Tag Archives: Change

Not just a story

Our world is under a constant change. That is a given. Those who try to stop change or stand in the way of progress are slowly being rooted out.
That is certainly being seen across the Middle East as they continue to fight for their freedom of speech, equalities and the ability to finally be out from under the unspeakable acts of cowardly dictators that have ruled over them for decades.

As each day passes, bravery becomes more evident because to share the turmoil going on in places such as Egypt, Syria, Libya, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, it literally means risking arrest or even one’s life. Making a phone call, sending a picture, a tweet, updating a blog or even carrying on a conversation on the street or anywhere in public can cost a person their life on the spot or have them detained, tortured, or kidnapped leaving their family to wonder whatever became of them. This is not something that is exaggerated or made up. This is life for the people of these countries and has been for decades.

Most reporters sent in are there under government watch and only go places with government permission, in government convoys and to places the governments wants them to see. Example of this is in Tripoli’s famous Rixos Hotel where a large group of reporters have stayed and covered Libya’s conflict for an ongoing amount of time. This is where Iman Al Obaidi ran in to share her story of what happened while she was held by Gaddafi’s soldiers. Her story became internationally known once it was shared by worldwide news organizations and across social media websites. This became possible only because she risked her life to go into that hotel in the first place.

Other reporters have been thrown out of Libya and other countries for sharing too much of the truth as well as having been detained, beaten, raped or are still missing or or have been killed.

To name just a few, Chris Hondros, Tim Hetherington, Mohammed Al-Nabbous, Anton Hammerl were killed just recently. These are just a few and are just naming ones killed in Libya.

Why do “outsiders” risk their lives to share these “stories”?

I’ll answer this question very directly so as to be very clear.

These aren’t just stories, this is life. Just because I am an American writing about people that are living all the way around the world, doesn’t make this any less relevant than if I were writing about something locally, not to me.

You see, these people in many ways are just like me. They have hopes, dreams, families, loved ones, and friends.

Rebel fighters at the Wazin Border Crossing(Tunisia and Nafusa Mountains) May11th
Photo Courtesy of: @ShababLibya

A mother losing her child or a child losing their parents somewhere else in the world is just as upsetting as if that happened here, or to me. A friend watching their friend die is no less painful because it is further away or because it is in a time of war. Many of those fighting in these current revolutions are students, lawyers, doctors or young kids. Most are not soldiers and had never held a weapon before in their life. They are protecting their homes, businesses, families and their lives. They didn’t want to fight. They don’t want to fight. They want to be free which is the opposite of fighting.

As an American, I want our government to be able to help, of course.

I also know that many times, U.S. involvement comes with a cost and although at first glance and in a time of crisis, it seems great and the right thing to do when making arrangements but the long term effects, due to diplomatic arrangements made to reach that original agreement, often far outweigh the long term benefit. Doesn’t sound right, does it?

Let me explain. Iraq and Afghanistan.

The need for help is there and the desire to help is there but the actual response and outcome is often so jumbled up in politics, the RSVP would have been better to have been lost in the mail.

Some situations are so clear, up front, one would think there wouldn’t be any issues. One would think.

In Libya, Gaddafi was making it abundantly clear that he had no problem with taking as many lives each day as he could without any given reason. He also made it clear he wasn’t listening to reason. Once the UN came to an agreement and NATO started its response against Gaddafi’s crimes against his own people, it wasn’t as quick of a process as it would have once been thought.

At this point, it seems communication on the ground (what little there is) doesn’t get heard by the right people, quickly enough. I personally think if it were, Gaddafi would have been cut off much quicker.

Syria has tried to hide what is going on in their country but they haven’t been able to do this, not completely. The government says one thing and does another. It seems they want to act like Iran, dress like Iran but not be treated like Iran. When do threats from the U.S. end? Syria’s government has clearly chosen its path.

In Yemen today, President Saleh refused to sign the exit deal to hopefully bring an end to the political crises. Saleh has ruled for 32 years.
For months now, Yemen has been filled with protests for him to step down. Hundreds have been killed and he has refused to sign a deal at least twice before.

