I’ll Be Your Neighbor

I went and saw the movie, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” the other day. It’s about the life and legacy of Fred Rogers, better known as Mr. Rogers, to generations of kids. I had watched the show when I was younger but since it was mostly in the late 80’s I never knew about all the timely lessons/messages he helped to explain to children about war, assassinations, grief, and numerous other important topics that are glossed over in most children’s programming. In my memory, the show was mostly about being accepted as you were and to show kindness and love to those around you.

I was mildly surprised to see how much backlash and personal attacks were directed at a man who devoted much of his life to helping children learn and grow into decent human beings who felt loved and appreciated. I didn’t understand what would motivate people to spew hatred at a message of love. They didn’t appreciate a minister who would accept and befriend members of the LGBT community so they protested at his funeral. He wanted children to feel safe and confident enough to be themselves and accept others as they were and people wrote articles condemning him for “creating an entitled generation,” which confuses me as I never got that from his message. Acknowledging that there is something special about a person without them needing to conform to standards of the day doesn’t mean they are entitled to everything they want with no effort on their part.

I really related to Fred, I completely understood his vision and I openly cried several times during the movie because his message was so close to my heart. I have long advocated for acceptance, for building others up, for kindness, and for leading by example. I wish I could’ve met him and had a chat, I think it would’ve been one of those amazing conversations you almost never get the chance to have.

With Fred no longer around to spread the message of love and acceptance, maybe it’s up to us to carry on in his stead. Will we be viewed with suspicion, ridicule, and anger…probably. However, much like how I feel about the political atmosphere right now, some things are worth speaking out about.

 

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America Dies in Apathy

It’s been said that democracy dies in darkness, but America is more than just a democracy. It’s a country, albeit stolen, that was founded on principles of freedom, tolerance, the melding of different cultures, and balancing forces.

As I’ve watched the country I was born in, and mostly took for granted, slide downwards on the same slippery slope Germany did when they let authoritarian tactics gain legitimacy, I fell into a depression so deep I pulled back from everything.

In the past I’ve been very clear on how I feel about the current president and his administration. I never shied away from stating that I think we (collectively) all need to do better, stop letting fear dictate our actions, and be willing to embrace the differences in one another. Yet as things have gone from bad to worse in America I stopped speaking out. Part of that was the depression, part was because of the personal drama I was dealing with, but part of that was just the idea that my voice doesn’t matter so there wasn’t a point to continually rallying people against the actions of Trump and his supporters.

Except that’s the trap. Feeling like there’s no point in trying.

As each new story broke many Americans felt like they should be outraged and something needed to be done. Except, nothing has been done, save for the desensitization of the general population about actions that were priorly unacceptable. People cry out “that’s not right, that’s not ok” and congress ignores the will of the masses. Democrats are virtually impotent in their ability to stop anything, therefor there is no ability to check or balance anything. For everyone who doesn’t like the direction the country is going in, there’s the very real danger that we let things get too out of hand already and that only makes it harder to believe we can do anything about it.

At this point some of the horrifying realities Americans already have to face are that we have a Muslim ban the Supreme Court just upheld, we have hateful racists called “fine people” by our political leaders, we have been pulled out of the Paris Climate Change as well as some trade pacts which only causes the rest of the world to be far less willing to want to work with us, we are told not to believe our own eyes by Trump and his administration, we have people in the same administration brazenly engaging in unethical behavior, allies are insulted and ruthless dictators treated with respect, and now we have concentration camps for children and the people running them have no desire to help reunite the families torn apart.

WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK PEOPLE!

How do we come back from this? Can we vote our way out of it, because I am not sure we can. However, we can’t continue to sit back and hope that someone will come save us.

This shit isn’t ok. I don’t care who you are, if you think what is happening in America is acceptable and doesn’t need to be stopped right now then you’re an insecure coward with no empathy and no investment in a sustainable future and I am not afraid to state that. If we’re picking sides than I am on the side of democracy, of decency, of truth and of a future I’d actually want to bring the next generation into.

Those that don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it and I don’t particularly want to repeat WWII. I’d rather there be a whole new civil war.

 

 

 

Throwback Thursday (Disconnected)

*Wrote this back in November of 2013, more apt than ever…

Have you ever met a person whose reality just didn’t click with the majority of others? They are in their own little world and completely unable or unwilling to notice that what they are saying makes no sense to anyone else. I have discussed before how perception is reality and I am starting to wonder if the trend towards individual realities is contributing to the societal disconnect that has spread like a poison throughout much of the world.

Husband has a friend who, more and more, I am starting to dread having to interact with. He has no regard for the rules of my house. When he visits he constantly drinks all our beverages (bottles of alcohol/entire boxes of K-cup coffee), eats all our food, hogs the computer, leaves the toilet seat up after getting piss all over the floor and has even lit cigarettes inside knowing full well this is a smoke free household. I woke up at 6 am because I heard someone in the kitchen and it ended up being him helping himself to several peanut butter sandwiches in the dark. He dominates the conversations but never makes any sense and isn’t willing to listen to any input from others. When I hear he is coming my first instinct is to hide my coffee and make plans to be out of the house for the duration of his visit. If you ask him he will tell you there is nothing wrong with him and it is the rest of the world that is wrong.

