United by Exhaustion: Divided by Dysfunction

Brief Reflection: South Florida

Day 30 of our self-isolation here at the Bean abode and although our household has been apart from everyone else physically in our Palm Beach County community, we feel as though we’re close to so many others given the collective circumstance we’re all experiencing during this COVID-19 global pandemic.

The first time I wrote on this subject of Covid-19 and most U.S.  students’ lives being drastically changed we were having a full moon here —last week we had another full moon, and so life continues for the planet even while it seems it’s in an uncomfortable stasis.

Looking Around

Based on what I read in the news and social media coupled with communication between family and friends, it seems we are all in a fog of recognition that a great deal of change to our behavior has occurred in most everyone’s lives in the last several weeks in our American Republic.

Our social media feeds include random posts of photos to help distract, memes for medicinal laughter, media links to help educate, invitations to gather virtually—and then sometimes, for some of us like myself, we end up turning off our phones and other electronic devices to just take a break from it all. 

Right Now: April 15, 2020

Wacky Wednesday…time to clean out the bathroom!

It’s Wednesday, “hump day”, the day that most workers during the week would herald as one to push on through and afterwards enjoy the “downhill” slide to the end of the work week.  Today Wednesday is the day that most parents and caregivers woke up and could hardly see straight or move their broken bodies to keep up with the frenetic pace that their little ones (or even teenage ones) began this day with–ah, to be young again.

As a homeschooling mother of three children: respectively aged 11, 9, and 5 years old, I would like to take a quick moment to tell you that if you are a parent/caregiver to any child(ren) during this time and are having to deal with having them home when usually they would be at school: You. Are. Amazing! Please, give yourself grace and hug them as much as you can every day.  This is a temporary period and there will come a day when the old routines will return.

Truly, there is no playbook for what is happening these past few weeks, and no matter if you have a background in education or have kids at home for your own curriculum or virtual school anyway— this collective arrangement is completely new to us all.  It’s an overwhelming, bittersweet blessing in some ways and we cannot judge each other for however we manage our homes over the matter.

It’s Tax Day too. Good thing there’s an extension for those who haven’t filed yet!

Trying to Look Ahead

No words…

Our nation is united in a state of suspended grief and continuous exhaustion.  We’re all trying to find our new normal after altering our habits.  It’s said that it takes humans about 30 days to break a habit and about 30 days to make new ones—so here we are.

Unfortunately, as the coronavirus fatigue wears on, our federal and state elected officials are having a challenging time with how to coordinate efforts to help our healthcare and first responder workers along with trying to balance the adverse effects on our economy as a whole.  

There is article after article citing the difficulties that American families are facing economically, mentally, and the long-term effects expected for our children.  How can we as parents/caregivers see straight some days as we collectively squint ahead on what our new normal routines will be going forward?

There is a feeling of helplessness that can take hold and yet thankfully we can take stock of our immediate surrounding as well as our greater community to see if there is anything we can do to help.  Obviously, staying put has been most helpful in areas trying to “flatten the curve” as we’ve all learned—but we need to be more active and there are ways we can do more with all the 21st century tools we have.

No Time for Politics and Yet It’s Time for Politics

Old girl learning new ways to work to help others…

For those of you reading that know me, I have worked for congressional Republicans on Capitol Hill in the past.  For my last paying job before I gave birth to my first child, I was honored to serve as a political appointee in the George W. Bush administration as a worker for Secretary Henry Paulson’s office.  Watching from afar the respective Obama and now Trump administrations has been a rollercoaster ride for folks like me who were once part of the inner-workings of our federal government.  

I’ve often defended both Democrats and Republicans in the various federal offices because I trust that many mean well for our nation, even if I don’t necessarily agree with their political stances.  Then there are moments like this Covid-19 global pandemic that serve to fleece all those in elected positions of power and reveal who among us are the compassionate leaders and who are the consistently inconsistent ones that voters need to re-examine closely should they run again.

Joe Biden is the presumptive nominee for the Democratic party in the run for President of the United States this year.  Both Senator Bernie Sanders and former President Barack Obama have come out publicly to endorse him in the past week or two (hard to keep up during coronavirus timeline).

I have made tentative predictions in the past when it comes to presidential elections and although they’ve not been popular ones with some of my Republican counterparts, they’ve stemmed from my assessment of where the American public seems to be emotionally.

Where are Americans now emotionally-speaking?  