Saleh is demanding the opposition be present at the signing. The opposition refuses saying it will send the wrong message to the revolution leaders in Sanaa, making Saleh look victorious.

The opposition signed their part of the agreement on Saturday, May 21st with the understanding Saleh would sign his on Sunday.
About Saudi Arabia…this is a country with a great deal of oppression toward women.

I am a woman. I drive. Recently Manal Al Sharif was arrested for doing exactly the same thing in the eastern town of Khobar, Saudi Arabia which defies a long standing ban on women’s driving. Yeh, that’s right.

Manal Al Sharif 32 year old Saudi Arabian woman detained for driving in Saudi Arabia

It’s said that about two-thirds of a woman’s salary goes toward their transportation. They can’t walk on the street or drive so they must pay a taxi or private driver. There’s no public transportation.

On June 17th, there’s a campaign #Women2Drive which is growing in numbers on their Facebook page. The idea is for those women, with foreign licenses, to go out in the Kingdom of Saudi and drive that day. Some are even offering to teach others how to drive. Manal Al Sharif remains detained at this moment but in an interview to Gulf news she said, “Every lady has something to do in the city, she’ll just drive, do her business and come back. So it’s as simple as that. People can’t call it a demonstration, we’re not going against the law, we’re not going against anyone, we’re not even demonstrating.”

I was going to divide this article into two parts but I think it’s important to keep it as one.

You see, as a nation, we have an enormous amount of freedoms. I am writing this article which I will shortly post because I have the freedom to do so. I have the ability to share the information which I freely read about on the Internet or via links that were sent to me. Information is golden.

Education is priceless. The ability to have those available to us should never be taken for granted.

In many parts of our world, these freedoms or abilities do not exist. Our freedoms were fought for by very brave people before us and to take anything at all for granted, to me, just seems wrong. It also seems wrong to take lightly why others would want these same freedoms as well as the loss of lives they are experiencing while fighting for their freedom.

Many have chosen to come here, to the U.S., seeking a better life for themselves and their children. Around the world, America has been known as the “Land of the Free”, but is it? Do we truly know where these people are coming from, why they are seeking freedom and can they still find it here? In coming here, they have often made many sacrifices leaving behind the only homes they have ever known and family members to still live under dictators and the very life they are running from.

It’s been a while since I have written. I’ve been following much of what has been going on around the world, devastating natural disasters, revolutions and our own nation and its many ups and downs.

I hadn’t planned to write quite yet until I read a comment about the woman in Saudi, Manal, who had been arrested for, driving. The comment was basically along the lines of the fact the reader would never live in a place that wouldn’t allow a woman to drive!

My question: What if you were born there?

Change for Egypt

Protest in Tahrir Square
Photo by: AlJazeer


Soon after large demonstrations started in Egypt on January 25th, support poured in across Social Media sites like Facebook and Twitter for Egyptians seeking freedoms, a better future and asking Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak to immediately step down.

Protestors had gathered in Tahrir Square and said they would not leave till Mubarak he had given up his 30 year position as President of Egypt. As time passed, the crowd grew. The numbers following via Facebook and Twitter also grew. (#Egypt #Jan25)

Many of the demonstrators were tweeting and texting directly from their locations and also giving information of what would be going on the following hours and days. In today’s fast-paced Internet world, picture uploading, video uploading, texting, blogging and sharing information is instant and with the world’s changing times, this allows millions of people to know instantly what is going on across the world and to alert others.

Egypt’s government has in its constitution a law, the “Emergency Law” which, among other things, gives the government the right, at its discretion to shut down the Internet and on January 28th, Internet Service Providers were told to cut services.

This “Emergency Law” has been in place nearly all of Mubarak’s time in office. This law is one of many grievances the people have with the Egyptian government and it was recently extended to remain another two years. When the law is enacted, it gives the government the right to arrest people without cause, hold prisoners indefinitely, limit freedom of expression and assembly and more. At the time Internet was cut, most mobile phone services also were disabled especially text messaging. This greatly handicapped the ability not only for Egyptians to communicate internationally but also with one another in the country.

