Monday, August 1, 2011

A Profound Lack of Leadership

Hello friends. Sorry it has been so long.

I just finished watching American Experience on KQED. You may recall from previous posts that I am a big fan of public media, though I watch PBS infrequently. Much more of a public radio person.

But tonight's episode is the final one of "A House Divided," about Lincoln's final 6 months of life. The passage of the 13th Amendment. The end of the Civil War. And then, merely four days later, assassination. Horrible. I cried, which should come as no great shock to those who know me.

Lincoln was a great president. One of character, deep abiding principle, and tenacity. He fought for what he believed in. He managed incredible division across the country during our most trying time. And he fundamentally changed our country for the better.

President Obama is a big fan of Lincoln, and I would love to say that his legacy will be viewed in future years as similarly transformative. Since those are huge shoes to fill, I would have settled for a progressive legacy at least. But based on what happened over the past few weeks, I just cannot see myself in years hence looking back on his presidency with anything but disappointment and dismay.

Of course, I'm thinking now about today's debt ceiling vote and the travesty I feel that it is. Spending cuts to hurt many if not most, tax increases for none, not even for those who can afford it. So much for sharing the pain and the social compact. I'm told they spared food stamps from the chopping block. I suppose I should be thankful for that, though that is setting the bar really, really low. And God only knows what else will be cut in the coming months.

Maybe this can still be salvaged from the depths before it's all over, but I have my doubts, because I feel that our politicians, particularly the Democrats, lack those qualities attributed to Lincoln. Principle. Responsibility. Courage. The only people who stood up for anything, misguided and wrong that they are, were those super conservative "Tea Party" Republicans. They have successfully led their constituents down the primrose path towards what I (along with Paul Krugman, someone far more qualified) fear will be further economic disaster, and at the end, middle class America will be sacrificed on the altar of big business.

Throughout all this, Democrats stood for very little. They were the party of "No, please, no..." and never made a case for themselves and their viewpoint. They rolled over. President Obama asked us to tweet our disapproval to Congress. How's that for leadership?

So tonight, I am left feeling that people I thought cared about what I care about are pathetic and spineless and are undeserving of my political devotion. They didn't try hard enough to convince people that they were right. And so, we will have to deal with the consequences of truly misguided policy that will result in a wider gap between rich and poor for years and years to come.

America's house is divided. But unlike in 1865, we do not have a President who will stand up and do what is right. It is a sad, sad day, not only for progressives, but for everyone.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Remember Your Source

I have to admit. In 2010, I was an angry voter. I still am angry, but more than angry, I'm disappointed. I'm disappointed in the members of the party to which I belong that don't have the guts to stand up for themselves, much less for those who are most vulnerable and need their help. I'm disappointed in the useless, mindless banter that brings no clarity to the real issues. And finally, I'm disappointed in the violent - yes, violent - political rhetoric that demonizes the other side and constantly challenges the patriotism of the opposition, serving to anger and provoke, not challenge and engage.

Those three of you know that I work for public media because I feel it is the only source of information that doesn't make me want to turn off and tune out. I listen exclusively to NPR not because it affirms my worldview, contrary to popular perception, but because it makes me think, it helps me learn, and it doesn't resort to name-calling or hate-mongering. It's just better.

But back to my disappointment.

There's a lot of chatter today about Sarah Palin's aggressive denunciation not of the shooter in Arizona and the hateful politics of which many people have accused her in its aftermath, but of those who have placed blame on her for her mean-spirited politicking. "Don't look to me. Each person is responsible for his or her actions alone - no one made him do it."

What's interesting about her video is that at no point in those seven minutes does she take a moment to reflect on the fact that tons of people are blaming her and her "movement" for an atmosphere that leads to violence. She's accurate in saying that politics is always dirty. But instead of using her position as a person of authority with a strong and loyal following to change some attitudes about how we interact with each other, about political discourse and what it could be, she does nothing more than cement the viewpoint of her base in a selfish, stubborn way. Instead of taking responsibility for moving the country in a better, more united, more enlightened direction, she takes none and plans to change nothing.

