Sunday, October 31, 2010

SANITY PREVAILS!


(Helloooooo Los Angeles!)


I had a great time at the Los Angeles Rally for Sanity yesterday. What I am most happy about is not only the huge turn out in D.C. (CBS estimates 215,000) but the many satellite rallies like ours in Los Angeles, and all over the world! I wonder if all those crowds were tallied, what the grand total would come to? From Alaska to Hawaii, Texas to Minnesota, Illinois, New York all the way to France! ALL OVER THE WORLD! (See http://rallymao.com/ to see all the Sanity rallies that took place yesterday). Pretty cool, huh? It just goes to show you…we are not discouraged and apathetic as the polls and pundits would have you believe. We do care about our country, we will show up and vote. Maybe we aren’t loud and nutballs about it – but we care.
There was a wonderful smattering of unusual characters at the L.A. rally (well it is L.A.) which made it fun.

(I mean, really. Where else can you hang out with a guy dressed as a giant pot leaf?)
But overall, it was filled with calm, rational citizens showing up to support sane politics. Here we were in MacArthur park, which was sort of known to be a tough neighborhood, all walks of life, young and tattooed, old and gray-haired, families with kids running around (like us) watching the D.C. Rally on a Jumbotron Screen together, cheering along.

I saw only two parked cop cars- no police anywhere. It wasn’t necessary. There were a lot of people picking up trash, just to be helpful. It was feel-good day. No anger, no shouting, no hateful racist signs. I think bringing humor and levity to our political situation is the most healing thing we could have done at this point. Laughter is good medicine for what ails us as a country. I love that we are taking politics back with good humor. Hooray for us!
After the Jon Stewart rally ended on the Jumbotron, the crowd thinned out. There was an after-show featuring a flash mob in Halloween costumes doing Thriller (totally cool!) then some L.A. stand up comics, some of them worked blue, and that was uncool. We were in a park in the middle of the day with tons of kids running around, not at the Comedy Store in Hollywood. There was one wingnut in the crowd with a sign about how everyone was going to burn in Hell, or some such thing, and one comic went after him in a really ugly way, and that was NOT what our day was about. Extremism in any form is wrong. That’s my one criticism of the day. (But our rally was organized by an individual organization not affiliated with Jon Stewart.) Other than that it was a great day and I was really proud to be part of it with my family and friends.
(Being interviewed for KCRW - the Warren Ulne Show. You know me...I always have something to say)
Now if we all show up and VOTE on Tuesday, then maybe we won’t have any kooky tea-party candidates in Congress, and we can all (Democrats AND Republicans) breathe a sigh of relief.

Monday, October 25, 2010

What You Didn't See on the News...