Until February 1st, the protestors mostly were peaceful. Tahrir Square remained full of protestors waiting for President Mubarak to step down. News had come that he had sworn in a Vice President which was a first in the country in over 30 years.

However, on the 1st, Mubarak made a speech on State T.V. which played on a large screen for all to see in the square. He stated he would not seek another term as president in the upcoming elections. The people quietly watched his entire speech and closer to the end he stated he would not be willing to step down before the end of his term in September, later this year.

On the ground in Tahrir Square and close by violence grew as the crowd became angry. There became a rise in violence and coverage of this was being shown internationally soon after the world had viewed not only this speech by President Mubarak but also a speech by President Obama on his thoughts concerning the situation in Egypt.

The rise in violence around Tahrir Square grew as pro-Mubarak groups grew larger in the square and clashes between them and the anti-government group became more violent causing a growing number of injuries and fatalities.

The following day as journalists were covering the clashes, they themselves became the targets of violence. They were being harassed, beaten up, having their equipment confiscated, being arrested, vehicles or teams attacked and as this grew increasingly worse, some were forced to leave for their safety and others went into hiding to continue reporting but to protect themselves and their crews.

This same day, Internet service began to slowly return across the country and as this happened, updates from Egyptians started to come in on Twitter, Facebook, blogging and other sources. These updates showed personal accounts of what had been happening around Egypt and confirming an even greater desire for freedom but also confirmed the fact journalists were being targeted on the ground, in hotels and around the country. Egypt’s government, it appeared, did not want the continued coverage of what was going on in the streets of Egypt during this crisis.

The question was, why?

Was the fear this coverage was making Egypt look bad internationally or was the fear the international coverage and the feedback it was getting influencing Egypt’s youth, inciting more displays of protests? Whatever the reasoning, the amount of international journalists in the country was greatly diminishing and those remaining were not being able to cover the revolution on the streets, the people, Tahrir Square up close as they had been doing, they now needed to look out for their safety and cover the crisis from afar.

The fact is though, covering the situation in Egypt is extremely important. It is extremely important to see the crisis and transformation as it unfolds. It’s more truthful and honest to see it from the eyes of the people and the government’s reaction and the angles there in Egypt and to have those views involved.

Egypt’s crisis and this transformation as some view it or revolution as it is turning out to be is not just a small event or something that will soon pass. It is much larger and significant.

Egypt has a population of more than 80 million people, the largest population in the 22 Arabic speaking countries.

Although the overthrow of Tunisia’s president in December ignited many frustrations and long held grievances of the citizens in other countries across the region, eyes are now on Egypt and at the moment, the leaders of Jordan, Yemen, Syria and elsewhere are looking at their own government and making tremendous changes and reforms to try to prevent many of the same actions. Protests are currently taking place.

As for the U.S. and its involvement in this crisis, of course there is a great deal of concern and the crisis in Egypt has great significance to the U.S. We have many Egyptian-Americans living in the United States and many have called this their home for generations but still, Egypt is their home as well. Compassion must always be shown not only to our fellow Americans but, all others.

What would you go to a demonstration for? What freedom would you not be willing to give up?

Much of what the Egyptians are protesting for, Americans not only have but take for granted. Fair elections, presidential term limit restrictions, freedom of speech and assembly and the right these freedoms can’t just be taken away at the whim of the government (like what is currently happening in Egypt and has been over the past 3 decades due to “Emergency Law”).

What is the United State’s position on making Mubarak step down being President?

This is a political revolution of the Egyptian people. They desire freedom and change in the way their country and government functions. Therefore it is up to Egypt and its people to unfold their new political system, laws and government, not outside countries. True change will come from within.

Since Mubarak has been an ally of the United States, there has been communication between Mubarak and President Obama as well as the Administration and other key officials in Egypt. It is important for the U.S. to point out certain views pertaining to matters that does affect the U.S. as well as what effects U.S. citizens in Egypt, humanitarian efforts and the safety of international journalists. The U.S. has remained a close ally with Egypt for many years and as long as diplomatically possible, this is important to continue without forgetting about the rights of the Egyptian citizens.

