Humpty-Dumpty Vital Signs: How to put the GOP back together again…

Truth Time

“Saudi Arabia rejects seat on U.N. Security Council”

Sometimes the real news is the stuff found on page A11 of a humble local newspaper like the Palm Beach Post where an Associated Press article compiled by Edith M. Ledere and Aya Batrawy describes the unique tale of how a country like Saudi Arabia likes to outline how the United States has really lost its credibility on Friday when it refused the first-time offer of a two year term seat on the U.N. Security Council–a most coveted position for most nations, especially Arab ones. “The Saudis were displeased that the U.S. backed off threats of military strikes against Syria in response to its alleged use of chemical weapons.”

President Obama was quoted the day before (Thursday 10/17) as saying that the 16-day partial government shutdown was primarily the Republican’s fault and risked exposing the United States as a poor leader or in his words, the “shutdown hurt U.S. credibility as leader.

Tea Party Resurgence

Yesterday afternoon I’m driving north on Interstate I-95 in Palm Beach County and approach an overpass for Okeechobee Boulevard–there are signs and people and for a few seconds my eyes register what they’re seeing.  “Impeach Obama”, “Honk…Obamacare” It occurs to me that these folks might be delusional because there is a way we can work out of this lethargy or apathy when it comes to the government as it stands today: get involved and take personal responsibility!

Why Blame Senator Ted Cruz?

Senator Ted Cruz’s last name can easily conjure the image of the Santa Cruz surfing coast in California where a slip on the board can mean death of a surfer on the unforgiving rocks.  It seems this was a similar fate endured by Speaker John Boehner and the GOP this past week–but why do we have to believe that?

Perception is Peculiar

Here’s the reality: neither the Democrat or the Republican party are perfect, unified or fit to govern.  The two main parties in our nation actually need each other just like most of our electronic gadgets require the positive and negative charge in the batteries that power them.  Duality in physical nature as well as spiritual/theological exegesis all encompass the existence and general necessity of  having two different parts both entangle and empower the other.

I’m not proposing that we break up the GOP to make a new one.  I’m also not proposing that we annihilate the Democratic party–I have both friends and colleagues that I respect and care about who are Democrats and I know their heart is in the right place for our nation.  What I do believe Americans are sick of is the arguing about which party is right all of the time.  What’s wrong with trying to accept that both parties are trying to find what’s the right direction for our country?

For instance, did you know that Obamacare was really a regurgitated version of RomneyCare–it is “inherently a compromise because it is a health insurance reform law rather than an overhaul of the structure of our nation’s health-care system.” (see Jane Mansbridge’s ‘Obama already compromised big-time’ http://www.latimes.com/opinion/commentary/la-oe-mansbridge-obamacare-democrats-single-payer-20131015,0,7930456.story)

Humpty-Dumpty GOP: Can It Be Put Together Again?

I do believe that if the Democrats can keep it together after recent years of hardships for our nation, the Republicans can as well.  The key is to stop focusing on what divides and instead focus on what unites the party.  What are the GOP’s priority issues? (hint: drop the gay marriage and abortion flagships)  After that’s established, then Republicans need to pick out what issues they think they can best work toward compromises with Democrats and others.  The United States really does have a great system in place when there is a balance between the two major parties–our political health will not be demonstrated in how well people stay within the party line, rather it will be how often both sides can show the ability to cross the line to find each other and help our nation progress.

God Bless America,

Ramona V.S.B.

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Price of Privacy: Isolation or Ignorance?

price of privacy june 24 2013

Follow the Rabbit

Thanks to Edward J. Snowden’s current life adventure, the question of our privacy in 2013 and beyond has come into question again. Mr. Snowden isn’t so special, however, as there’s weekly news bulletins that highlight how transparent we’ve become whether we know or like it—hardly anything is a secret.

Remember the Red Seal?

There was a time when official state or personal correspondence was sealed with a wax imprint to ensure the privacy of its contents. Today we may have certified mail or services like FedEx for direct correspondence but the majority of us conduct both professional and personal discourse through the internet and phone texts. There’s no guarantee that these interactions are safe from unwanted monitoring or hacking.

Blame the Governments?

The fact remains that the U.S. government is unable to truly “spy” on everyone’s conversations or internet blah-blah: there simply isn’t enough manpower and the computer algorithms in place are just barely keeping up with the real terrorist/hostile enemy threats to U.S. citizens and interests. Personal responsibility remains the ugly elephant in the room—when you log in or have your phone on, you are placing yourself in a vulnerable position.