(* all photos courtesy of Christina Martinez)
Close to forty thousand people showed up to see President Obama at the USC rally I attended last Friday. It was peaceful and orderly- no drama. Today I can find NO COVERAGE by any major network or news outlet. Now had it been twenty people from the Tea Party, it would have been on every TV channel. Just goes to show you how our media works. Only drama sells.
As we stood for hours in lines that stretched on for eight city blocks, I noticed first how positive and happy everyone was. People showed up with their young children, babies in strollers, grandmothers in wheelchairs. There were young college students and silver-haired couples, buses full of school children. Everyone was smiling, excited, chatting with one another about our President, his integrity, how he’s kept his campaign promises and continues to do so. Forty thousand people getting along. Happy.
And no media – no cameras, no film crews, anywhere.
When we finally proceeded inside USC Alumni Park, it was a human sea of bodies pressed tight together, everyone trying to get closer to where the President would soon stand. And yet, not once was there a fight, no shouting matches, nothing. Peaceful. Forty thousand people.
There was a group of young Republicans standing outside the entrance holding signs “We’ll knock the left out with a HARD RIGHT.” No one said anything to them, just walked past. I had no problem with them being there. America is a two party system, but it just bothers me how aggressive and sometimes violent their slogans are ( RELOAD, AIM …). It’s just unnecessary. How about some good ideas on those signs instead? Don’t have any?
For the seven hours I was there, I searched the crowd for signs of news media, and saw nothing but a Fox News truck. They must have been hoping to catch some negative drama. Sorry to disappoint, guys.
The rally was so exciting. The crowd was pumped up, and started spontaneously chanting OBAMA OBAMA….Let me tell you, forty thousand voices in unison is pretty thrilling when you’re standing in the middle of it. Jamie Foxx was the emcee. He was taking videos of us chanting for his twitter feed. Next was a concert of world music, then speeches by our local democratic candidates – Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer. (Jerry Brown quoted Ghandi in his speech. I like that in a candidate.)
And finally…what we’d all been waiting hours for - President Obama. The crowd’s cheers were deafening. It was such a thrilling moment. The President gave an inspiring speech, as he always does. One of the things he said that stuck with me was “I know many of you are thinking back to Inauguration night, the celebration, the party…but I told you then the road ahead was going to be hard. I told you – power concedes nothing without a fight.” I remember him saying that and I remind people when they start to criticize him for not getting everything crossed off his To-Do list after two years. Give the guy a break. Aside from the mess he inherited, he’s had pirates and flu epidemics and oil spills. I mean, he’s not Superman. But the overall message was – don’t get tired. Not now. Don’t give up on our mission. Don’t get discouraged. Stand up, be counted, vote! He definitely reiterated that we don’t want to give the car keys back to the guys who drove our country into a ditch a few years ago.
After the speech, he walked into the crowd and shook hands with people, causing great cheers and excitement. Again- no one rushed the stage, no one pushed or shoved. And then when it was all over, all forty thousand of us exited the campus in an orderly way, and that was that.
I’ve got something to say to the media. When forty thousand people show up to peacefully support a common belief in the President– THAT IS NEWS. Lindsay Lohan behaving like a spoiled teenager is NOT.
Americans - keep in mind how many positive uplifting events are occurring all over the world which you will rarely hear about- and let go the ugly commentary that’s being spewed through the media every day. Don’t listen to the gossip, the fear mongering and especially ignore all those awful deceptive campaign commercials. The world is a much bigger place than the news would have you believe. It’s a place full of wonder, miracles, and people doing good when no one is looking. Like the president, for instance.
Well, at least Japan News NHK showed up, and asked to interview my friend Christina who promptly handed it off to me. Ask her! She said. She’s got lots to say. (Gee, and I’m usually so shy about sharing my opinions…)
Oh well, sorry you missed the party NEWS MEDIA, but we had a great time without you. And guess what- we bloggers are spreading the word, when YOU don’t do your job.
Above all, no matter what your beliefs or political bent- please get out and VOTE on November 2nd!
STAND UP AND BE COUNTED! VOTE VOTE VOTE!!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Birth In Reverse (Sound painful? It IS!)

(Return to Sender....)

As most of you know I’ve recently completed my memoir Only Good Things, the story of my zany childhood. I liken the process to giving birth - messy, painful, ooey-gooey. The last phase was the toughest… pushing, pushing, puuushing to finish it…all the while screaming GET IT OUT OF ME! like a possessed demon woman. And finally….

IT'S A BOOK!

Break out the cigars! Balloons! Champagne!

Then came the next step. After recovering from the long arduous labor, everyone wants to see the baby, and you worry – well, the baby does look kinda scrunchy. Will people think it’s ugly? Cute? Undercooked? But – you have to release it into the world. That’s what it came here for, you know. If I stuffed that baby away in a drawer for a year…well, people might think I was a negligent mother. So I did it. I started sending my baby out to be seen.

My friends all loved my baby. It’s so YOU. It has your voice! They got what my baby was all about, and because they love me, they loved my baby.

Then I sent it out to the big guns…agents who didn’t know or love me. People who would look at my baby with a critical eye. I mean, it’s not like I think my baby is the next Baby Gap model, but…it has ten fingers, ten toes and all that, and…well, it’s hard for me to be objective but my writer friends say it’s a great baby!