However, for the U.S. Administration or U.S. Citizens to act as though we can tell another country’s leader to step down does nothing to aide that country or the real long term efforts toward transformation they are working on. It also hurts our diplomacy efforts with other countries and in the long run would hurt our relations with the government that ends up being formed in Egypt. The U.S. cannot see itself as the strong hold over the world.

The best seat for the U.S. to strategically plan for what needs to be done after Egypt’s transition and the actions that follow in Yemen, Jordan, Syria and other neighboring governments may be in the observation area allowing the people of Egypt and its current government to build its own future out of its current turmoil.

Allow them to have change.

America is more than a country Pt. 2

Pt 2 of a series (see previous article)

As the GOP released their “Pledge to America”, many of its statements sounded good but go against what has been being said.

In Politico on August 18, 2010, Indiana’s Republican Rep. Mike Pence thought the Islamic Center in NYC was “not appropriate”, while John Boehner, Republican House Minority Leader called the decision to build the mosque and Obama’s support “deeply troubling,” and Cantor dubbed it “the height of insensitivity.”

Do they know there was a Muslim prayer room on the South Tower’s 17th floor of the World Trade Center? Do they realize there are over 600,000 Muslims living in NYC? Do they also realize there is a place for prayer at the Pentagon and services are held for Muslims multiple times each week? This has gone on without any issues. Why is that? This was also true after the 1993 attacks on the World Trade Center which were carried out by the same type of extremist and took the lives of 6 people and injured 1,042 others. It doesn’t seem the politicians are trying to stop the building of any mosque or back up having it built for any reason other than to win voters. There are people that really do stand on one side or the other in sincerity but there are many others that are standing on the side of hate, discrimination or just standing without reason but doing so because the majority has taken a stand.

America comes first, before campaigning or popularity.

Going back to pledge.gop.gov

“America is an inspiration to those who yearn to be free and have the ability and the dignity to determine their own destiny.”

The statement is true. In America, a person can be many things if that person is willing to work hard, study hard, has ideas and some ambition. America has been built on these ingredients. This is what attracts so many people to want to come here and start a business, develop an idea or bring their family.

The question is are people able to come here, live here, be free here to raise their children and have a business, become citizens, go to school, practice their religion and truly be free as America and the Constitution says or are those words changing due to politics and fear being driven by a few and voiced over and over to more and more people? Or is that freedom only promised or offered to certain people?

Going back to pledge.gop.gov

Whenever the agenda of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to institute a new governing agenda and set a different course.”

In November 2008, the country voted to set out on a different course. Prior to that vote, things were completely off course. At that time, the housing market and economic downturn was already being said to have been the worst since the Great Depression. It was termed as the “Panic of 2008”.

In 2008 the majority of voters cast their ballot for change because they obviously wanted something, change.

Barack Obama was not only campaigning about bettering the economy, bringing healthcare to more of the uninsured, adding consumer credit protection, building a higher standard for our country’s declining educational system and its young people’s ability to pay to attend college. He was also campaigning for America and its ability to see within itself the need to achieve greater, expect more and to once again, move forward.

Barack Obama was running for the office of the President of the United States. In November 2008, he was elected into office and in January 2009, he took his position in the White House.

From the beginning of his presidency, he has set out to meet certain goals put forth during his campaign as well as help dig a country out of a turmoil it had sunk into over years of bad management, bad choices and now he was surrounded by onlookers daily wondering why he had no quick fixes. To say President Obama has not accomplished a great deal during his Presidency so far would be completely false. However, there is still a long way the country has to go.

In an interview via telephone from the Clinton Global Initiative this past week, Clinton urged the Democrats to start coming back at the GOP’s claims with facts. Give them statistics and show them exactly what the current administration has done to avert a more severe downturn.