Perception is Revealing

The next time you post photos on your social media website of choice, try to imagine that you just ran them on one of the huge screens at New York City’s Time Square and any other major metropolis in the world. Let’s take that a step further and consider that the text you sent earlier today blasting your boss was retrieved by your human resources department at the job—oops. An entire article could respectively be devoted to the exposure of our financial, medical and other very personal assets in this “connected” world.

Concede or Recede?

I personally don’t know what the answer is to this question of our privacy in the 21st century. It must be a conversation we continue to have without too much malice for one group or another–respect for each other is the best foundation to find what’s our common ground.  Please remember that those who work in the government are still people just like you and me. In order to live freely in America we’ve had compromise through the decades of contentious things like the Civil War, Civil Rights and now access to information–personal or public.

R.V.S.Bean

note: for those catching up on news of Mr. Snowden, a recent New York Times article found here http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/25/world/europe/snowden-case-carries-a-cold-war-aftertaste.html?_r=0

and I recommend watching Ben Affleck’s “Argo” for a Hollywood-style reality check on just how deadly information in the wrong hands can be (I’m sure there are many other films in this category, this was the most recent I’ve watched-cheers!)

President Hillary Rodham Clinton: Hope for Women, Democratics and Republicans Alike

My Political Confession

When I was just an emerging teenager I was excited to get my hands on a Clinton/Gore campaign sign and proudly tacked it onto my busy bedroom wall–the “Pinterest” way of doing things back in 1992 was to clutter one’s wall with quotes, photos of celebrity crushes and so forth.  I couldn’t vote yet but I knew what it was to be on welfare and food stamps as my single mother of three children struggled to recover economically after escaping an abusive marriage and I liked what Bill Clinton said as I listened to him late at night playing saxophone and speaking with Arsenio Hall.

After September 11, 2001 I found myself moving to Washington, DC as a newlywed in January 2002 where I would embark on an amazing journey in just over half a decade’s time where I would serve several positions as congressional staff in the U.S. House of Representatives for a couple of Members–one of which was infamously known for the U.S. House Page scandal that preceded the fall of the GOP in mid-term 2006 election cycle.  In the wake of fall of 2006 I was able to accept the opportunity to serve President George W. Bush’s administration in the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

As the 2008 Presidential election debates waged before the respective Democratic and Republican conventions, I personally had just given birth to my first child and was reeling in the awesome responsibility and reality of my new occupation–politics seemed like a poorly written drama series that I watched bleary-eyed during frequent feeding for my newborn.  I understood and was at peace with that after 8 years of a Republican president who had been bludgeoned in public opinion here at home and abroad afforded the Democrats a clear path to the presidency.  Of course the question remained who would it be?

During the 2008 Presidential campaign our country witnessed an amazing possibility for two people of minority status (one a bi-racial man and another a woman), one of which would go on to win the Democratic nomination and the overall election most decidedly–namely President Barack Obama, our first bi-racial president.  Hillary Rodham Clinton, however, I personally felt was the woman for the job and although I’m a Republican, I believed in her ability to serve our nation as the first woman President and conduct herself fairly amongst the two major political parties.

Where Is Hillary Today?

It’s still less than 100 years ago that women in the United States of America were afforded the right to vote.  The right to vote!  If only we could describe the ridiculous nature of that reality to the young women today–that truly, women who bear life to men, support men, love men and ultimately will many times sacrifice for men, were not allowed to vote in matters of government.

It was a bitter pill to swallow to watch a woman who had every right and ability to serve our nation as President to be beat in some unfriendly exchanges and by political machinery supporting our present POTUS (President of the United States).  At the same time, it was impressive to witness how Mrs. Clinton took the loss and then proceeded to accept the opportunity to serve as our Secretary of State.  If you were paying attention to the weekly reports, she did a most impressive job at it up to her resignation recently.

Where is Hillary today? There is some silence with a distinct shuffling sound heard in the background–the power deck is being shuffled and perhaps the groundwork is being laid down.  You can conduct your own internet search via Google or other search engines: my own yielded a recent report from a Greek American online outlet http://usa.greekreporter.com/2013/02/11/exclusive-hillary-clinton-will-run-for-president-in-2016-confirmed/

2016: Change Will Happen, Is There Hope for Women?

There has been so much flux in most Americans lives in the past several years–maybe it’s the acceleration of our technology, our vulnerability to crazy things like terrorists or that we’re trying to find our bearings in a new global economy that reels almost daily from our connectivity.  What we do know is that anything is possible nowadays, especially in the realm of politics.

