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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The State of Media Affairs in the USA

The State of Media Affairs in the USA

Here’s what happens when a busy teacher and parent sits down finally after a long day following Memorial Day weekend: She (in this case, myself) turns on the television and hits up the cable news networks to see if she can get a mosaic-view of what’s going on in the world—or at least our country here in the United States of America.

History Repeated? We Wish

Let me be clear. My philosophy on life in general is that we humans have the tendency to run the same algorithm over and over again in our life cycles, perhaps in a futile effort to see if we can garner the unique ending that we’d prefer on a Hollywood screen or Netflix episode finale. In 2017, however, I believe we may be hitting a whole new low as a culture.

What I saw in the span of a few hours last night floored me. It’s not that I haven’t seen it before in recent months: CNN says President Trump is awful. MSNBC says President Trump is awful. Headline News says President Trump is awful. FOX News says CNN, MSNBC and Headline News are all awful. We all feel awful.

As a teacher and a mother, good grief as an American whose parents immigrated here, I feel like we’ve all been run through a mill and thrown out on the other side without regard for where we’ve all been and how we may actually see the world in other colors other than just black or white—in other symbols other than a donkey and an elephant.

June 2017

And just like that that, we have hit the 6th month of this year and where are we at when we look at our pop-culture news culture?

I’m afraid it’s an awful smokescreen where we’re at as Americans. Do we really believe that the greatest threat to our respective “pursuits of happiness” is who is our President of the United States at the moment and if or who around him/her had intimate talks with the Russian authorities? нет, спасибо.

Jobless June, July and Beyond… 

Seriously, is it too much to hope that those who have the time and resources to sit in front of cameras would try to focus on some of the issues that truly are impacting Americans right now and in the future?

Here’s a few things that we all need to keep in mind while talking heads are whining about who is running our federal government, who they’re talking to and such:

  1. Artificial Intelligence: AI in our daily lives is a fact now, no longer a musing of what the future holds. With or without our knowledge, AI will touch every American who resides in an urban area and even a good portion of those still in touch with our rural side.
  2. Deep Learning: We humans, especially Americans, could stand to learn a thing or two from this new movement/technology called Deep Learning where a machine or computer is accumulating knowledge based on experience. Unfortunately, I’m afraid to admit that many of us may be regressing in our ability to learn or create—thus creating an easy pathway for Deep Learning technology to trump us (forgive the pun).
  3. In line with points number 1 & 2 above, vehicles that automatically drive for us will start to displace many jobs. This is the story that no one seems to really be talking about but is so obvious for our truckers. This is a major job sector that is set to be shattered if this technology takes off without them being re-trained to either be involved in it or transition to something else.
  4. Our Environment: We’re all talking about it but not really doing anything proactive. I personally have found it most difficult to reduce our trash in the household and have attempted to recycle nearly everything away but my heart still sinks every time I put a plastic wrapping or bag in our waste basket because our local recycling plant won’t accept them.
  5. Biomedical Engineering – Genetic Advances: I don’t even have to be well-versed in these areas to understand that already we’ve far surpassed the idea of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. We’re fast approaching a human reality where we may be able to reproduce/clone humans without the standard male + female = human baby.

Looking Forward

These are literally just a handful of the countless other issues having a direct impact on most of us Americans today.

How do we proceed? Can we all apply so as to be hired and perhaps have some of these news media pundits fired? Obviously not.

The best we can hope to do within our busy schedules is to look at the world from our own eyes and act upon it with our own hearts. Such was the case recently on the Portland commuter train where folks died while protecting a couple of muslim young ladies.

We have to deny cable news media and social media their supposed delusion that we look to them for direction as to how to react to our political parties and our government officials.

Instead we should direct ourselves to evoke what the real truth is, that many of us want to have an enduring part of our nation’s history—not this re-run of Gore vs. Bush malaise or post-Vietnam War hangover types trying to define who and what we are as a nation here in the United States of America.

United we stand, divided we fall.

God we pray to stay united and hear each other out.

R.V.S.B.

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Wyoming Life

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