Yesterday I got my first rejection. Ouch. Even though I knew this was coming, after all - J.K. Rowling had 12 publishers reject her baby before the 13th accepted it…(and that baby grew into the biggest giant the world has ever seen! ) it still smarts. Because when it’s a memoir, it’s not only your work they are rejecting…it’s your life story. I tried to think of it this way: Everyone gets rejections, even the Beatles. It’s part of the artistic process, and with each rejection I get, I’m that much closer to the one who’s going to say yes. Right? Yeah, I tried to think of it that way. And I know there will be more, so I'm building my callouses.

This agent was actually really nice and said some lovely things about my writing and my “voice”, but here’s why she didn’t take it, and this is what’s plaguing me….she said -

Abuse memoirs are very hard to place in today’s market.

ABUSE MEMOIRS?!!!??? I never ever thought of my baby as an abuse memoir! I’ve never thought of myself as an abused person. I’m not a victim, and neither will my baby be. Well this got me thinking. Just because I know my baby isn’t an abused baby, doesn’t mean everyone else will. So maybe I presented the first three chapters of this baby in the wrong way. (Because that’s all they read- the first three chapters). This is actually a book about survival and hope. The story has many twists and turns, at times its zany and kooky and ironic. But they only saw that one snapshot of my baby- they don’t know it’s many expressions and moods.

So you know what that means? I have to shove this baby BACK UP INTO MY UTERUS again and let it cook a little while longer. Now, for some reason, I am avoiding this painful step with everything in me. I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna (kicking, screaming, crying……waaaaaaaaaah). Well – would you? I mean, really.

I don’t know, maybe I’ve got to take some Lamaze classes or something to get courage…cause all the breathing in the world isn’t gonna make me want to do this.

So… take down the balloons, stub out the cigars , send back the Congratulations cards. This baby is going back in the womb for now.

Sympathy cards gratefully accepted.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What a Wonderful World


(Julie, Joel Burns and me backstage at the Ellen show)


I had an incredible experience yesterday - living proof that when you tell the truth, life rewards you in ways you couldn’t have imagined. Thanks to my angel friends Julie and Mary, I got to attend the taping of the Ellen show featuring councilman Joel Burns. If you aren’t familiar with this gentleman, he is the one who gave a moving speech at his City Council meeting in Fortworth Texas about being bullied as a gay teen, and how that almost led him to end his life. The You Tube video has had close to 2 million hits.
The Ellen staff is such a beautiful mixture of gay, straight, young, old, black, white, asian, hispanic…everyone wearing sneakers and baseball caps of their favorite teams. Backstage, as they hustled about getting ready for the show, I was amazed at the happy, relaxed atmosphere which I thought was impossible in TV-land. It just felt so comfortable. No one was stressed or panicked. We were greeted with smiles everywhere we turned (and I attribute that to Mary- completely). But what made my heart swell was the realization that this staff was a microcosm of what the world could be like, and it gave me hope.
Julie and I settled in the audience to watch the show (which I hope you’ll all watch today!). When Ellen stepped out, the audience went wild cheering for her, and I got teary (and the “teariness” never stopped the rest of the day). Imagine twenty, or even ten years ago – this openly gay woman being so beloved and one of the biggest stars in the world. You could feel that love in the room, and my heart was so lifted as I thought to myself We are evolving, finally. Yes, we are evolving.
Joel Burns was inspiring beyond measure. It took such tremendous courage to speak his truth the way he did, and in doing so, he has opened hearts and minds everywhere. He was poised and articulate, speaking from his own heart with such self-assuredness.
After the show, Julie and I rushed backstage to meet him, catching him just as he was leaving with his mother, a lovely Southern lady. He was such a warm and genuine man (and so handsome!). Both Julie and I got choked up as we told him what his courage meant to us, and he responded with warm hugs. He told us he simply felt inspired to make the speech that day, having no idea that it would turn into an internet sensation. In fact, he was stunned by the reaction. His phone line blew up and the city had to install a new system, as they were averaging a call a minute since the video posted.
We then went with him to meet Charles Robbins (CEO of the Trevor Project) another wonderful (and handsome!) man. Charles said the suicide hotlines at Trevor Project have been so busy since the video, they’ve had to expand their staff. Countless lives have been saved all over the world as a result of one man’s courageous, honest speech. Can you imagine? Even as a writer I’m finding it difficult to express what I felt in that moment talking to these trailblazers in tolerance. Almost like I had been holding my breath for so long and could finally exhale, knowing that my brothers and my friends might possibly be the last generation to have endured this form of bigotry, and knowing also that as of today my friend Brian could re-enlist in the military if he so chose. The tide is turning, just as I always believed it would.
Driving home under gloomy gray skies, I was smiling ear to ear. I felt the Universe was giving us all a great big nod- yep, you’re on the right track, people. The rain pelted my windshield, cleansing the world, washing away the pain and prejudice of yesterday. And I realized that this day happened for me largely because I dared to tell my truth when I wrote the blog “For Boys and Girls Standing on Ledges”, admitting my own struggles with suicidal depression as a young person. This was what made Julie think of me when she got an extra pass to this show.
What a wonderful world it would be if we all dared to tell and LIVE our truth. If we followed Joel’s lead, to be honest about who we really are, the fears we harbor, the shame we carry. In telling the truth, we find out how much we’re all alike. Secrets and shame no longer hold any power over us. Without fear – only love remains.
Imagine what would happen if we could:
Replace fear with love.
Rejoice in our commonalities.
Celebrate our differences.
Turn toward each other when we are afraid, rather than against each other.