Clinton said, “I think the Democrats ought to stand up and say… You gave them eight years to dig this hole and double the debt of this country and not to produce any jobs, and then to have a financial collapse and all of this calamity. At least give us four to dig out of it. If we’re wrong, throw us all out. But don’t bring back the people that dug the hole.”

Recovery for America Pt. 1 – Promise of "Change"

In November 2008, the United States of America was caught up in the “feeling of change”. Even those that didn’t vote for President- Elect Obama were curious and they were anticipating what changes would be ahead with the new president and his administration.

The economy was in a downfall, job losses were at an all time high in decades, home values were in a rapid decline, and record foreclosures were happening nationwide. The U.S. Military had two active wars going on and people wanted answers about troop levels, cost and prospective withdrawal dates. This is only part of what was going on when Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States of America.

From early in Obama’s campaigning days, he made his issues clear and he made campaign promises along the way. After all, that is what campaign time is about, right? It shouldn’t be just about what is said, it should be about the outcome and the ability to see things through, the long term effect.

He announced a his position on withdrawing troops from Iraq, increasing energy independence, and promoting a Universal Health Care Plan just to name a few.

In 2008 Obama’s campaigning committee did something that had never been done before. It put social media to the task and through Twitter, Facebook and MySpace was able to target the younger supporters and not only get more of them to register as voters but also to become active in the campaign process.

By using the internet, websites were designed and kept updated with speeches, rally locations, policy information, etc. Supporters could upload images from these websites to their own blogs or social media pages, print out posters, send emails to their friends, family and colleagues as well as find many other ways to show their support for Obama’s campaign. Users could also sign up to have secured text messages from Obama’s Campaign Manager, David Plouffe sent to their mobile device. It was something that had never been done before and voters felt much more “in the loop” by knowing things right as they happened and sometimes, before it was announced on the news by receiving a text message from #62262. For many who followed, that is how they found out who Barack Obama had chosen as his Vice President candidate. The campaign was very up to date and personalized.

After winning the presidential election, President-Elect Obama announced the formation of Organizing for America Organization (OFA) on January 17, 2009 which was a community organizing project of the DNC. Obama said it was an “organization that will build on the movement you started through the campaign.” Again, this was something being done that would involve Americans in a way (via the Internet and community efforts) that hadn’t been done before. He said although he and Vice President-Elect Joe Biden would be working in Washington D.C., “We cannot do this without you.”

It is now 18 months later and people are looking at how things are going for the U.S. The economy does seem to be coming back out of its devastating recession. Job loss continued to worsen and went beyond 10%.

The auto companies were crashing and therefore factories were closing, more job losses and for many towns across the country, the auto industry was their way of life, their income.

With so many people out of work, so many companies out of business, factories closed and therefore not producing, banks not lending money, people were losing the ability to see the “light at the end of the tunnel” or have faith things would get better.

For a nation under such difficult times, a simple solution was not going to work for the long term but also many people were hesitant to throw money at problems that money seemed to have caused, or at least the misuse of money seemed to have caused.

Somehow, things needed to get onto a road to recovery.

This series of articles, “Recovery for America,” is going to take a look at promises made through the campaign and whether they have been kept, are in the process of being carried out, have been compromised on or broken.

If you read my last series, “Help for America” it is clear many Americans are in need of jobs and/or better paying jobs. Small businesses need help to grow and be able to hire more employees and many American families are not only barely getting by but are simply just suffering here in America.

Many communities need to improve their schools, roads, hospitals and be able to hire back teachers and first responders. Here in the Bay Area, being prepared for a natural disaster is something that is always a priority. This isn’t something that can be done when it is too late.

Please share your comments and ideas below in a productive way and they may be used in an upcoming article. You may subscribe above to become a regular follower.

If You Don’t Like It, You Can…

What?

What can you do?

Is that the question you ask yourself, those around you? Or, are you the problem solver, the one with the answers? For me, it goes both ways, depends usually. I am not one that is easily flustered (well according to me). I have learned that some fights are better off avoided and not to “sweat the small stuff.”