94-year-old Granddad Bean, WWII mentality during Covid-19, walking daily while self-isolated…

We are united in fatigue.  We’re fatigued from the constant bickering between congressional Democrats and the Trump administration from the moment he was sworn in as President of the United States.  We’re fatigued from the media’s energies and tax-payers’ money spent on investigating hacking from foreign sources like Russia when it comes to how our 2016 presidential election played out.  We’re fatigued from the conspiracy theories that the Earth may actually be flat and that former President Bill Clinton had an active friendship with now-deceased Jeffrey Epstein.  Finally, 2019 closed with impeachment hearings and votes by the U.S. House of Representatives and a drawn-out affair in the Senate that yielded no true outcome in President Trump’s “impeachment”. All while Covid-19 had likely already reached our American shores and sickened many without knowing what it was.

If Joe Biden wins this upcoming fall over President Trump, it will be most likely attributed to how tired the American psyche is as a collective and particularly because of who Biden agrees to have surround him in governance beginning with his selection of a running mate—preferably a female for his Vice President selection.  While I grant that I’m biased as a woman myself, I don’t believe that women need to run the world entirely, rather that a balance in governance must be struck. 100 years ago, this August we’ll recognize when our federal government said women can vote (but that unfortunately didn’t include women of color). We need both men and women, Democrats, Republicans, and Independents…we need everyone to find a way to balance having constructive debates and at the same time keep our states and nation as a whole moving forward with productive compromises to thrive and grow as the United States of America.

Divided by Dysfunction

There’s no point in my writing about what we’ve all been witnessing as the Covid-19 crisis has unfolded in the last month or so here.  Most of us have had much more time to read, research, and simply watch press conferences daily from all sorts of sources.

My prayer and hope as a private citizen today is that we can overcome our division by dysfunction and continue to work toward a better future for our nation and to leave a legacy that our next generation can build on.

In the meantime, I wish good health to anyone reading or a safe recovery to anyone still battling this virus or any other illness for that matter.  May we all find ways to make the most of this bittersweet “Pause of 2020” due to the Covid-19 crisis and be able to move forward filled with hope for better days instead of fearing days ahead.

R.V.S. Bean

Busy hands make hearts happy…


Some of my past related blog shorts:

https://ceoofthehome.net/2020/03/10/the-true-corona-nightmare-what-if-youre-cooped-up-with-children-and-covid-19/

https://ceoofthehome.net/2016/11/01/united-we-vote-and-slump-clinton-or-trump/

https://ceoofthehome.net/2016/03/16/fog-lifting-america-may-be-ready-for-trump-or-not/

https://ceoofthehome.net/2013/07/15/the-education-revolution-perception-possibilities-and-parents-prerogative/

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

SAVE THE BUTTERFLIES: Why It Matters What You Do

SAVE THE BUTTERFLIES! : Why It Matters What You Do

INTRODUCTION: Just One of Nature’s Many Philosophy Lessons

It was another hectic day, one of those days that it seems there is no end to movement by vehicle or by foot.  As I exited off Interstate 95 I was held up at the red light and as I resigned to this unavoidable wait I looked to my left where the grassy field was alive with activity.  There were little yellow butterflies dancing in the air over the flowers that were some sort of weed by their appearance and random placement.  I chuckled to myself wondering why I was suddenly paying attention to this seemingly useless enterprise.  After a couple more moments, a lesson in life began to affect my mind as I noticed how the butterflies not only traveled in a dizzy flight to each flower, they also interacted with each other: sometimes just two, sometimes three or more and then they would go about their own business again.  How interesting that they would correspond not just to mate but to check in with each other as they went about their mundane grind to pollinate.  For more random facts by the experts: http://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/pollinators/animals/butterflies.shtml

DOMESTIC: Where Are We Americans?

It seems like the past 15 years or more have been filled with anxiety concerning finances and national security.  We’ve been saturated with fast-success moments like the “dot.com” burgeoning era following the launch of the World Wide Web only to have the “tech bubble” burst.  Y2K was the big talk leading up to New Year’s 2000 and then by September 11, 2001 our secular society was shocked by the actions of people that truly made no sense.  With the stock market being too uncertain, the housing market became the new bargaining tool for quick riches and today most Americans are affected one way or another by the housing market bust of the mid-Aughts.