He is just one of the people husband or I know that are really disconnected from general society. There is another guy who spends all his time holed up in his apartment watching questionable documentaries and playing Xbox…his ability to socialize with others without conflict has dramatically decreased over the years. One lady I know drifts through life naively refusing to see the world for what it is and won’t listen to anyone unless they are devoutly religious or famous in some way. There is no way to have an educated discussion with her without getting so frustrated that you just have to walk away. They both are absolutely positive they are perfectly fine and it is everyone else that has a problem.

Even within my family people raised by the same people took completely different views on the same lessons. Some of us practice responsible lifestyles where we don’t spend outside of our means, exercise regularly and eat a relatively healthy diet. We are always willing to help out others and are always there for our family members in need. Others went the opposite direction. They think there is nothing wrong with maxing their credit cards and then begging the rest of us for money. They bitch about how they feel like shit but have no interest in exercise or eating healthy and we should just be sympathetic to their complaining. They are always busy if we need something but we need to drop everything if they need help.

Their reality is so different from ours and it causes a disconnect between us. The further the divide, the shakier the bridges between us becomes. I foresee a time in the future where I won’t be willing to meet them halfway on a dangerously fragile bridge and it will be set on fire in a sweet release that leaves me with less stress but possibly more guilt. I wonder if this is the same feeling many other people have when they encounter someone whose reality is so far away from theirs. I wonder if the same questions run through their heads. Is it worth building a bridge to cross the divide? Do you have the time and patience you need to build and maintain a connection? Is the other side going to put any effort into it too?

As less and less people are willing to put forth the effort to make those connections the realities pull even further apart. It is a ripple effect that is turning into a wave of disconnect.

What The Actual Fuck America…

Every time I see someone I love and/or respect “like” something that supports Trump it literally hurts my heart.  To know they are ok with a verified pathological liar that displays racist, misogynistic, and sociopathic traits on a consistent basis baffles me to no end.  He’s a shitty businessman and a shitty human.  His creepy pacing in the last debate was a classic predatory move. Maybe I’ve spent too much time studying people,  maybe living with a pathological liar with dissociative disorder where one personality was predatory/misogynistic has given me the insight to recognize a dangerous man when I see one, or maybe I’m just failing to recognize that I am friends with/related to people who are perfectly ok with racist misogynistic liars.

What’s confusing to me is that those same (to a lesser degree and minus the racism)  traits in my ex husband were not accepted by these same people but they think it’s fine for Trump to display them. I guess he told the truth at least once when he told bush that celebrities can get away with anything.

Seriously America,  what the fuck is wrong with you?  We’ve been over this before…you have more than 2 choices for president.  You really aren’t limited to Trump or Clinton.  There are third party options,  you can write in anyone you want…if you support Trump you are absolutely supporting racism,  sexism,  hate, and division.

Lesser of Two Evils

As this shitshow of an election process continues it’s march towards the finish line I hear more and more people say things like “Trump is horrible, but Clinton is no better” and while I’m not here to persuade anyone to vote a certain way I simply can’t agree with the above assertion.

That would be like saying a deer tick with lyme’s disease is just as horrible as a non-disease carrying deer tick. That a mosquito carrying malaria parasites or Zika is just as horrible as any regular old mosquito that won’t transmit anything to you. Sure they are both blood-sucking parasites but one is inherently more destructive than the other. Yes Clinton has demonstrated a penchant for secrecy and selective communication, a willingness to bend some rules and there’s a real possibility that significant donors are going to pressure her to help them later on. Not sure how that’s different from pretty much every other typical politician though. It’s pretty par for the course when you look at it rationally. I’m not saying it’s ok, I do believe the US government has gotten too big and too corrupt. I’m just saying if I have to be bit by a blood-sucking parasite I would rather deal with a typical one and not one with the potential to cause significant permanent damage.

Trump’s behavior, his words, his actions, his lack of general decency and knowledge of serving the public are far more troubling to me. Sure he’s not a “corrupt politician” but he is a “corrupt businessman” and I don’t see how that’s any better. It definitely doesn’t mean he’s a good fit to be president. Who knows who he’s going to hire to advise him, they could all have their own agenda with no interest in actually helping the general population. Yes something has to change but not like this. Electing Trump reminds me of the plan to get rid of Sudam Hussein which resulted in a much greater problem. Sometimes the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t. Can we afford the learning curve?

I’m still very annoyed that Bernie Sanders didn’t get the nomination. I want to see the government change and do better, but I firmly believe that Trump will not help that to happen. I really don’t understand how anyone can think he’ll do anything but divide this nation even further. Divided we fall.