Oh what a wonderful world it would – (scratch that) will - be.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Just another one of those days...


Woke up this morning to the sound of a man screaming and a little girl crying. Jumped out of bed panicked, and ran to the window. There was some kind of dog conflict in the street that got sorted out (but at this point my heart was already pounding out of my chest). As I ran to the window I saw a huge pile of dog poop (diarrhea, thank you very much) and pee on my living room carpet, right where Evan and the baby play every day. And I’m out of paper towels, and carpet cleaner….and its pouring rain. And the baby is screaming his head off because he’s teething, and my son is frustrated and Troy is sick and….no one got any sleep last night.
I took a deep breath and said to myself I’m not going to let this rough start dictate the way my day is going. But I can already tell…this day is going to be what it is, and there’s not much I can do about it. So I can either be dragged through it kicking and screaming, resisting what is…or I can accept it, and do my best to maintain an inner calm. I said do my best.
I know that all life experiences, good and bad, are ultimately going to serve me. Even when life’s been rotten, which it has been for a lot of us lately, it’s taught me patience, perseverance, resilience. I’m finding out that I’m stronger than I knew. I’ve learned that I have no control over anything, and that the best way to persevere is with dignity and grace. I’ve learned to take accountability for my own actions when necessary, but to stop apologizing when I don’t need to. That’s all good stuff that I needed. I’ve also learned this year just how incredible and true my friends are.
So today is feeling like it’s gonna be a doozy (hope I’m wrong), but come what may, I’m going to face it with inner calm and acceptance, knowing that whatever misery it may bring- I’ll be okay. I think the best way for me to face today is to ready my “house” for the storm, and then huddle in the proverbial “basement” with my loved ones until it passes. It will pass, that much I know…and in the meantime I have my husband, my kids, and my wonderful friends to huddle with.
Hot cocoa, anyone?
( Oh what a beautiful morning...oh what a beautiful day...)


Friday, October 15, 2010

Hey Jealousy- Part Deux


(Oh sequins...the mortal enemy of mid-life woman...)