Although it was easy to attack President Obama for his lack of executive experience when he first entered the White House as our POTUS, we should be thankful that he helped pave the way for his successors.  It turns out that there is no perfect resume for this job–the best prerequisite for this work is dependent on the character of the person and their ability to adapt and proceed forward successfully despite the unexpected (public marital infidelity: i.e. blue dress), harassing public opinion (upon first being elected as NY senator), being disrespected on the campaign trail (Google anything from 2008 campaign shorts) and the list goes on for Hillary Rodham Clinton.

At this very moment I cannot formulate my ultimate opinion on the question on who it could be but I remain hopeful that there will be a woman President of the United States in this century and I believe it is possible to be a Republican and support a Democrat–as a Floridian I’m proud to say that many voters in our state have been this way for decades.  My encouragement to you is to do your own research on the candidates in the next Presidential election and then search yourself as to what you feel is best for our nation.

What Democrats, Republicans and any other political party believers can agree on is that there is no absolute party that is the best for the U.S.  We are free to discuss, debate and decide–we then have the personal right to try to support whoever (or whichever party) ends up leading our nation through the next round.  The political pendulum continues whether our man or woman wins the election, as Americans we must keep up hope and work together regardless of the results each time.

R.V. Saridakis Bean

RomneyRyan Florida Sunset

 

 

 

 

Modern American Marriage in 2013: An Institution between Two Adults of any Religion, Color, Race, Gender or Sexual Orientation?

Note:  I have been moved by this subject matter for over a decade and most recently my personal world has been rocked by how this topic has proceeded in our country causing division and confusion.  This post is meant to help myself and others see that we can’t ignore the issue and must see the truth—regardless of what our personal comfort levels may or may not be.  –RVSB

Jealousy Felt Around the World

What’s both great and arrogant about our United States of America is the plethora of freedoms that we really do enjoy in comparison with the rest of the nations on Earth.  While there is debate as to whether or not our economic status or stock market powerhouse still yields the same influence as it has in decades past—there can be no argument that this is still the best nation in the world when it comes to our religious and social freedoms that natives and immigrants (and even not-yet-legal immigrants) have access to thrive.

What is the Definition of Marriage?

When most of us were children, it never occurred to us that anything other than a man and a woman defined the basic ingredients for a marriage.  Needless to say, it’s 2013 today and our world’s consciousness on the matter has hit an open range of possibilities.  Consider for a moment that in Islam, for example, a man can take for himself up to four wives as long as he can provide for his respective spouses and offspring thereof.

What dictates the definition of marriage usually depends on who is answering the question: for instance, someone of a conservative Christian background will repeat their religion’s conventional or Bible scripture wisdom on the matter while there remain sects of Mormon believers that still practice polygamy.

There’s no doubt, however, that public opinion is in a full debate whether the same gender or various sexual orientation unions should or should not be considered as standard marriage material.  Why is this even a question anymore?

What’s Not New Under the Sun

Here’s what we do know—anthropologists and historians would agree—there have always been heterosexuals, homosexuals and bisexuals in our human race.   Most recently we’ve had the medical-breakthrough ability to manipulate hormones and such that individuals committed to doing so can change their sex (especially in the case of those who may be born with both sexual organs and seek to be one or the other).

It can be verified and inferred that there have been countless marriages involving homosexuals that have married a heterosexual, a bisexual married a heterosexual or any other combination.  Throw in any transsexuals or cross-dressers and the complexities continue.  We are lying to ourselves if we don’t already recognize the fact that these legal marriages have existed.

Common law marriage?  There have probably been more homosexual and/or bisexual unions that qualify to be a common law marriage than in the strictly heterosexual circles!  It’s just that they haven’t been detailed as recognizable by our state’s laws.

What Matters Most: Comfort or Conformity?

 The truth remains that in the U.S. you can get married either by a secular or a religious person and be recognized as a legally married couple by federal law according to each state’s laws—the lines between church and state have been blurred at this point and therefore leave room for the freedom of two legally consenting adults to be married despite their physical gender, religious or political affiliation, race (like bi-racial as in the case of our very own President of the United States) or sexual orientation.  In other words, there’s really no reason that gays (or bisexuals, etc) cannot be recognized as a legal marrying sort.

How Do We Go Down the Aisle of Acceptance?

While the U.S. Supreme Court has been in the news recently because of two cases before them, including a proposition situation in California after the elections in November 2012—they cannot ultimately fix this unfortunate glitch.

The hopeful signs, however, are that more lawmakers by the weeks and months passing are beginning to break their silence over the matter and show support for those seeking the ability to get married regardless of whether they are the same gender or have a sexual orientation other than “heterosexual”.