“There once was a crass politician, who often screamed about terrorism, to rile up the crowd, of their lies they were proud, spreading hate seemed to be their sole mission.”

The Next Great Reality Show

As I watched the GOP debate last night I got to thinking about the ridiculous line up of candidates squawking at one another. They are all perfectly suited towards one section of the Republican party but none of them represent the party as a whole. The problem of how divided the party is has been, and continues to be, brought up on tv, print and in blogs. What if they are trying to unite the party by pretending to divide it first?

Think about the GOP presidential race through the lens of a reality tv show competition. There are a dozen or so contestants starting out. Each member of the audience identifies with one right off the bat and roots for them to win the whole thing. Slowly though, as each contestant gets eliminated, the viewers are forced to reluctantly  move their alliance over to a new contestant until they reach the end. Very few people stop watching a show if their preferred contestant gets booted off. Americans have been conditioned by so many reality shows that they won’t even realize why they are suddenly ok with a candidate they previously didn’t want to vote for when the time comes. By the time the GOP nomination is selected the entire party will fall in line even if it ends up being Donald Trump.

My other thought was that watching those GOP debates create an opportunity (besides raising your blood pressure) for a great drinking game. Every time a candidate skirts a question and instead plugs themselves you take a drink. Every time they blame Obama for something that is really their own (or Congress’) fault you take a drink. Every time they blatantly lie about a topic or event you take a drink. You’d be pretty drunk 10 minutes in.

No matter what your political views take a moment and really think about the state of the country. Do a little research and don’t take a single thing that comes out of any candidate/politician’s mouth at face value. Think about what your life was like 10 years ago, 15 years ago, 20 years ago. Compare American society against other countries, compare America’s economy against other countries, get multiple sources, question everything. Look at the plans each candidate has created and really think about if they make any sense or not. Just because someone says they want to do something doesn’t mean they can actually make it happen. Together we stand and divided we fall. If you really want America to be a great country, a strong country and a country you can be proud to live in everyone needs to stop focusing on differences and start focusing on how we can work together to move forward into the next chapter of humanity.

Dismissing What You Don’t Understand

I learn by observation, example and then by trial and error. Sure I could read directions and try my hand at something but if I had no frame of reference prior to my attempts I would most likely be setting myself up to fail. I need that visual interaction, from start to finish, to create the formula in my head that allows me to be successful in my endeavors.

Not everyone learns like I do. Not everyone comprehends like I do. It all depends on their collection of past references that they can work with. I know that I need to evaluate someone’s learning preferences before I teach them something or I am setting us both up to fail, yet that particular practice seems to be lost on far too many people.

I happened to find myself in a discussion about ADD/ADHD while on my vacation. I have long thought that those diagnoses were just a way to sell more drugs to more people instead of taking the time to understand why a child didn’t care about paying attention in class. I was never diagnosed with ADD/ADHD but I sure used to have trouble paying attention in class and had an enviable amount of energy coursing through my young veins.

The difference between me and several of my classmates was that my mother took a moment, when the teacher first alerted her that I would get easily distracted in class, to ask me why I didn’t want to pay attention. Apparently I looked at my mom with a look that said it should be obvious and then explained to her, in a voice that said it should be obvious, that I didn’t need to be shown a million times how to write the letter “a” or add up 1 + 1. Why should I be punished just because I understood the concept the first time, or had read ahead already because the teacher was being repetitive and I had already absorbed the information they were talking about. My mother rightfully determined that it wasn’t that I had ADD but that I was completely bored by the unchallenging curriculum and simply found alternative information to take in while the teacher was reiterating a lesson I had already grasped.

I was spared the drugs given to other children to slow(dumb) them down to the lowest common denominator and continued to spend my time perusing my own interests once I felt I had already absorbed whatever lesson was being taught that day.

If you are able to look around at your environment and in a split second observe everything and then categorize it by level of importance (to you) why should you be labeled as having a disorder simply because you either a) do it faster than most people, or b) have a different category of importance than most people? “Normal” is relative, ever changing, unreliable as a basis for comparison. Why is that such a hard concept to grasp?

I really don’t think ADD/ADHD actually exist as a disorder. I think the kids who are diagnosed simply have different categories of importance than their parents, teachers or doctors. No one enjoys listening to things that bore them or has much enthusiasm for activities that go against their interests. Someone determined that we had to move from a system where people learned a trade/skill they were inclined to be good at to a system where we all had to assimilate into a narrow-minded preset idea of what necessary information must be retained by every single person regardless of inclinations or predispositions. Then, when almost half the population didn’t immediately succeed there was the rush to judgment instead of a desire to understand why it isn’t working. Blame on the students instead of on the teaching models. That we have been doing the same thing for hundreds of years now and expecting a different result would indicate a strong level of denial in the flawed thinking that created this whole mess.

Oh well, enough of my rant. What are your thoughts? Do you think ADD/ADHD is a real disorder or do you think it’s just a dismissive judgment made on people who think and prioritize differently than others?