I’m picking up the thread of a blog I wrote a couple months ago. It was a story about a time when I got caught up in envy and, dare I say it, jealousy. The life lesson was this: jealousy has nothing to do with anyone else but me. When I feel the slightest twinge of that emotion, it’s a red flag that I need to take a hard look at my own life. That person – the object of my envy- must have something I feel I’m lacking, so I better get my own butt in gear and correct it. In fact, it’s a great exercise to closely examine what you are jealous of, and ask yourself what you could change in yourself in order to not feel that jealousy any more. If you follow the trail of emotion inward, it leads you to your heart’s deepest desires.
When I’m happy in my own skin, following my bliss, I never feel jealous of anyone. And I’m happy to say that I haven’t felt jealous in many years. I mean, I’m not saying I haven’t had my opportunities! Just last Saturday I was on a gig sharing the stage with a much younger, much thinner, much LOUDER singer. And the costume I had to wear….oh, the humanity! Try squeezing a skintight yellow sequin dress over your spanx (humming to myself in the dressing room: nowhere to run to baby, nowhere to hide) then stand on stage, under bright lights mind you, next to a gorgeous twenty-five year old wearing the same dress all night. But believe it or not, even that didn’t bother me. I thought…Eh, let her have her moment. I was once twenty-five and stick thin…I had that moment already. It’s her turn to shine. You know why I wasn’t jealous? Because I’m pretty happy, and because I know there’s room for all of us to be who we are, just as we are.
These days I am in the company of some mighty, amazing, strong women writers and a friend asks me the other day – isn’t there competition and jealousy amongst all of you? And I said No, you know what? There’s really not. At all. Because each of us has our own voice, our own unique perspective on the world, and we share it in the way that only we can. I don’t write like any of my friends, and they don’t write like me. Some of them are much funnier, much more direct, much more poetic, fluid, dark, light…and that’s what’s so great about it. We all get to be exactly as we are, so there’s no competition. Like my girl Oprah says – do “you”. Nobody can do you better than you.
The bottom line is: There is room in the world for more than one insight, more than one pretty twenty-five year old girl, more than one brilliant book, great song, piece of poetry or artwork. There’s room for every blooming flower in the garden.
So no, I’m not feeling the jealousy. Not at all. And god it feels so good. You know what doesn’t feel so good? Squeezing your 46-year old ass into skintight yellow sequins. So wrong…so wrong…

Monday, October 11, 2010

For Boys and Girls Standing on Ledges

(Dedicated to my brother Ted. I love you!)

This month we’ve lost too many young people to suicide. They have surrendered their lives over simple acts of cruelty. My stomach is churning over this, not only because of the tragedy itself, but because my brother who I love so much is distraught over it. He too was bullied as a teen, simply for being who he was, a young gay man. I can’t for the life of me understand this form of bigotry, and can only surmise that it’s ignorance at its most elevated form, because if you knew my brother Ted, or my youngest brother Caleb, or my best friends Erin and Beth and their son Ben, or Julie and Mary and their daughter Sarah, or Tobias and Michael whose marriage has lasted longer than most straight couples I know, or Richard and Nico, or Michelle and Cary or Christina and Iliana …I could go on and on, there is no way you could feel that fear or hate. These are some of the most loving, giving, family-oriented people I’ve ever known.

But oh…we lowly humans, it is our caveman nature to fear what we don’t understand, and to hate what we fear. Fear spreads the hate that drives people to ledges.

And it’s not just gays. The bullying spans to anyone who is different from the herd. Too many teenage girls, too many young boys are gone now, victims of bullying. Thankfully there has been a real public outcry over these tragedies as we are all moved by these senseless losses. But some of us are more than moved, we are rocked to our cores, because we were those boys and girls standing on ledges who lived to tell the tale.