However, if you live in the real world like most of us do, many things are pretty unavoidable as much as it takes air to breathe and water to live. Life is far from simple and what should be simple is often made more complicated by someone, even we ourselves by trying to make it more fun, organized and in some way hoping to get the most of our time with the least amount of effort. In the long run, it usually ends up quite the opposite. We seem to always be in need of more time, relaxation and “wind down”. But, what has everyone so wound up?

Do we not have enough time in the day, not enough days in the weekend? Is it too little family time? Is it too little money? Are we faced with too many bills? Is work too hard or too stressful? Is it traffic jams? Is it our healthcare we just heard our government fight over for what seemed like 10 years? Is it guilt? What exactly could it be?

I think it is each of the things I mentioned above but all stemming from one thing. Choice or the lack of. What do I mean by that? Well, I think we have lost a lot of our ability to be in control of our own lives. In many ways I think we have so many choices to make at times, it is just overwhelming. At other times, the choices are taken away from us and basically it is that we take what we are “offered” or we lose our “choice”.

As time has gone on, jobs have changed to grow with the times, That means our job structure, the number of positions and our job security has changed. More time is required to do different things even if you are with the same company. Throughout our government, economy and our population it has always been accepted that “time is money” but that is growing truer as time marches on. Employees are becoming more replaceable to their employer due to the fact employers can hire a new employee at a lower pay rate and gain newer ideas, fresh outlook and again do the same thing at a later date. Many times as well an employer has done away with retirement savings and healthcare plans to save money for the business and the employee has been the one to lose out. Both can see it from their side and explain why one side makes more sense than the other but what a person works for and earns should be theirs to keep is the way I see it. It is basically a promise made to them and held in safe keeping by the employer. It shouldn’t be something that is held above their head like a piece of meat that can be stripped away at the first, second or third sign of trouble. But, what can an employee do? If it is not physically in their hand, signed in a contract, already in a bank account in their name, what can they do? They can’t do anything. It is a case of broken trust basically. It is a case of losing out what is rightfully yours, something you worked for. I mean you have done your job, earned that time and now it is gone. For some, they were just 5 years or so away from retirement and then it is gone. Their retirement, their healthcare and in a lot of cases their job too. If they don’t like it, what could they do? Join everyone else that didn’t like it. Join everyone else that had worked so hard as well. Life dishes out unfairness a lot. People dish out unfairness a lot. Often it is done in the name of “survival” to save a business or to fix a broken economy. What about everyone who is being dumped on? They have no choice in the matter. Their choice is on the Pink Slip.

Do you remember the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act of 2009? The law that was designed to protect credit card holders from jacked up interest rates, sudden change in requiring enormous minimum payments and cutting credit lines from one amount down to less than half or even a third or less. Remember also where the banks suddenly required minimum payments of nearly a third of the balance or half the balance? In some cases a person may have had a minimum payment of say $45 and suddenly been required to pay $300 or more? The banks were getting government bailouts and ripping off their customers. Well, they are still out to get the customers. The banks and credit card companies have plenty of tricks up their sleeves and without being prepared, you can get caught in the middle. Well, there really isn’t a middle. There isn’t much you can do if you get caught so you just have to stay ahead of the game. What else can you do?

These are a few tips found in a Reader’s Digest Article in March 2010. “Credit Card Tricks and Traps

*The Catch: After 12 months, banks can raise rates as high as they want on future purchases as long as they give 45 days’ notice.

*The Tip: Watch your interest rates closely

Some companies are sending out bills in plain envelopes,” says Lewis Mandell, a professor of finance and business economics at the University of Washington. Don’t mistake it for junk mail and throw it out. Remember: After 45 days, the new rate takes effect unless you have notified the bank that you choose not to accept it.

That is just one of the examples of what you will find in the article linked above. Click on the article to learn more. It is a very worthwhile read to pass on as well. This is just one example of ways choices are being taken away. You can chose which credit card you pick by looking at their introductory offers and what they reel you in with but I think most people that have followed our economy and the news over the last few years can truly see what can happen and how much is really out of our control unless we take the time to keep a solid eye on matters each day and keep up with the financial news. Even then, most of us have learned that the banks and financial institutions should not be trusted with our money so many have cleaned up their financial matters and had a quick economical education recently. I mean, if you don’t like it, the banks basically said shove off! They were out to save themselves, not the customer.

