A country divided?

Division

I have been trying to understand the events of last week and find my words to express the hurt, concern and utter discust I feel. Until I can figure out my own feelings, I offer the wisdom of Pat Bell. (Full disclosure, he’s my brother-in-law and someone I hold in great esteem.)

IN My Opinion

Are Americans actually so stupid and naïve? Can’t we see why we’re so divided and angry in this country? And how this division is destroying us?

“Divide and conquer” may be the most effective military strategy. And it works in defeating cultures and societies as well.

Think about it. Those who encourage division do so with rhetoric that places blame on others for all problems. They demonize all who have differing opinions in order to achieve their own objectives. They are politicians trying to remain in power. They are media (on both sides) whose goal of larger audiences (and advertising revenue) is furthered by more and more and vitriolic and divisive language. (True journalism may indeed be dead.) And there are the true enemies of our country (both domestic and foreign) who would be delighted at our collapse.

All of these people/entities encourage and plant the seeds of division, distrust, exclusion, and anger. But in the end, it’s another group that ensures the growth of these things. We can see them every morning when we look in the mirror.

We, as Americans, have taken the bait of division….and run with it. We have embraced the idea of contempt and confrontation and blame. And we are as guilty as any of spreading division with disrespectful conversation and social media posts.

We have done this to ourselves.

Can we not show even the slightest acknowledgement of the merit of a different opinion by listening? Can we not at least try to understand that opinion without an emotional outburst? Can we not try to express our own views without blame and offensive words?

Can we defeat the division that could destroy us? Entirely? No. We will always be somewhat divided by political beliefs, religious beliefs, ethnic or racial or a host of other differences. But we have, mostly, been able to appreciate (and even celebrate some differences on occasion) respectively for the greater benefit of all.  We’re far from being the perfect nation. We have certainly shown our weaknesses and sins in the past. And yet, on whole, we Americans strive to be a better society.

Our elected leaders pledge to defend us….from all threats. Division is a serious threat. They must unite us to begin the process of defeating division. But it’s not just the responsibility of politicians. It’s our job too. We have to be smarter…to survive.



Let’s think about what we can do as individuals…that’s 30

“Just find me 11,780 votes”

I find it unbelievable that the President of the United States would try to con the Georgia Secretary of State into changing the vote count of the general election. I listened to the recording obtained by NBC News.

Trump’s insistence that he won the election and that the people of Georgia and the entire country were mad at the Secretary of State’s reluctance to change the vote. What I heard ranged from veiled threats to a good ole boy, wink-wink, con job.


If, and that is a Big if, Trump or anyone else had evidence of voter fraud, errors, or “skulldugery,” I believe those in Georgia’s government would gladly consider the evidence. However, they are on the record that there was no wrongdoing, and the results are accurate.

After listening to the call, I can’t help but wonder what else he will attempt between now and January 20th? I also worry about how this will impact his base and what they might do. Hopefully, this madness will soon end, and we can recover the soul of America.

…that’s 30, for today.

Do you understand Anti-Maskers?

As this pandemic drags on and local governments try to deal with the spread, they also must deal with those who feel their rights are violated with mask orders.  These same people wear their seatbelts, most wear helmets when cycling, and to avoid being arrested for public nudity, they wear clothing.

On several occasions, I’ve seen people in stores without masks; I want to say something, but I know it will most likely cause a problem.  Don’t these people care about others?  I sure don’t think so.   I think most of us are doing our best to wear masks, sanitize our hands, and keep a safe distance.  Yes, it is not how we have lived most of our lives, and let’s hope it is not how we will live the rest of our lives.

   

I realize this blog post will not change the minds of those who feel so strongly about wearing a mask. I wonder if they are also going to refuse the vaccine when it is available? As someone who lives with COPD, I am in the vulnerable group and appreciate those who are doing their part to control the spread.

If you know someone who refuses to wear a mask, joins in large gatherings, or other dangerous activity, please use your influence to change their behavior.

…that’s 30, stay safe. 

Our Election Process

Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

Tomorrow is Election Day, and I believe our country is stressed. I know I am. We received our mail ballots, competed them, and delivered them to the county election office. Now we wait, and I suspect that wait will be longer than we all would like. I can only imagine some of the news in the coming days—glitches in counting, lost ballots, challenges, and surprises in outcomes.

It has been a long election season, and I feel many Americans are tired of our political systems and would like some profound change.  Here some suggestions off the top of my head; set spending limits and equalize the playing field.  Then we could move to Truth, a novel approach to letting us know the candidate and their positions. Another idea to consider is vetting the candidates to determine if they have the qualifications and demeanor for the office they seek. 

Now I’ve vented and would like to hear from others how we might improve selecting the right people to serve this wonderful country and its people. Now, go vote if you haven’t and say a prayer for a peaceful resolution of our differences.

…that’s 30 for today.

In One Week

Photo by Artem Podrez on Pexels.com

Here we are just one week from the General Election. Many have already cast their ballots while others wait to vote in person. I am hopeful that the voter turnout is a record-breaker. I expect we will not know the final count for sometime after the polls close. I hope I’m wrong. Today, my purpose is to ask anyone who reads this to share it and encourage your family, friends, and followers to Vote.
We hear all too often; my vote won’t matter; I don’t like the candidates or some other reason for not voting. Call me naive, but I am hopeful that we can start healing the divisions in our beloved country when all is done.