I was once one of those girls. More than once, actually. I think for some of us, we grew up with a feeling that we weren’t supposed to be here. When we began to believe, or were told, that something was defective in us, it started a hairline fracture right through the foundation of who we were. We could spend our lives trying to belong but all it takes is one act of cruelty to break us wide open. Those of us with the defective foundations…we’re like the weak gazelle in the herd. Easy prey for hateful people, because we accept the hatred they project onto us. We believe in it, even feel we deserve it. I was lucky. There was always one random person who showed up and lifted me back to my feet with love and kindness. That’s what saved me.

But when you’re young, you don’t yet know that this is only a chapter. You can’t imagine all the beauty that lies ahead, how strong you will be one day. You don’t yet understand that the hate directed at you is only a bully’s own self-hatred projected outward, that it really has nothing to do with you.

This is a crazy time in the world. It feels like the planets are spinning out of control and all we can do is hold on. Bigotry and racism, political rage, road rage and just plain rage are all on the rise. We are losing control, and so we get crazy with fear. Fear is what makes us hateful and cruel and destructive. FEAR is what destroys our souls. We have to rise above this, and teach our young people to do the same.

Where to begin? We can’t change others, but we can change ourselves. Starting with myself, I will be a voice of tolerance. And in my own heart, I vow to replace fear with love.

REPLACE FEAR WITH LOVE.

Like my friend Amy Ferris who gave a beautiful speech about tolerance in her town this weekend, we can all speak up in our own ways. If you can’t stand up and give a speech, then just stand for love in your own home. Sometimes it’s the smallest things that matter. Reach out, make a phone call, offer a smile, do something kind for someone today. You never know - your hand reaching out could be the one that just pulled someone in from a ledge.

I envision a world where we all coexist peacefully, a world where my brothers are safe, a world where there are no boys and girls standing on ledges….

It’s not so far fetched. It could be a reality.

FEAR cannot exist where LOVE resides.

Please. Spread the word.

The word is LOVE.

Friday, October 8, 2010

This Blog is Half True (except for the end part)

The other day I was having a conversation with my friend Barb about, you know, all the usual girly stuff: The arc of life, karmic patterns we repeat, the existence of god, and shoes. She said she wasn’t at all airy-fairy, had never been to a psychic (can you imagine?) but asked if I believed at all in astrology. Yes! I said. Well, usually. I added. Actually, sometimes not. The truth is…I told her, I think everything is 50% true, whether it be religion, politics, Nurture-vs-Nature, the Secret, the Power of Positive Thinking, Karma, The Bible, Reality shows.

I mean, yes, I believe there is something to the alignment of the stars and the way it affects us. The moon affects the tide, farmers plant according to the cycles of the moon. So why not? Gravitational pull and all, I do believe we’re affected. But I don’t believe most of the astrological crap on the internet or in entertainment magazines. So, you know…I believe in half of it.

I believe in the good parts of most religions, and as far as I can see, the basic tenets are the same. Be a good person, don’t steal,cheat, lie, kill people (unless, of course, you need to steal their country or stomp out their religion). But then there are the parts about selling your daughter into slavery and smiting your neighbor for…I don’t know, things like wearing a fabric made of two fibers or eating shellfish. And no one really knows who or what God is or who EXACTLY wrote the Bible and who EXACTLY has tampered with it throughout history….and since it is written by man, and we humans are flawed by nature, it is certainly prone to error and the influence of a certain scribe’s own perceptions or political intentions. I mean, Glenn Beck has written a lot of books, he considers himself inspired by God…and it frightens me to think that in 2000 years someone could find his book in a cave somewhere and uphold it as an absolute truth. So…again, 50% belief there.

I believe that politics is mostly a game of power, but that some people go into to it for truly altruistic reasons, or some go in for 50% altruistic reasons and 50% power reasons. I believe half of what politicians say, and half of what the talking heads say. (The hard part is figuring out which half to believe.)

I do believe in the power of positive thinking (the Secret and Tony Robbins and all that). I mean, yeah, it’s great to believe in something good and put all your intention there. But then, shit happens. Your business burns down, a hurricane hits, people betray you out of nowhere…and no positive thinking can prevent some of that stuff. So, you know, it’s all good, but still, only half of the picture.