Do you ever see the homeless people on the side of the street? If your answer is “No”, where do you live? I have seen them anywhere I have ever lived. In some places more than others and at different times of the year, there seems to be less than at other times. These days, there is more. I have to admit when I was younger I didn’t understand how a person could be homeless. It wasn’t that my family was wealthy but I just didn’t understand how a person didn’t have family member that they could live with. As I grew older, I began to understand. I realized in my teen years that a lot of homeless people in our area were Veterans and that was another thing I didn’t understand. If people fought for our country, why were they homeless? How could that be possible! What was wrong with our Country? My eyes were really getting opened. In my 20’s my husband became a U.S. Veteran and that really affected me even more than I imagined it would. Seeing these homeless Veterans and hearing people insult the fact they were there was unacceptable. What upsets me the most is the fact people don’t know the circumstances behind what brings people to a certain place at a particular time in their life. Was it a choice or a circumstance beyond their control? I genuinely doubt the homeless people I see on the street woke up one day in their bed, at home and had a big breakfast and said, “I think I want to give up my job, my house, my family and go live on the street. That is my CHOICE.”

“The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.” Samuel Johnson

I am not saying we should pay people to live on the street but I don’t think we should be going around judging people not knowing what put them there just like we wouldn’t want someone judging us if we look tired and not so put together one day. What if they went around saying, “She must have been out one of her drinking rampages again last night. I hear she does that all time.” Really? Do we have the right to go around making statements and judging people when we don’t know them? Do we have a right to judge people even if we do? Some of my past blogs have been about judging others for reasons beyond their control or things that show a complete lack of intolerance and to be completely up front, this is something that really gets under my skin. But, this is also one of those character traits that is the most difficult to change about people. The title of this blog, “If you don’t like it, you can…” is basically how I think a lot of people are running their lives. I think big businesses are running their companies to the ground, their employees are becoming less and less important to them and the numbers are more and more the focus.

I think overall our government seems to have become less tied to the people because of so many ties and demands on our government. What do I mean by that? Well, to make this simple and due to the fact I intend to continue this in another blog to follow, the U.S. Government has business in every country in some way. There isn’t a day that goes by in which this isn’t true. Americans are spread all over the world and citizens from every nation are here in the U.S. We are so intertwined with our world this is something that is not only possible but an absolute necessity. Our U.S. President cannot have the attitude to walk away from other nations or snub another nation but instead must be willing to negotiate although at all times, keeping our security and economy safe and secure and a number one priority. Our Country cannot have the attitude of, “If you don’t like it, you can…” when it comes to our diplomatic relations or when it comes to having relations with one another. It hasn’t been working and it will only continue to work against us if we have that attitude. As a Nation that doesn’t work, as a citizen that doesn’t work and as a person that doesn’t work.

You may say you don’t like our President or you don’t like our current administration or how the War is going. That is your choice to not agree with something. Elections are also a time for choosing. The outcome of our presidential elections, show America’s choice and ultimately either way we work with that choice for the next four years. As Americans, we should never try to tear down our Government. By doing so, that is tearing down us. Since earlier wars, there have always been people against the wars this country has fought and I can’t think of many people that would be happy to have our soldiers in harm’s way. Personally, I agree things have definitely dragged on but I chose to support our troops. There is a difference between supporting our troops and supporting a war. I am not the person that has a choice whether or not our war efforts should continue but I do know our men and women in the military deserve my continued support and admiration. I have a choice here and that is what I choose to do. I can be up front about where I stand and I won’t send out a mixed or a false message on what I don’t understand.

You see, in many ways a lot of our choices have been slowly voided. They haven’t so much been yanked away but they just aren’t there in the open anymore. They are being made for us or they just happen to be made “by default” these days. Sometimes they are sent to us but they are done in a way that we don’t notice and the company is able to say we ignored our chance to claim making a choice (like the credit card company mentioned above).