If there is one thing I would like to say in terms of a request from my American peers, it would be that we please stop trying to politicize this issue of allowing non-heterosexuals to participate in the legal action of marriage and its rights therein.  Although it may seem like it’s mostly Republicans against this, it’s simply not fair to those Republicans that don’t mind or simply don’t care.

Love is love and in America where we pride ourselves in being created equal, we must accept that whoever wants to walk that aisle of selflessness to bond with another imperfect person to face the world’s joys and sorrows is truly an inalienable human right.

R.V.Saridakis Bean

P.S. For those who are Christian like myself and would tell me that I should consider that homosexuality is regarded as a sin in various scripture quotes and interpretations–I would immediately remind them there is nothing seen or unseen that goes unnoticed by our Creator.  We are all sinners.  Again, this question as to whether non-heterosexuals should be able to participate in a federal/state-recognized legal marriage is irrelevant as American marriage is not exclusive to only those in the Christian religions.

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America and Greece: More Alike than Some Would Like to Admit

Veteran’s Day Morning in SoFla

This morning at Saint Mark Greek Orthodox Church in Boca Raton, Florida we had a color guard and an acting officer in our U.S. military present both the American and Greek flag in celebration and honorance of Veteran’s Day.  As a congregation we sang in unison both respective national anthems with our hands over hearts. The speeches, music and unified revere for both nations created an emotional atmosphere.  It was a reminder that the United States and Greece are still bound with more similarities than we realize.

U.S. Presidential Election Redux: So Easy to Throw Punches

It’s less than a week since our nation had our elections and already the discussions abound as to how our country can move forward and actually tackle some of the immediate problems that affect our citizens: among some of the major topics being a sluggish economy, widespread debt in personal lives as well as the municipalities and the ongoing threats to our active military posts.

It was just a few weeks ago during the second publicized debate between President Barack Obama and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney that Greece was mentioned in a less than favorable manner.  In short, Mr. Romney verbally attacked President Obama’s notions and policies as sending America down the path of becoming like Greece.  Just in case you missed it, this was a grave insult hurled at Greeks both in America and abroad.

Roots, Entanglements and Exercises

Documented and debated history points to Ancient Greece as the cradle of what we know as modern democracy today.  For instance, about 2400 years ago in Athens they would draw 500 names from the citizens of Athens (excluding women, children and slaves/servants) who would serve as the law makers and all eligible citizens were required to vote on proposed legislation and such—the formation of various city-states like Sparta and Athens were formed around 1000 B.C.

Fast forwarding to the 20th century, modern Greece entered World War II in late 1940 and the country itself suffered through a famine that killed thousands between the years 1941-42.  By January 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was persuaded to create a new 112nd Infantry Battalion to be based in Camp Carson, Colorado.  Incidentally, the number “122” had a symbolic meaning at the time representing 122 years of Greek Independence from the Ottoman Empire.  This battalion was comprised of Greek-Americans who would be sent over to help Greece as she fought against the Nazis’ occupation and such.

Whether it be by infused political and military philosophies, shared love of food and fun, the athletic contests of the Olympic Games and several articles that could be written on the subject matter we have in common—The United States and Greece have a historic love affair with each other that we can readily embrace or with weak arguments try to disguise the existence of such a liaison.

Dollars, Euros and Sense?

In today’s the New York Times, there is an article referring to Greece’s most recent struggle to face the specific realities of its current economic problems—“Friedrich Schneider, an economics professor…in Linz, Austria estimates that about 120 billion euros in Greek assets lie outside the country…representing an extraordinary 65% of the country’s overall economic output”.  The piece outlines the current idea to create an amnesty program for those who have evaded taxes in the past with a lure of a 15-20% flat tax on everyone. For more of the article: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/12/business/global/greece-renews-struggle-against-tax-evasion.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Here in America, the latest from newly re-elected President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner have been trading sound bites on their hope that both sides can work together avoiding the infamous coined “fiscal cliff”.  Although President Obama should be able to garner support with House Republicans since he’s going into his second and final term and doesn’t have the political pressure to stay sole party line—in turn, Republicans should be willing to work the President for the common goal of bringing American back to financial health and onward.

From President Obama’s 2012 Campaign: How Do We Go “Forward”?

I’ve only mentioned a couple of items that both Greece and the United States have to tackle despite the general consensus of negative attitudes toward the government and the sparring respective political party factions.  When will the goal of government leaders become to harness power to work for positive change in the interest of their citizens rather than trying to convince their citizens as to why they are the better ones to have the power over their political opponents?

What Greece and the United States have shown in their respective election cycles and financial meltdowns is that a change in philosophical mindset and public discourse is happening whether those in governmental power recognize it or not.  Greece will forever hold a place in the United State’s history of a democratic influence and today the U.S. is linked with her still as we are trying to navigate this new ground of adjusting our economic policies and trying to energize our population to continue its education, creativity and overall American way.

