, and raising my kids to be productive members of society, I was part of the American Dream. But maybe I was just a dreaming.

Maybe I was wrong all along in not realizing the only American Dream that matters is how large your bank account is when you die?

Or maybe the other guys have it all wrong…

Win or Lose: It really is how you play the game!

In a politically heated world, it is easy to forget that it is not whether you win or lose but how you play the game.

When we focus too much on a goal of winning, we may falter in our understanding of what we perceive we are up against.  It becomes too easy to for us to let emotion sway our reason, sway our perception of truth.  In the end whether we win or whether we lose, we still must be able to move forward.

When we become polarized in our ideas of right and wrong, ferocious in our belief that the other side is not only the opponent, but desires the destruction of all we hold dear; when this happens we run the risk of our own ruin. For no matter the outcome of the election, the world will no longer meet the standards we have set, no politician will ever make us happy, and no law will satisfy our thirst for a sense of perfection. Politicians will promise, platforms will declare, but in the end disappointment will be our companion if we do not learn that the political apparatus cannot supply a sense of wellbeing. Only we can supply that feeling, that sense of prosperity, that sense of safety.

When we vote in an election, especially when the election is close, we must focus on the value of the process and not simply on the outcome we desire. This will ensure that win or lose, we will feel good about ourselves, our efforts, and our opponents, once the game is over.

Frustration Boils Over

Living in a world where good news is hard to find can lead to a feeling of frustration. At some level, most rational humans recognize that tough times are part of life.  In our personal lives we overcome our frustration by looking for the positive amongst the negative, you know the rose in spite of the thorns.  We smile at puddle jumping kids, fuzzy kittens and babies. We take heart that our frustrations are temporary, knowing fully well that the negative will make the positive seem all the sweeter when it comes.

War, recession and disease can adversely affect the levels of individual frustration spurring the growth of collective frustration.  Collective frustration can then lead to action.  The American Revolution is a case of collective frustration turned to action.  Where collective frustration differs slightly from individual frustration is in the constant build up due to media coverage.

In a household, it does not benefit the members to harp on what cannot be changed or changed quickly.  A wise family soon learns to downplay the negative and highlight the positive.  Sadly this wisdom is not present in the collective populous, at least not today. While many would like to blame the media for the escalating the levels of public frustration, the truth is they are a creature that must be fed by others.  Corporations, lobbyists and yes, politicians feed the media beast.  In some cases the media is fat on the information being fed to them by those with an agenda, and in other cases they have become scavengers searching for tasty morsels dropped unintentionally by those in the limelight.  The public becomes the hungry chicks awaiting the food and keeping the demand high.  Regardless of how the media obtains their food, their information is the result of the attitudes and desires of those seeking fame, fortune or power.

With each negative story, the collective frustration grows.  Soon with pitchforks in hand, a mob forms looking to take action.  In 2008, frustration due to war and recession led many to vote for a change, but opposition to the voice of change was great.  Whether due to political affiliation, ideology, or chance of birth, rather than being a symbol of hope, the president became a symbol of division.  Even within his own party, unity was not achieved and hope diminished.  This led to a rally of frustration in 2010. Sadly, hope was not the objective of this rally, and more frustration was the result.

Now as we approach a new presidential election, frustration is boiling over as can be seen in the Chick-fil-a controversy.  Boycotting or supporting Chick-fil-a allows the frustrated populous a way to expend their frustration, and as long as the pitchforks are left at home, no lasting harm will be done.  Some will argue this point saying there will be an economic impact on the franchise, but it is just as likely to be a positive one as to be a negative one. When the rallies are over, maybe those mobilizing to protest or support Chick-fil-a will feel better, feel a sense of action and accomplishment when the day is done.  Hopefully this will allow them to feel they have been part of a positive movement. Maybe they will again be able to find the beautiful rose and not just the painful thorns. The pot of public frustration might then return to a simmer rather than a boil.