United We Vote and Slump: Clinton or Trump

United We Vote and Slump: Clinton or Trump

img_5875

November 1, 2016

We are a week away from the closing of this 2016 Presidential election cycle in America. If there is one thing that we can all agree on despite of our political party inclinations, age, perception of race, gender and sexual orientation—it’s that we are exhausted.

The Race

There are other contenders for the presidency but that’s not really a serious thought. Our choices are simple and ardently depressing as they can’t seem to cancel each other out effectively to help us avoid the inevitable. Either former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton or Mr. Donald J. Trump must win this election.

My Myopic View

Personally I lead a very busy life that includes perhaps 5 hours to myself per week to ingest information through the reading of newspapers, magazines or just listening to other folks who get to make a living off of speaking their mind with make-up, sharp clothing and bright cable news cameras rolling.

What I see are two major party candidates that have started to sound very much alike and both have such a speckled past that if we wrote a sitcom on them there would be more seasons of material than Cheers, Friends and Seinfeld combined.

It’s belittling at this point to read columnists or listens to news pundits that claim that we the American people are at such odds with ourselves that we’re “hating” on our neighbors and strangers like. Of course I acknowledge that there will always be a subset of people who are unfortunately close-minded and try to strike out at others who won’t think the way they do.

Despite the incessant news cycle, the drunken-like tweet feeds and the stats-on-crack polls I believe that our nation is much more united in philosophy than we’ve been allowed to recognize.

img_5956

Embedded Florida Early-Voting  

As an unapologetic native Floridian I’ve enjoyed deep belly laughs listening to reporters over the years try to figure our state out especially during election season. We started voting last Monday and when I found out from a Facebook colleague I headed over to our local library that very afternoon.

Parents or guardians of young children can feel like an embedded journalist does when present in an active military theatre. I wanted to cut and run countless times, especially when my own 1-year-old started to fling her body onto the cement sidewalk and proceeded to roll for the curb. Visions of the hooded electoral college flooded my mind with doubts as to whether my vote mattered at all in the end.

Making it into the voting room itself finally felt like the sweet victory of your high school homecoming game until one of the volunteers looked at my driver’s liscense and then back at me as if I was an underaged kid trying to buy wine coolers—it struck me later that I judged the poor lady too harshly, I actually looked pretty war-torn and not a bit like the polished, pre-mother of three chick on that ID photo she was trying to compare with the stressed out bag and baby carrier mama in front of her.

The hour spent waiting for the chance to connect an incomplete arrow pointing to my respective voting choices gave me some time to work the public relations front with my fellow dutiful citizens around me. As I made the rounds of apologies, utterances of thanks and friendly exchanges with some of the sympathetic parents/grandparents around us I was able to get an idea of why there were so many people there on the very first day of early voting.

“I just want to be done with it.” “I don’t want to deal with this on THE day.” “ I want to get it out-of-the-way.” “I’m over this election already, just putting in my two cents and finish.” “It’s just the right thing to do.” And my personal favorite, “Stay in line that way you don’t have to try to do this another day.” (directed at me by the sweet soul waiting behind me and letting me know with another lady that my child lost her pacifier in a thicket of bushes next to us)

Character? Please. Next Issue.

Another united moment for us has to be this “character” analysis of Clinton and Trump respectively. Since this is my blog short I reserve the right to pose the idea that perhaps both of them have flaws and less than savory precedents for what Americans seem to have the appetite for in a president. We unanimously seem to dislike these choices before us and yet we’re still voting like it’s the rent or mortgage payment that we must abide by.

IMG_6159.PNG

Future: Our Children and Grandchildren Have Gotten a Whiff

We’re united in understanding that our social structure as a whole has changed in the light of the rapid/non-stop information digital age. The younger generations among us are united in not understanding how we operated in prior decades without Snapchat, emojis, Facebook public journaling, computers in the guise of a telephone and the list goes on about technologies and softwares that I admittedly have no idea about.

We must move forward no matter what the result of this presidential cycle. Is it possible for us to learn from our prior mistakes in the past couple decades of trashing the incoming POTUS and his/her administration? Can we try to look at our own lives in our own cities and towns and see how much or little we can be involved in the political process even if it’s just volunteering on a subcommittee for your local town council? When will the “They” become “Us” in regard to our governing process in our nation whether it’s at the local, state or national level? Can the wrongs that will inevitably occur become ours to collectively own up to and then pick up together and move forward with better ideas learned?

Vote, Pray and Love.

I encourage everyone that is alive and of legal age to go ahead and vote. Pray for our country, think good thoughts for our nation if you don’t know/believe that something or Someone put our little planet in motion in an ocean of organized chaos. In the end, please have a little love for whomever or whatever political party “wins”. We are all Americans and we will survive what 2016 has brought us and this presidential election cycle will be a historic one full of many lessons for years to come.

R.V.S.B.

img_3865

Fog Lifting: America May Be Ready for Trump…or Not

Mama Bean should be asleep or washing more dishes but my philosophical-political train of thought won’t stop…

The Setting

The morning following Florida’s super Tuesday had most of eastern Palm Beach County drenched in a heavy fog.  Literally 10-15 minutes from where I live was where both former Secretary Clinton and Mr. Trump gave their respective victory speeches.  The irony of the intoxicating mist in the hours following yesterday’s results was not lost on me.

The Climate

People are tired. People are stressed. I’ve said it to family and friends alike that you only have to look at how people drive on the roads to see the reflection of the public’s emotions played out.  (Note: see old blog post for sociology opinion on the matter https://ceoofthehome.net/2012/03/11/driving-exposed-souls/)  At the end of every work day, most Americans have hopefully enough energy to feed themselves and loved ones and find peace to go to bed in time for the grind awaiting in the morning again.

The Unthinkable

Both major political parties may be portrayed in the news media outlets as not agreeing on much but I’m confident enough to believe that we may all agree that the last several election cycles have been tiresome with their choices for President of the United States (POTUS).  This technological age we live in today also makes personality faults ever-present at the click or tap of a “button”.

The Unreal Reality Revealing

How could we possibly be facing the choice of a former First Lady, turned U.S. Senator, turned jilted 2008 POTUS candidate, turned concessionary Secretary of State to now all-but-crowned Democratic POTUS candidate versus a businessman who could care less what anybody thinks of him including the GOP establishment that he has signed up to represent as he runs for POTUS?  With the delegate numbers where they are today, the American media outlets are now a-chattering about the possible ways this can play out for either side.

The Sun Will Set and Hopefully Rise Again

Our nation is big, dare I say “great”.  Truly, I’m not worried about who becomes the next POTUS even if the race is down to the major candidates being Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.  Our country has survived since it declared its independence in 1776 and I believe there is a majority of folks in every U.S. political party that are not about to lay down and allow anyone to take our nation down a lifetime path of being indentured.

Too bad we can’t just run single candidates and make the runner-up the Vice President–it might be refreshing in some ways to force us to learn how to compromise instead of always pitting ourselves against each other.  Perhaps we need to start by putting things in perspective and respect the American voting public’s voice in the end, there is little excuse for not exercising personal responsibility to educate oneself about the people running for our nation’s highest elected office.

R.V.S.Bean

IMG_1851

 

 

 

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

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.