Americans and Greeks alike have changed the course of human history when they summon the courage to go forward for the right reasons and sacrifice the wrong reasons to blaze a positive and resounding trail forward.

R. Saridakis Bean

Sources:

http://www.militaryhistoryonline.com/wwii/articles/ossgreece.aspx

http://www.ancient-greece.us/democracy.html

www.wikipedia.com

www.nytimes.com

How Obama and Romney May Have Insulted or Inspired Women Tonight

WOMEN NEED TO SPEAK UP OVER THE CANDIDATES

Kitchen Shop Talk

In the hour following the second debate between President Barack Obama and former Governor Mitt Romney, I donned a pair of my favorite high heel shoes while wearing my sleep pants and robe to go forth in our family’s kitchen and get it in order for the new day ahead tomorrow (technically as I write this we are speaking for this morning).  Why the high heel shoes?  A demonstration that things are not always as they seem—and yet, perception often translates what we understand to be reality.

Women Wake Up!

I often disclose that I’m a mother of two small sons, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a granddaughter and many other roles that I care to share and others that are no one’s business…either way, if I were to enter the paying workforce today I would still put down that what I do on a daily basis is part of my “experience” portion of the resume.  It is a severe problem that people don’t even consider that when a woman “stays at home” that they are still contributing to society, with or without raising children.

Both Men Were Men

In tonight’s debate we were exposed to strong doses of testosterone—in one moment it looked as if fists were about to fly.  These men were dancing with words and trying at every exchange to gain the upper hand without looking too condescending.  As they went through the various “town hall” style questioning, it got awkwardly quiet when a young women introduced herself and asked what would be done about the fact that women still make just over 70% of every dollar that a man makes in the same job titles.

Romney Catered Hiring Practices But Lacks in Perception

Right away Gov. Romney garnered favor and extra time from the moderator Ms. Crowley as he waxed on about how he and his staff actively sought out to consider and hire women for his Massachusetts’ governor cabinet staff.  He cited how he had a Chief of Staff that was a woman and needed to be home for her family and so he agreed to let her go home at 5pm so as to be there to cook dinner for her children and spend time with the rest of the household.

Meanwhile, earlier this year, there was a noise made in the airwaves and internet when Democrat operative Hillary Rosen said that Mrs. Romney “has never worked a day” in her life.  Mrs. Romney had some comebacks in the press and there was some great conversations generated but we are still in the same perception paradigm.   Somehow, it isn’t considered “real work” if you’re not receiving a monetary paycheck as a woman and when you are recognized in the “real workplace” your time away is considered your own fault and counted against you.

Gov. Romney how will you ensure equal pay wages for women versus men?

President Obama’s Attempt to Appease Domestic Goddesses and the Paid Women Working

Frankly, I can’t recall all of what President Obama said in response to the women’s fair wages question except I heard him claim ownership of the contraception debate on whether or not healthcare providers should give women this accessibility. What followed in the moments thereafter infuriated me as both the POTUS and Gov. Romney had a verbal tussle with each other as to who was supportive of women having access to contraception coverage.

Let me be clear as to how that argument translated in my female brain: “I’m sorry ladies, let’s make sure that you have accessibility to contraception coverage in your health care binder so that you can help avoid pregnancies overall so you can actually have a fair chance at being consider a good worker in the paying workplaces that are so eager to hire overworking women at just over 70% of every dollar that other men—even less qualified—get to enjoy in their wages.  See how much I care for your equality?”

Nonsense.

Mr. President how will you ensure equal pay wages for women versus men?

What We Can Do

In general, women need to get more involved in politics and public policy on whatever level they are able.  Some can go work in an office and hash it out continuously in the working-for-wages world.  Some like myself can make time to contribute to a local or federal campaign, run for local office or at the very least educate ourselves to know what is going on around us and look for ways to help especially if there is some policy or other situation that we disagree with and may have ideas on how to change them.

Please remember, ladies, that it was less than a hundred years ago when we as women were actually given the right to vote for those going into public office.  Can you imagine not having that right today?  It was just as much injustice back then as it would be today if that were the case.

Research, educate yourself and help your girlfriends too for even if we disagree as to who we should vote for this November, let us be heard as the strong women we are beside our strong men counterparts who are our friends, our family, our lovers, our acquaintances and overall our American citizen brothers.

