So You Didn’t SOTU? Try Short Afterthoughts

IMG_1452

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.

IMG_0049

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.

IMG_9887.JPG

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

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

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"