So You Didn’t SOTU? Try Short Afterthoughts

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The State of the Union (SOTU)  address isn’t everyone’s cup of entertainment tea.  Especially during this time in our nation’s political climate where anyone who is elected President of the United States can fall under scrutiny of whether they belong in that role or should be impeached for some nefarious reason.  I offer my short afterthoughts of the SOTU in case you were curious for a breakdown of what happened during this 2019 speech.

As I watched the address Tuesday night, I felt déjà vu wash over me relentlessly like the south Atlantic waves that break on the Florida beaches 10 minutes east of my home. There was a time I watched the SOTU only steps away from the Capitol building, securely at my work desk in a U.S. representative’s office— available for the boss if needed but simply enjoying being a political geek as a worker bee.

As the cameras panned over to the Democratic side of the House floor aisle, I was proud for a moment to see many white-clad women in their proud unity with each other—although it stung a little to see them apart from the Republican women. I wondered how much stronger we would be sitting together despite party affiliation differences?  Why wear white by the way? I understand the historical entomology going back to the suffrage movement of last century,  but sometimes a tradition should evolve with the present times. Couldn’t we pick another color to wear since “white” is taboo in our current social-political climate?  Double-standards are the land mines of our political landscape today.  Either way, we shouldn’t stop asking questions or trying to extend a hand to the “other side” of the political aisle.  We have no one to blame but ourselves for erecting these barriers against working toward compromises merely based on whether a donkey or an elephant punctuates your political affiliation.  Women are the village-minded ones who can change the tone from previous generations of male-dominated division tactics of politicking in our relatively young nation.

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: I reserve a moment of respect for her in spite of my philosophical differences with her.  She’s Speaker of the House, again.  Seeing her and President Donald Trump in the same frame together was an astonishing sight. These two individuals that command polarizing attention, diabolically different individuals in their shared age group, at this moment of history at the operating helm of our nation—the Titanic is a bath toy in comparison to this visual statement at the SOTU.   Never mind the fact that you can search the internet and social media platforms for countless moments caught between President Trump and Speaker Pelosi that dripped of sarcasm in copious amounts.  I can only imagine the amount of stress their respective staffs were under during the SOTU while watching their principals flex and flaunt their mighty titles and modus operandi.

I noted congresswoman Alexandria Oscasio-Cortez’s posture at one point in the SOTU, evidently taking a photogenic opportunity to pout about the President of the United States.  Ah, yes, I recalled how I too was in my twenties once and felt so passionately that changes must be made in our society while still learning how everything works in the adult world.  Rep. Oscasio-Cortez at once can be an inspiration for younger women who would like to make a positive difference and yet because of her lack of humility with respect to her inexperience, she can also be an awful example of how overzealous behavior can wreck a generation’s ability to effect real change. For example, although we can all agree that humans are part to blame for things like fossil fuel dependency and an obscene amount of garbage produced; to demand a complete stop of electrical grid usage of fossil fuels without a solid transition plan is pompous pandering to an electorate who are more concerned about how to make daily ends meet. (readers note: research “Green New Deal”)

Overall President Trump delivered a SOTU speech that was a verbal relief after his endless tweets and media sound bites that had barraged our nation’s collective consciousness in the weeks following the partial shutdown of the federal government.  Utilizing more “we” than “I” seemed to be the end result, whether he feels that unity is possible is irrelevant.  It still feels better to hear that type of connecting language—especially in a public forum like this where other countries are dissecting our Commander in Chief’s every sentence for clues in how to engage our governmental officials and citizens abroad.

There were many good human-interest stories at the SOTU.  These too were unifying moments, times where both major parties could stand and clap. Again, nothing wrong with finding these short and sweet instances where we can blend into being proud to be an American—with the freedom to be ourselves and yet still celebrate the victories of ordinary citizens overcoming extraordinary circumstances.

I do wish the best for both the U.S. House and Senate Members of Congress this legislative session—especially the new members regardless of whether I agree with their platforms. It is a difficult but noble position to be a public servant in this capacity.  Most citizens don’t know the details of the work involved for each elected legislator and their staff.  We’re blessed to be in a country where our votes truly still matter if we all respectively engage actively in the process.  It’s a good thing to see more cultural diversity in our U.S. Congress and to bring in more women, younger and older.  This SOTU may have been a powderpuff event in wordplay but our nation deserves to have times like this where a message is delivered with more alignment in tone as we move forward.  God bless us all. +

R.V.S.B.

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Beware of the Budget and Binder Smokescreens: Bewitching Women or Befuddled Men or Neither?

“The best way to help the world is to start loving each other, not blandly, blindly, but realistically, with understanding and forbearance and forgiveness.” –Madeleine L’Engle

The Elections are Over: Verbal Sigh and Rant

It’s only been eight days since our nation held Presidential elections and yet we’ve been overwhelmed with the rapid-fire news of now resigned CIA Director Petraeus’ indiscretions.  Never mind that there are less than 45 days of work in 2012 for Congress to actually work out a deal with newly re-elected President Obama for our nation.  Also, let’s not even think about getting to the bottom of the story of how the Benghazi situation got out of our control and left us with four Americans dead in the worst manner you can think about on foreign soil.  Finally, please take this as a reminder that women really are to blame for society’s ills and men’s downfall…sense my sarcasm already?