R.V. Saridakis Bean

A Political Short: Romney/Ryan vs Kerry/Edwards

Homemaker Intro

As a wife and mother of two young, busy sons I would like to throw my opinion out into the unruly mass of cyberspace regarding the latest “Political Short” in my mind.  This presidential election is unfolding with the same fatigue that I feel as I push through days with little sleep but lots of little energetic beings around me.  The Republican Romney/Ryan ticket also reminds me of the Democratic Kerry/Edwards election year in that although on the surface it seems that President Obama should lose this campaign–he will not.

Although I can be proven wrong this November, my sense is that barring anything unusual happening, I expect that President Obama will be re-elected without too much ado.

The Prediction

There are countless people out there who are doing the constant calculations of electoral votes and know every detail of what’s needed for either side to attain victory.  My measurements are based on my tiny universe and those around me who are just trying to make it through each day in their work and family lives.

Americans are in the middle of trying to pull themselves up after yelling at the local and federal governments about why they’re hurting financially.  Then there are people in our nation that are just starting to figure out that the greatest power they can wield over their circumstances is to take personal responsibility.  Between trying to attain and keep employment or survive as a caregiver, student, et cetera—Americans are tired and have little patience to follow the particulars of this Presidential race.

Student Council Days Part II

The past decade has not yielded dynamic Presidential races–in fact, the match-ups have been bland or downright annoying.  Mitt Romney may have taken this road several times but he still comes off as an aloof man and as John Kerry failed to naturally connect with everyday Americans, Romney is hitting a bumpy road in the popularity contest.

That brings us to the sad truth of how petty we’ve become as a society where even our Presidential race is like a wonkish version of “American Idol”.  We have Paul Ryan whose looks are pleasing to most eyes and his family story comes right out of the Hallmark Channel–add to that he’s wickedly smart and knows policy and you have a real robust vice presidential candidate.  This is reminiscent of the general appeal held by Democratic candidate John Edwards in 2004 prior to his crazy love child storyline that unfolded years later.

Political Benediction

I still hope that most Americans who are able to will come out and vote for whomever they deem fit to take our nation through the next four years this November.  As for whether the president is President Obama again or Mitt Romney is given a chance–what truly matters is that our President of the United States helps inspire us to be the best citizens we can be regardless of what political party dominates inside the Washington D.C. Beltway.

R.V.Saridakis Bean

Why Vote? A Humble Answer

This morning began before the sun had risen. My oldest son woke up the younger son resulting in a symphony of “Mama” in both verbal and nonverbal terms.  As I navigated the early hours between fixing coffee, breakfast for the family and dressing the children as well as myself, the silent question drifted through my mind: “How will I make it through the day?”

It was late morning by the time I was in the car with my children to start on the errands and adventures ahead of us for this otherwise ordinary Tuesday.  As I was watching the traffic for the safe moment to crossover I saw them.  The people waving on the side of the road with flags and political signs.  My mind again rattling off: “Crapp. It’s voting day. I don’t even know who and what for except for a couple of signs I’ve seen on the road in the past several weeks.”

As it turned out, our first item on our schedule would take me right past my voting precinct.  Internally I react: “I have to stop, of course I don’t want to deal with it since I’ve the boys with me and have no help, no distraction for them. I have to explain this play-by-play to my four-year-old and God knows I am exhausted already of doing so all morning as it is! But I have the right to vote.  I don’t have a paycheck-paying job but I work my mind, body and heart out everyday 24/7 and I can participate in having a say who is to sit on that circuit judge seat(s) and who will be our tax collector and eventually by this fall who I think has my confidence in leading our nation as the President of the United States. I have to turn in to this gated community to go and vote.”

As I pulled up to the security gate and gave my name and purpose, the guard lady gave me a warm smile and assurance that no one had really passed through recently and so I should be in and out quickly.  Perhaps it was the dinosaur Raptor-like screech she heard from my 17 month old or the constant “Mama, mama…” from my other son while I was stopped there that prompted her to give me the kind encouragement.  I did appreciate her candor.

Once at the voting place situated at the Ibis Country Club community clubhouse area, I saw the campaign people and signs again and took care to avoid them.  It was nothing against them personally, it’s just I already had my hands full as I was unloading the boys and picking up the food particles, books, toys and other random projectiles that catapulted out of our vehicle with each door that I was opening. I decided immediately that placing the baby in my back carrier was the best idea while holding my other son’s hand and making a game of running up to the clubhouse through the carefully manicured grass: oops, sorry Ibis.

Thankfully, the guard lady was right. No one was in the voting area except for the presiding volunteers.  After working out where my ballot was I found myself at the privacy booth with my boys by the window where they would look out and watch the activity at the golf course. I looked at the ballot and was slightly baffled, there were literally only two names I recognized on this ballot and that’s only because one I’ve known in my Greek-American local community and the other because I’m used to seeing them as the incumbent.