Our political landscape has been entertaining to say the least, I have admitted more than once in my public writing that I was an employee of the former U.S. Representative Mark A. Foley.  I don’t regret it and I will always say that he was a great congressman for our Florida district 16 and his bipartisan way of working on the Hill kept me having faith in the system of government we have in place.  Nevertheless, the personal and ill-acted professional antics of many politicians have rocked the public’s conscience in the past several years.  We have triumphed in having the first biracial President of the United States that was elected in 2008.  Yet as we approach this year’s election our jaded multimedia is still focusing on subjects that are not important and petty.  It doesn’t help that we’ve also had unfortunate voting decisions like the recent one in North Carolina concerning gay marriage: really folks, it’s the year 2012 and we have kids coming out of college with degrees having extreme difficulty finding jobs they can enjoy and thrive in—in my humble opinion, whether homosexual or bisexual individuals decide to marry should literally be up to them, their families and their faiths.  I guess it’s just there’s such more critical issues for our American society to sort through like our undoubted rising debt, inflation and general lack of cohesive national strategy of what our country wants to better itself in like level of education, business direction (should we be more supportive of fair trade, environmentally friendly, innovative energy sources) and the list can go on nearly endlessly.

The butterflies reminded me that even you and I if we seem to be just the “little players” on this busy world stage, we still very much have a major effect on the flow of things in how we relate to others in our field of range.  When I go to the grocery store I do my best to engage with everyone I come in contact with-especially the cashier- you never know how that simple, genuine chat with another human being may bless the both of you.  The relationships you maintain with family and friends is an obvious example of how dynamic we can be with each other and how many times we don’t even see the true aftermath of those countless interactions.

So the economy here in America has us all repeating the same refrain: things are tough, the economy is hurting…but guess what? You do have the power to help those businesses down the road from you.  You can start your own little business with friends to follow a passion and serve a need in the demand for supply locally.  How about that person you know who makes something from hand and sells it?  What about that family restaurant that’s been on the corner forever? Truly if we all began to look at each other and pay a little more mind it would send a ripple effect through the American economy that may not send people into wealthy categories but at least encourage hearts and stoke more activity in business and progress.  As humans we crave and need each other and in America we are diverse and often decisive but we remain somewhat invincible when we really stick together UNITED.

INTERNATIONAL:  My Greece-Ellada Mou

I am not very well informed on the specifics of the political parties warring with each other in Greece at this moment as the Greek government and “powers that be” try to sort out what is the next elections plan for the country.  What I do understand is the general opinion of those in America who feel that Greece is a nation that was irresponsible in its fiscal policy and lacks direction in its own national strategy.  How very similar this sounds as the United States and many other countries around the globe are wrestling with these same issues.

Beyond the story told by video footage and photographs at Greek hotspots like Syntagma Square, it depends on who you speak with in Greece as to how violent and unruly things have become in everyday life there.  There is definitely no argument if you summed up the population as being emotionally drained and financially struggling.  What can we do?

If you’re Greek or American I think the answer is simple and powerful if everyone participates.  In Greece, this time of uncertainty and fiscal pain can be paralyzing but if could also be empowering in driving people to do something completely different.  The country is known for its tourism appeal but if you’ve gone to some of the shorelines, especially south and east of Athens, you’ll find a disgusting amount of garbage.  If there are no beach cleanups, why not start?  It would be great way to get young people involved, aware and build pride in the physical state of their nation.  When it comes to economy, why not start small with local business and build out with companies that can help provide exports like organic feta, olives and wine (a major fad in current foodies’ cycles)?  As for the Greeks abroad, we can help our mother nation by assisting friends and family in financial and emotional support. Again, the reality is even the smallest player can affect the general direction of a nation if we only start with each other, those around us whether or not we know them personally.

FINAL WORD:  Butterflies Live It Fully

There are many kinds of butterflies and they all have different average life spans: the common thread in truth is that on average their life spans are short in comparison to many other living beings and to us humans a mere blink of an eye.  The Monarch is a popular variety and in American can live from 2-6 weeks depending on their generation: http://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/pollinators/animals/butterflies.shtml

Either way, these half-dancing, half-flying creatures live their life to the fullest regardless of how perilous or repetitive their respective journeys.  As people we are certainly much more complex in our composition but I think we have the tendency to over-complicate in our mind.  There is a shot at true happiness in our daily life if we only engage fully every step of the way—even on those boring or ruthless days when we wonder how we’ll make it to the end of the day.

The light turned green and I was on my way again to the next task, the next unexpected “checking-in” with whoever came in my path as I fulfilled my personal “flight”.

R.V.S.Bean

Wyoming Life

"God bless it and keep it wild"