But, we do have many decisions we are responsible for making, many choices each day. Do we notice them? Are we taking them lightly when they really could have a big impact on our life or someone else’s?

Look at the statement this way:

If you don’t like it, you can CHANGE IT.

“What you will be tomorrow depends on the choices you make today.” ODB

Change Happens

It is what millions of people voted for and it is what we are seeing. Whether a person voted for the current administration or not, what is going on will in some way affect each of us. If there were no changes occurring at the moment, people would be complaining. If there were different changes occurring, there would be different complaints going around work places, coffee shops, on the streets, talk shows, waiting lines at grocery stores and now, social media. That is just the way things are in our country. Things have really changed in that area. People have a large demographic they can share their opinion. Is that a problem? Well, it can get irritating and of course the media can make it very repetitive to listen to but that is what America is about when it comes to the First Amendment’s “Freedom of Speech” right? Look at me, I am sharing my opinion. I read other people’s opinions, a lot. I listen to the news, I read Facebook, Twitter, Email, Blogs, etc. I get it from a lot of different angles. I choose to stay away from Talk Radio.

I don’t mind hearing someone’s opinion or reading their opinion or, in most cases, I have the option to just turn off the TV or not check on the sources I read. We all have those choices. More and more though, it doesn’t matter where I turn, those opinions are showing up in ways that are becoming harder and harder for me to avoid. If I am going to watch the news, I am going to run into story after story of protests that have turned into crimes or protestors that are threatening different leaders for their stance on issues or votes. These are more recent events. I was stunned (maybe I shouldn’t have been but then that would mean I was becoming accepting with the way things are becoming) of the fact people were threatening the families of some members of congress because of the way they had recently voted. I understand protests have gone on for years, decades even that I can remember. Voting is way this country does things in a democratic and civilized way. We elect the members of Congress and Senate that represent us in Washington during these different votes. I know that may sound like I am minimizing the importance of this last piece of Legislation that was just voted on and how much time, effort and discussion went into this and also how large of an impact this will have on many of us but I am also one of those people. I too spent a lot of time researching, calling my local Representative and before I voted for my local Representative, I researched the candidates because I know the Congress and Senate could be called upon at anytime to make very big and long lasting decisions for our country, my state, me personally. It is a personal thing to me, my vote.

When it comes to my vote, this is something I have discussed when I am asked but not something I go around bringing up anytime I have a chance. I don’t feel everyone wants to hear my feelings and everything I am thinking about at any given moment (It is usually quite boring). I don’t believe in heading straight to vote for whoever is running within my “Party”. In fact, what my Voter Registration card says really doesn’t matter to me. I look over all the candidates and start narrowing them down as I learn more and more. I certainly don’t learn about them via the Commentators and Journalist on TV or Emails that are passed around and forwarded. I don’t just listen to what they say about themselves or what they promise. I look at what history they have, what ideas they have. I look at their character, their body language, their voting history and how those that have worked with them speak about them. I look at their families and how they deal with their families, where their priorities seem to lie and how they handle pressure, the media, campaigning and I consider myself a very good judge of character. Obviously people are going to rip into them and attack every angle they can so I also watch how they deal with that pressure as well. I have another good source of decision making to always turn to. Not just for voting or politics but for everyday life. I pray about any big decision. Voting for the President of the United States of America is a huge decision!

This past election, America seemed to turn its decision into more of a witch hunt, a search for reasons to turn against each other and a reason to put common sense behind us and hatred and self first. This has really put our country in a place of a constant spin and it seems that although things are happening and things are changing, many Americans just can’t get their focus back on what is good for America and their families and how working together has always proven to benefit us as a country. Tearing each other down is the quickest and fastest way to run America into turmoil one family after another. Americans need to look at each other and look across their work places and schools, places of worship and remember how many times, desperate times over the centuries we have proven to pull together and make those needed changes and we came out a great Nation, United and Strong.