Enter inner debate with embellishment as I write this: “I’m so embarrassed with myself, I haven’t been paying attention and I made no effort to even try to look up some of these folks before I came here.  Yet, I’m here damn it.  I don’t have the luxury of time and although it may seem irresponsible to vote blindly for the most part, at the very least I am exercising my right to vote and if everyone did so it would be amazing to see the results.  Sometimes people making it in by sheer chance may be better than the ones everyone thinks will win.”

I understand that there are people reading this that will feel much differently and perhaps even group me into being part of the problem when it comes to the voting turnouts.  But try to hear me out one more time on this argument that it’s better to vote than not at all.

Everyone who is eligible to vote should because we can and if we all would in this country then truly the blame and disdain for whatever goes “wrong” in the government would be a shared responsibility by the nation’s citizens for placing these men and women in power and we could enact swift change when and as needed.  Our political campaign history has shown that when the voting population is galvanized to vote even just 5-10% more than what the average turnout is, political machines and pre-determined incumbent victors fall to the wayside in a delirious dusting like the shift I weathered as a Legislative Assistant on Capitol Hill in a Republican office in the mid-term elections of 2006.

As for today, it turned out to be a local primary election.  Small potatoes but still a part of the construction of what are local offices are to look like by November this year.  I was given a voting ballot with my party affiliation and the simple instructions to connect the arrow pointing to my respective selections.  It was easy to vote for the two persons I knew, my next step was to vote for all women since my political passion is to help bring more women into the mix as we are still under-represented.

The boys were squirming by the end but I was grateful that they weathered this adventure well and that if anything they are witnessing continuously that mommy feels this is important to do no matter what the mood or weather of the particular voting day may be.  I do admit the following mental note: try to plan ahead for absentee ballots for voting days when possible.

My random voting day ended with a laugh as I drove out of the parking lot I recognized one of the names I had voted for and decided to roll down my window and speak to the lady there: “Are you Jaimie?” She answered that she wasn’t.  “Is Jaimie a woman?”  The lady had stood at this point and replied with a big smile, “No, but he’s a good man!”  I chuckled at this fly luck for this candidate as judging by her tone she had encountered this question as to his gender many times before.  “Well, good for him because I voted for him because I thought he was a woman!”  We both laughed and wished each other a nice day.

R.V.S.Bean

Post-note:

A colleague of mine made a very good suggestion via a comment to this blog posting: as long as your vote ballot is still counted, you can just vote for whatever/whoever you know. Case in point being the state amendments that end up on ballo…

ts–better to skip voting on that amendment if you don’t know its consequences. That being said, I still feel it’s important to come out and vote even if you end up only picking one thing/person on the ballot than not vote at all.

Why Fight? All Mamas Work!

Cue the New York Times latest online: Strategist’s Comment Sets Off Fierce Political Debate On Role of Women http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/13/us/politics/hilary-rosens-ann-romney-comments-spark-campaign-debate.html

Forgive me as I’m far too exhausted from a humble day of raising two boys and helping family out to actually type out a properly written response to the latest “debate” in the race for our next President of the United States as we creep closer to the 2012 Fall election season. However, since my partner in life’s crime called me today from his “work” to tell me what Ms. Hilary Rosen had said and thereafter apologized for, I must try to say something back.

“never worked a day in her life”…maybe it’s my Greek philosophical blood or my spirit’s overall demeanor, I just don’t see how anyone can accuse a mother of not “working” if she decides to be a “stay-at-home” mother.  At the same time, I also don’t understand or subscribe to those who would dare demonize a mother who has children and also takes time to work “outside the home”–they actually impress me as they are juggling two careers and I am inspired to do more because of them and want to help where I can if possible.  In short, to all those who would make comments I kindly propose that they shut up.  Why fight over this? All parents work!

Given my history of working in politics and my inevitable future of dabbling again in this rough area of our society (e.g. campaigning and working for/as government-appointed or elected officials), I understand that campaigning can get a bit dirty and idiotic.  However, in this case, I’m glad that even our First Lady Michelle Obama made the concise comment on Twitter that, “every mother works hard, and every woman deserves to be respected.”

As I was pulling weeds and harvesting our cabbage in my garden with my sons this afternoon I had the thought flash in my mind that there were countless women centuries before our time that were also working like us if not even harder and that was before we had social security, pay stubs, time clocks and wage wars–let alone “mommy wars”.  What really hurts about this latest mommy slur was that it was a woman who uttered the disdainful comment–as if we don’t already have enough to deal with in an obvious patriarchal society here.