Did I expect something more? Maybe. Because deep down underneath all the cynicism I now possess, I harbor a hope that things could get better someday, that it won't always be like this, because the majority of people really are looking for more from their leaders than the mindless dribble they regularly give us.

Sadly, with each passing day, my hope and faith in America and Americans dwindles. Congress is trying once again to strip government funding from NPR, PBS, and other public media. They seem to think the right thing to do is to silence the one reliable source of thoughtful, engaging information, apparently not seeing that public media is the one place an American can go to escape the hate.

I'll just close with saying this. I too have been looking for answers in light of the Arizona shootings. I have been looking for guidance and trying to understand how to prevent things like this from happening in the future. What I have found is a lot of intelligent debate and discussion, along with lots of finger-pointing. Perhaps we can all take a minute to think about what we can learn from this. Just remember to check your sources. Some help you learn and will make you better- others won't.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Career Paths

It occurs to me that career paths exist much in the same way that that tubing path I missed yesterday exist. Sometimes, you veer off of them just when you think it's going in the right direction.

I know that fundraising is important in the non-profit world, and I think I could be a good one. But as I watched my favorite movie, How to Train Your Dragon, produced with the help of my friend, it occurred to me that I want to do something that leaves a lasting legacy. I want to do something that people remember. Currently, I'm feeling like what I do doesn't matter, and the only people who are leaving a legacy are those who give, not those who help get those gifts.

So what am I doing, exactly? What do I want to do? And how can I make money at it?

I welcome your comments and suggestions.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Hilarious. Enjoy.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.5

Sunday, December 26, 2010


Hooray! Snow! So good to be home!
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.5

Friday, December 3, 2010

A New Day!

It's December, folks. That means a few things.

First, it's cold. Even here in Sunny California, it is cold, and wet, and generally miserable.

Second, everyone, including myself, is stressed. I have bought a series of gifts for those in my family, those with whom I keep company, and soon must buy a gift for a coworker that I really like.

Now, I love buying gifts, truly I do. I love the look on a child's - or adult's, because let's be honest, adults get pretty excited, too - face when he or she rips open that present on Christmas Day and it's everything he or she wanted in a gift. I've never been the hero before, and this year, that's changing. Still, worrying about money is stressful.

Which makes vacation planning even more stressful. It's a long ways away, it's a lot - a LOT - of money to consider spending, and it's in a place that I'm completely unfamiliar with, as is the case with many vacations. BUT there is a HUUUGE upside - which is spending 4 days with great friends and my better half in ski paradise.

Apparently, all the best things in life require a struggle. The thing is, you come out on the other side better. Happier. Stronger. Or, in my case, poorer. But it's only money.

Just watched Dan in Real Life, which is my favorite movie of the last 10 years. Before that, for some perspective, my favorite movie was Ever After, recorded off of HBO by my sister for me so many years ago. I think I've officially moved on, however, to Dan in Real Life. A honest, feel-good story about love and its complications with Steve Carell, a genius in so many ways. It makes me laugh out loud, it makes me cry, it makes me wax philosophical. But I'll spare you.

Before watching that movie, it is worth noting that I washed dishes, nearly all of them. Instead of eating dinner, I danced in my living room. Nothing is quite as satisfying of a release as dancing alone, no one watching, judging, or mocking you, for a little exercise. I even recorded myself for a friend who had had a tough night in hopes of getting a laugh. Mission: accomplished. Making an arse of yourself to Justin Bieber will do that. But it's all fun and honestly, who wouldn't enjoy doing that?

Ok, so this wasn't a meaningful post. But hello blog, I've missed you. I'm going to make an honest attempt to keep you somewhat up to date. You are the only place where I can write from the heart and not worry about who I'm channeling. I'm never off the mark when it's only me.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Equality for Women and Girls

I found this on a website some time ago and have been meaning to post it for some time. It's a talk from 2009 about how to build coalitions and accelerate women's equality around the world.