But let me tell you what I believe in 100%. I believe in the power of love. This is not some cheesy clichĂ© or song lyric, I mean this wholeheartedly because I am living it. I have been knocked down so hard this year, by many more things than I reveal in my blogs, and I’ll be damned if every time I wasn’t scooped up by loving arms and put back on my feet. Love is what strengthened and healed me. I can’t find anything about love to not believe in. Not even 10% doubt.

Something else I believe in 100% - my husband. Because the other day, when I was in tears feeling completely defeated as my relationships and appliances were all exploding at the same time, I sobbed I’m losing everything. He took my hand and simply said, “Love wins.”

And even today, as one of my best friends is going through a heartbreaking awful experience, as are many of my sweet friends, I know we will all make it to the other side of this, because we’ll hold hands, form a chain and walk through that fire together. Because LOVE WINS.

And for anyone who might be mad at me for what I said about the Bible, please know that although I struggle with it every day, I have great respect for those of you with good solid faith. Truly. And anyway, like I said at the beginning of this blog…everything is only half true, so you can throw out the parts of this blog that you don’t like.

Except for the love part. That part is absolutely true.

Trust me on that one.

LOVE WINS.
200%.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

We The People


So the other day I’m at my local cafĂ© where I do much of my writing…and these two guys walk in. Let me just say that from the get-go, it was obvious these two were a little off. Not to be judgmental, but they were dressed awkwardly, and ordered their coffee too loud, to where everyone in the place stopped and looked up. Then, unfortunately, they settled right next to me and proceeded to have an obnoxiously heated conversation about how the “government” is a bunch of criminals no different from the 39th street Crips, except they have better P.R. They railed against the indignity that if you don’t pay your taxes (which, by the way, collecting taxes is illegal according to these guys) the “government” would come with their guns and haul you away, and steal all your stuff like the thugs they really are. I used to be proud to be an American, but not anymore…one of them said.
Okay. I don’t like to use my blog as a political soapbox, but this is just common sense stuff, people. First of all, I am proud to be an American, because in America, WE ARE THE GOVERNMENT. We live in a democracy, not a dictatorship. It’s WE THE PEOPLE, remember? WE are free to choose the people who represent us. WE are free to become one of those representatives. WE are FREE. And the folks who work in government offices? Just everyday American citizens like you and me, not some mythical villains from a comic book. We are the government, so stop making the “government” out to be some scary boogieman who comes in the night and steals all your freedoms away. Quit playing the victim. You don’t like the way things are? Step up and get involved in your community. Run for office. Volunteer to campaign for someone you believe in. Do something to make your world better.
Second, democracy is a two-party system. It’s designed that way to make sure that any one party doesn’t become all powerful….like that scary government so many of you talk about. The two-party system was not designed to be a death match. We aren’t supposed to hate each other because we see things differently. It was put in place to encourage healthy debate, to consider many sides of an issue before we enact the laws of our land. So quit with the hate already!
And third, countries who don’t pay taxes are called THIRD WORLD countries. They don’t have paved roads and freeways and fire departments and veteran’s hospitals and schools and museums and libraries. If you want to live in a civilized country, you have to pay taxes. Period. If you don’t wanna pay taxes - try your fate in another country. You won’t hear me cryin’ as you pack your bags…
Finally, Quit yer bellyachin’! The rest of us would like some peace and quiet while we’re trying to write stuff in a coffeeshop!
Sheesh!

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Paradoxical Commandments


Years ago, the following "Paradoxical Commandments" hung on the wall of Mother Theresa's children's home in Calcutta. I found them so relevant to my own life, I had them posted on my refrigerator for years, and find myself very much needing to read them again now.

I wanted to share them with you, and hope they will bring you comfort at a time when you need it.

ANYWAY -

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.


You see, in the end, it never was about you and them.
It was always between you and God, anyway.
© Copyright Kent M. Keith 1968