Thank you for apologizing Ms. Hilary Rosen for a momentary lapse in judgement (we all have them, no doubt) and thanks to Mrs. Ann Romney for being honest that as much as us mamas love our children, it’s not easy work–it’s a labor of love beyond delivery/acceptance/adoption and whether or not we receive paychecks I truly believe that all mamas work.

R.V.S.B.

Four More Years? Yes, He Can! Repeat Post: From January 28, 2011

NOTE: I was just reviewing some of my files and came across this post from last year.  I feel it still hold true even though President Obama has yet to deliver his State of the Union address for 2012. Enjoy!

Four More Years: Yes,  He Can!

We can acknowledge that history repeats itself in our human society here on Earth.  Those who weave a successful future usually have studied history well and focused on what worked well so that they can ensure a positive outcome in their own lives.  Enter here: President Barack Obama.  This man has played the cards of political fate with such precision that he is securing his legacy as our POTUS (President of the United States) and tenure for four more years until 2016.

I was unable to watch his State of the Union address earlier this week but was able to read the transcript.  You can go to this link for its entirety in text form: http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/stateoftheunion2011.htm

Whatever your political bend is, you must realize and note that President Obama is effectively taking a page out of President Reagan’s playbook of how-to when the Executive Branch no longer holds dominance on Capitol Hill.  House Speaker John Boehner will be Mr. Obama’s Tip O’Neill.

As the media mix of cable networks, radio and freelancers that blog like myself churn away with our opinions and rebuttals, the fact remains that the American people overall only care to cling to a positive, unifying message.  The mad cocktail-gone-bad that has been our economy for the past several years has left many in our nation overall depressed and disillusioned about what’s ahead.  This has helped to spark more passion in our political parties—so much so that we had a change in power in the House of Representatives was quickly reversed this past fall after the Democrats had it only since the infamous fall of the GOP in mid-term elections 2006.

I noticed that President Obama’s tone of rhetoric changed shortly after the mid-cycle elections, perhaps he was grounded by the returns that election night or maybe he just understood that it was now his time to truly shine as a leader despite what the balance of powers was between the Executive and Legislative branch.  For those watching closely, Mr. Obama did ram through a few costly and liberal-themed things immediately after becoming our current POTUS.  This was a smart calculation as he was able to establish some items before there were any repercussions from either Democrats or Republicans.

Further, by weathering the political upheaval this past fall with a tactful concession, he is able to cover over any long-standing effects that will be due to his decisions since he was sworn in.  In part, by applauding and accepting that American wanted to be heard, he has encouraged us to look forward to trying to change our current predicament of a slump economy in need of jobs and debt removal.

His State of the Union address this week speaks directly to all of us Americans who are choosing to ignore the Wall Street hyper-talk and economic rumblings of demise.  He is able to capitalize on the recent Tucson, Arizona shootings tragedy in a positive manner by rallying the nation to embrace what we ought to strive for as one of the major world powers.

I offer these lines from President Ronald Reagan’s first State of the Union address to the nation on January 26, 1982 : “A year ago, Americans’ faith in their governmental process was steadily declining. Six out of 10 Americans were saying they were pessimistic about their future. A new kind of defeatism was heard. Some said our domestic problems were uncontrollable, that we had to learn to live with this seemingly endless cycle of high inflation and high unemployment. There were also pessimistic predictions about the relationship between our administration and this Congress. It was said we could never work together. Well, those predictions were wrong. The record is clear, and I believe that history will remember this as an era of American renewal, remember this administration as an administration of change, and remember this Congress as a Congress of destiny.”Read more: State of the Union Address: Ronald Reagan (January 26, 1982) — Infoplease.com http://www.infoplease.com/t/hist/state-of-the-union/195.html#ixzz1CIwQgnAS

Couple those words with our current Commander-in-Chief: “What comes of this moment is up to us. What comes of this moment will be determined not by whether we can sit together tonight, but whether we can work together tomorrow.  I believe we can. I believe we must. That’s what the people who sent us here expect of us. With their votes, they’ve determined that governing will now be a shared responsibility between parties.  New laws will only pass with support from Democrats and Republicans.  We will move forward together, or not at all – for the challenges we face are bigger than party, and bigger than politics.”

Amazing isn’t it? Not much has changed but that is to our advantage because it means we always can choose whether to tackle our future or not.  President Barack Obama is a great example of a man who although has faults and maybe even some fraudulence to his character, he embraces what has worked throughout the centuries—a positive message repeated in simple terms will often mobilize the masses to accomplish great things.

God Bless America.

RVSB

Wyoming Life

"God bless it and keep it wild"