Women Can Work With Each Other: Even When From Different Sisterhoods

Our local The Palm Beach Post reprinted two columns on Monday, November 12 that I recommend reading if you haven’t already:  Maureen Dowd’s “Romney is President” http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/11/opinion/sunday/dowd-romney-is-president.html?_r=0

and Kathleen Parker’s “What Doomed Romney” http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/kathleen-parker-republicans-undermined-their-own-candidate/2012/11/09/e858bb64-2a9f-11e2-96b6-8e6a7524553f_story.html.

These two women, who come from different “sides” of the political lines, actually did an amazing job of together for some of the issues that women in America felt most affected by in the rhetorical debates of this Presidential race past.  Dowd wrote, “…in the real country, many wives were urging husbands not to vote for a Brycleemed boss out of a ‘50s boardroom whose party was helping to revive a 50-year-old debate over contraception” while Parker noted “Women’s reproductive rights need to come off the table…as Haley Barbour suggested long ago, agree to disagree.”  When it came to rape, Dowd cited President George W. Bush’s former aide Karen Hughes quote from this past Friday on Politico, “If another Republican man says anything about rape other than it is a horrific, violent crime, I want to personally cut out his tongue” and Parker remarked, “No abortion for rape or incest? Sit down. Legitimate rape? Put on your clown suit and go play in the street.”

Besides going over the help and rebuilding phase that the GOP is in, it was also hinted that President Obama isn’t thought of as winning this election in flying colors.  It’s just that given the conditions of our nation’s issues and the Republican’s indecisiveness, most Americans and single women especially felt safer sticking with the status quo.

These are great discussions to have for both sides to figure out how to better go forward especially in regards to women’s issues for our nation.  The fact remains that it was less than 100 years that women were given the right to vote and although we gained at least three more women in the House of Representatives, we still have a long way to go in having more of a say in the legislation making process.

Enter Scene: Bring CIA Director Out of Infidelity’s Hidden Closet

So, no sooner does our President return from his victorious night to Washington and he barely has 24 hours to gather his wits and get back in the swing of being Commander in Chief and his CIA Director David Petraeus walks in to offer his resignation over the investigation into emails that reveal he had an inappropriate relationship with Paula Broadwell, recent biographer for him.

This morning I read in my groggy stupor an impressive column entitled “The Siren and the Spook” by Frank Bruni http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/13/opinion/bruni-the-siren-and-the-spook.html

I was impressed by Mr. Bruni’s assessment of the press coverage of Paula Broadwell and David Petraeus—especially that of Broadwell and how quickly it was reduced to her physical attributes and “her long-ago coronation as homecoming queen, her six-minute mile—it was presented not merely as a matter of accomplishment, but as something a bit titillating, perhaps a part of the trap she laid.” 

As social media buzz and even the lady helping a friend and I shared with us in a women’s fitting room yesterday, the salacious topic of Piraeus, Broad well, Tampa Socialite and others is on everyone’s mind.  The subject matter triggers so many strong responses from folks that it is both entertaining and alarming. 

What is upsetting about a scandal like this is the possibility to uncover so much on both sides of the aisle.  As for the audacity of people arguing that this is a national security breach, I would like to remind all our amnesia-ridden Americans that it wasn’t that long ago (back in the pre-9/11 days) that we had a Commander in Chief that hooked up with a White House intern while being married and his daughter lived in the big house.

However, most incredulous about scandals such as these is the tendency to focus on the women in a manner that sets us up to be the perfect blame for the demise of these men in power.  Does this mean that women shouldn’t dress attractively, not show admiration, no nurturing—are we to revert back to trying to be like men who has failed us miserably since we tried burning bras in the 1960s?

Great closing, Bruni writes: “Such adamant women, such pregnable men. We’ve been stuck on this since Eve, Adam and the Garden of Eden. And it’s true: Eve shouldn’t have been so pushy with the apple. But Adam could have had a V8.”

Not the End: Re-elected and Renewed Energy for Women

Maybe I didn’t vote for President Obama, however, I honor and respect that he is our nation’s President and look forward to watching him and the other factions in our government try to overcome the negativity that seems to infect and re-infect inside the D.C. Beltway.  I have lived and worked within that system and had to finally walk away as I risked becoming jaded about our ability to work together for a common good in our nation despite our differences.  I pray and hope that in this 2nd term for President Obama and the Congress that they can together get the job done and not have to wait for the “Mr. Perfect—that doesn’t exist, it’s what we do with what we’ve got that matters most and makes the difference in the annals of history.

R. Saridakis Bean

Wyoming Life

"God bless it and keep it wild"