Repost: My Fear and the (New) American Way

[January 29, 2020: While watching the sham of an Impeachment Trial today, I was reminded of this post which I originally wrote in 2016, shortly after the election. Sadly, I realized that we are now living in my nightmare scenario.]

I’ve been told that a good way to help with anxiety is to identify in detail the thing you are most concerned will happen. This is the Worst-Case Scenario approach, and the theory is that sometimes specifically identifying what we fear can help us realize that our anxiety may be unfounded. So I challenged myself to name the thing that I am most afraid of regarding a Trump Presidency.

Continue reading “Repost: My Fear and the (New) American Way”

How To Beat a Bully

Chinese Finger Trap

I get a knot in the pit of my stomach when I listen to the current occupant of the White House. The rambling incoherence is bad enough, but I really get dispirited from the taunting and the belittling and the name calling. And from the way his loyal followers and trusted advisers stand behind him and give him encouragement. It’s so ugly. So familiar. It evokes such visceral images of high school that I can practically feel the acne erupting.

If you mentally superimpose an image of a school cafeteria behind him when he speaks, Trump’s behavior becomes crystal clear: The school bully, emboldened by his minions standing behind him. They snigger when he mocks the kid with the disability. The pretty girlfriend at his side smiles her bloodless smile when he calls the smart girl names. They all laugh when he cracks a joke at someone else’s expense. They whoop and encourage him.

Around them, the other kids stand uncomfortably, looking down at their shoes, not wanting to say anything, because then the attacks will surely be turned on them. Better to stay quiet and safe. Out of the line of fire.

The bully isn’t the popular kid. No one actually likes him. But there will always be those kids who are broken enough inside that they’re willing to latch onto him. Sad, lonely, unhappy people who find a sense of belonging with other sad, lonely, unhappy people. They like the security that comes from being part of his crowd. And the bully draws his power from the ugliness that they feed back to him, like some perverse super-villain. Without them, his power would vanish.

Continue reading “How To Beat a Bully”

Much Ado About Learning

Shakespeare me

This year I’m participating in the Shakespeare 2020 Project, wherein members are challenged to read Shakespeare’s entire canon in one year. All 37 plays, 154 sonnets, plus poems, books and even a few things that he may not have actually written. So far, it’s going pretty well, but it’s early days yet.

Part of the fun of this experience (adventure?) (boondoggle?) is the distraction of discovering so many Shakespeare-related resources, recordings, productions, quotes, household products, t-shirts, and of course memes.

One quote in particular has stuck with me:

Compulsory Shakespeare gives a student as much love for literature as compulsory chapel gives them reverence for religion.

Isn’t that the truth.

In fact, when I mentioned to one of my friends that I would be spending (wasting?) (investing?) my entire year reading Shakespeare and that she might want to join me, she answered with an emphatic no! and went on to explain that she had been forced to study Shakespeare in high school and that it was such a bad experience — and it had made her feel like such a failure — that she has not and will never read anything he’d written ever again. Certainly, it’s fair to say, no love of literature was created there.

Continue reading “Much Ado About Learning”

We’re Talking About the Wrong College Admissions Scandal

The college admission bribery scandal is all my friends are talking about the last few days, but I really don’t understand why they all have their knickers in a bunch. Maybe the scandal did involve dozens of seemingly “respectable” families and millions of dollars and did temporarily sully the reputations of some of our nation’s best universities, but the only question that’s of interest to me is why on earth those cheating parents took such extraordinary, blatantly illegal, and frankly stupid measures to get their kids into college instead of using the perfectly acceptable methods like writing big checks and inviting the Dean of Admissions for a weekend at their beach house like everyone else does.

Continue reading “We’re Talking About the Wrong College Admissions Scandal”

An Old Friend’s Very Revealing Statement

Even the people that you think are your allies often turn out to be as much a part of the problem as the people who show it overtly by their words, deeds, or their votes.

Today I was confronted by a statement from a man that I have known and respected for more than three decades. With his statement, he showed that he, too, blames the victims and completely fails to understand the real problem. Continue reading “An Old Friend’s Very Revealing Statement”

NFL: Here’s Your Chance to Do the Right Thing (for a change)

I’m not a sports fan. Which teams win and which teams lose each week matters not a whit to me. Who scored points, touched down, gained yards, free-thowed, RBI’d or whatever, I could not care less.

But that’s not to say that I don’t follow sports. The intersection between sports and society is too big to ignore. Nor should it be ignored. Continue reading “NFL: Here’s Your Chance to Do the Right Thing (for a change)”

Eleanor Roosevelt

“It isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it.”

“Do what you feel in your heat to be right –for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.”

The longest serving First Lady in US history, Eleanor Roosevelt was a prominent advocate for women and for human rights.

She was a strong proponent of her husband’s administration’s efforts to create programs that kept Americans working, optimistic and united during the dark years of the Depression and World War II.

In 1945, she was appointed to serve as a US delegate to the UN and chaired the committee that drafted and approved the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. She also co-founded Freedom House in the 1940s and founded the UN Association of the US in 1943 to advance support for the UN’s formation. She is one of the most respected women in modern history.

Eleanor Roosevelt was born on October 11, 1884.

The Flag Stands For Our Right Not to Stand

A year ago, when I wrote this short post about Colin Kaepernick’s silent protest, I never would’ve guessed that we would still be talking about this issue a year later, or that the President of the United States would be using it as yet another wedge to divide America. But here we are. Continue reading “The Flag Stands For Our Right Not to Stand”

Stop Calling Donald Trump Crazy

After Trump’s most recent twitter tirade, in which in personally attacked Mika Brzezinski’s intelligence, sanity and appearance (which is quite a lot to cover in a single tweet, even for him, so he used two) the Left once again began calling into question the man’s sanity, emotional state and fitness for the office. Continue reading “Stop Calling Donald Trump Crazy”