...that’s 30. God Bless America

Your Vote Does Matter

Voting is taking place in a significant part of the county, and I don’t think we can say it enough, your vote counts. Some people I care dearly about tell me they can’t vote for Biden, but they don’t want Trump for another four years. I suspect there are many conflicted voters.  All I can say is to take a long look at the bigger picture.  Consider the quality of life for all people, our planet’s condition, and issues that impact the common good.

Vote your conscience because you will want to live with your decision and not wonder, “what if I voted the other way?”

While the Presidential race is getting the most attention, study your local and state issues. Get to know the candidates and what they stand for.  The bottom line is these races will impact your daily life more than the top of the ticket. 

Once the election is over, I am hopeful we can focus on healing relationships, restoring civility, and the future for our children and grandchildren.

Vote, then ask your family and friends to vote.  Drive a senior to the polling place or babysit for a neighbor so they can vote.

…that’s 30 for now.

Election Anxiety

anx·i·e·ty

/aNGˈzīədē

noun

  1. a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.

Thinking back to the 2008 General Election, I remember feeling anxious and worried about what some of my friends said about then-candidate Barack Obama. The rumors, falsehoods, and conspiracy theories were more than I could stand. I remember thinking, where in the world did they come up with this?

Well, here we are twelve years later, and we are back in the same mode. It is tearing people apart. People are terrified, many for the first time in what may be a sheltered life. According to the Pew Research Center, media coverage of the Obama rumors grew tenfold over a few months before the election. From my knothole, we are seeing the same things today. Only now it is compounded by the pandemic.

The difference this year, I believe, is the politicians have mastered media manipulation. They know which buttons to push and when to schedule their announcements. When have we ever seen near-daily “pressers”? Which I believe are not legitimate news, but campaign events disguised as newsworthy.

We are now just 46 days until the General Election; we need to remain calm and question the campaign fodder. More important is we must turn out the Vote. I hear some say my vote won’t matter, or I never vote. Please encourage your family, friends, and neighbors to exercise their rights.

…that’s 30 for today.

Thoughts of an Independent Voter

I have always been proud that I’m an Independent Voter and not part of either party. While I will admit, I lean one way or the other at times; I prefer to cast my vote for the candidate or issue that squares with my conscience. As hard as I might try, being a moderate right now is hard.

We live in a time when politics are driving personal relationships, and that I find is unacceptable. I have friends and family that I genuinely care about who are “hard right” and “hard left.” Where are the other Moderates? What has happened to common sense and the common good?

As we rapidly approach the general election, I am as concerned about the local races as I am the national. Those elected to serve our schools, cities, counties, and states will pass legislation that will impact our daily lives. In the past have voted a split ticket, and I will continue to vote for the person I believe will get the job done regardless of party.

Those serving in Congress and the White House must find ways to resolve the partisan politics tearing our country apart. Those in leadership are not working together to meet our countries needs. Wonder what would happen if there was a robust Independent candidate? A moderate who would work both sides of the aisle.

…that’s 30 today. And DON’T FORGET TO VOTE.

Public Comment Agendas

We continue our dialog of the growth of Public Agenda session at local government meetings. In this post, longtime Kansas Educator Harold Frye offers his observation.


Public Input at local government meetings.

Civility and the need to be civil extend beyond city and county boards as we are in the midst of this pandemic and its impact on our communities. I spent 19 years as a school district administrator charged with providing advice to citizens elected to represent their neighbors on school boards. Now we are seeing special interest groups plead their cases to school boards regarding whether schools are open or closed, whether sports continue or are delayed, whether kids can learn as well online as in person. Most school board members come to the position with a goal to improve their communities. None expected to face attacks from those who elected them. In one school district, it was my job to engage “public relations.” Almost nothing positive happening in the schools gained the attention of the media. Only the negative slod the news. In those days, the major newspaper’s advertisers were real estate and automobiles. Therefore, painting the city schools bad helped advertisers sell more houses in the suburbs and cars to get folks there. The culture is far greater than civility alone.


What are your thoughts?.. That’s 30 for Today.

Local Government & Public Agendas

During this pandemic, local governing bodies are on the publics’ hot seat more than ever before. With today’s technology, we can watch the city council and county commission meetings live. I find the public comment sessions most telling about the emotions of those who come to the podium. It is especially evident when the subject matter is masks, lockdowns, or school closures.

Fellow citizens, well-intended as they are, voice opinions based on gossip, social media, and articles they have researched. They speak of medical journal articles they have read and hold to be the final word, despite the testimony of medical experts earlier in the same meeting. Some cite media articles as evidence for their position.

These most vocal citizens gain the attention of those elected officials up for reelection this fall. They are politicians and may fall into the trap that the most vocal speak for the broader community. After watching many of these sessions, I believe they represent only themselves and maybe a few others.

Media coverage of these meetings tends to focus on the drama and outrageous statements. Some feel costumes will help their cause. Today, one woman upset with the commission found it necessary to conclude her comments by saying she recently took firearms training and purchased a gun. I believe this kind of rhetoric is harmful to our community relations.

Our society seems to be in a frenzy as we are facing issues previously unknown to our country. It’s left versus right, urban versus rural, and rich versus poor. Again, I’m, praying for a return to civility.

…that’s 30 for today. Stay safe.