a good man…but

I like Bernie Sanders…his affinity for everyman. Sanders’ compassion for the less fortunate is palpable. His ideas to uplift the struggling masses and level the playing field is what America should be about. If everyone thought as Sanders does…peace might be possible.

Sanders, however, cannot be our next president. He proselytizes, speaking to our “better angels.” Abraham Lincoln first spoke to that side of human nature in his First Inaugural Address on March 4, 1861…

“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

Almost 155 years to the day, we are where we were then. American turning against American, each side using the Constitution in defense of its own dogmatic, ideological stances.

I give Sanders credit for being the voice of Lincoln when that President’s own party, the Republican Party, has long turned its back on what he stood for…and died for.

Being a senior citizen myself, I can understand Sanders sense of urgency to remake America before he dies. He’s 74. He wants it done…yesterday.

Like President Obama before him, Sanders has started a movement, primarily among young adults. He is calling upon them to help fix our broken society. Sanders expects that they will continue to actively support his presidency, if and when that day materializes. They are to strong arm Congress into enacting all that Sanders envisions in a progressive society.

It may be that Obama wrongfully shouldered the burden of his office alone, as some in the media have accused. However he may have been more realistic than Sanders who expects working class folks to add to their daily overload by actively involving themselves in remaking America. It’s not that it can’t be done, it’s just a question of how realistic an expectation it is.

How will Sanders pay for all the freebies he proposes to give out…free college education for all, rich and poor…and Medicare-like health insurance for all, rich and poor? In addition he wants to expand Medicaid benefits…raise the minimum wage…make it easier for people to join unions…break up the big banks…bring parity to women’s wages…invest in our crumbling infrastructure…and more. Fantastic…rhetoric, to be sure. But who’s going to pay for all of this?

If Sanders’ desire is to fashion our society to look like some in Europe, then we must be prepared to pay the price, as do those citizens. For example, Norway’s total tax burden is 45% of GDP…twice that of the U.S. More than the cost in dollars, however, is the price paid in individual enterprise and hard work.

Yes, I’d like the have-nots to have more, but they should still have the opportunity to work for it.

Hillary Clinton’s plan to help college students is to…allow them to refinance, just as we are allowed to refinance our homes, so that they are not paying excessive interest rates of 10% or more. She is not about forgiving their debt altogether. Furthermore, Clinton offers college students the opportunity to repay their loan as a percentage of wages earned after graduating. 

Bernie Sanders is unrealistically ideological. Hillary Clinton is pragmatic about her ideology.

…I’m for getting something done…

…not for daydreaming about it.

………hugmamma.

nurturing thursdays: sins of the father…

…are visited upon the son. And the daughter, I would add.

Much of what seems to be occurring in the world these days, whether it be religious fanaticism or racial prejudice or sexual/physical/mental abuse seems to have its roots in the past…our past, individually and collectively.

How does a child learn to discern what’s acceptable and what’s not? First and foremost from their parents, and then from other adults who serve as role models. Whether the results be good or bad, prior generations set the example for those who come next.

Wouldn’t it be great if the slate could be wiped clean of the dumb stuff with the birth of new generations?

Perhaps not.

It might be that our immorality reinforces the need for our morality. If everything were flawless, would we even care…about anything? Would life bore us to tears?

With struggle and failure comes passion and desire to achieve…the unattainable. Our lives have purpose and meaning.

We are here to be, as our beloved Lincoln put it so hopefully in his first inaugural address to the nation on the eve of the Civil War…

I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature

My hope for everyone this holiday season, that we be…

…better angels of our nature.

………hugmamma.

Other inspirational offerings can be enjoyed at…

https://beccagivens.wordpress.com/2014/12/18/nurturing-thurs-peace-2/

powerball!!!

The Lotto Powerball logo

The Lotto Powerball logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you’re like me, and I do pride myself upon being normal…although at times I’ve been known to behave somewhat “aby-normal”…then you were off in your own fantasy land dreaming about the $500 million dollar jackpot that was up for grabs recently. 

Not usually the gambling type, hubby and I get involved only when the $$$ signs are too many to ignore. So we were in it to win it with a wager of $10 bucks.

As the jackpot continued to climb, experts bemoaned the fact that the odds of winning were growing slimmer and slimmer. Something like one in 700 million, I think. So, of course, daydreaming was all I could do.

After all…it was free…no matter how grand the imaginings.

Paying off bills, a trust fund for our daughter and enlarging our retirement, nest egg…those were at the top of the family “to do” list. Surely not an uncommon trio of wishes. The remainder, however, were unique to my own corner of the world…at least in their specifics.

Tent City

Tent City (Photo credit: kuow949)

The “tent city” that shelters the homeless in our east side community must relocate every so many months, so as not to overstay their welcome among the residents in the area. There’s a fine line between accommodating the poor and guaranteeing the rights and privileges of nearby property owners. Those who organize the hospitality are good Samaritans, who are trying to remain good neighbors.  After all, they’d like to ensure that their “tent city” be invited back, albeit temporarily.

Fantasy number one with my power ball winnings?

Build a permanent structure to house, feed, and aid the homeless. Organize clinics wherein volunteer doctors and nurses could tend to the physical needs of the residents, and job clinics where volunteer, business reps could assist in preparing residents to become serious, wage earners again.

Fantasy number two?

Hurricane destruction, Union Beach, NJ

Hurricane destruction, Union Beach, NJ (Photo credit: spleeness)

Provide financial assistance to a community devastated by Hurricane Sandy. Perhaps one resembling my own, small town. Whether it be in providing a steady feed of  material goods to a  shelter where folks are housed temporarily, or establishing a home schooling situation where the children could continue their education, or buying good, used cars for folks to get around.

And my third wish…as in the oft-told granting of three wishes by a fairy god-mother?

Just that we all be thankful…for the small moments that make our lives good…without power ball wins.

 Awaking each day with minds and limbs intact…and working.

Having those we love and who love us…healthy and in our lives each day.

Living in a democracy…unlike any other in the world.

Finding peace on earth…even as we endure the ravages wrought by Mother Nature…and the havoc wrought by mankind…upon itself.

English: Abraham Lincoln and his son Tad looki...

English: Abraham Lincoln and his son Tad looking at an album of photographs. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bearing witness to special people among us who take up the mantle of leadership…such as Lincoln and Obama…at great cost to their own…health, welfare, and peace of mind.

It is my contention that all people are good.

No one among us sets out to be bad on the day we are born. Familial and environmental circumstances affect our progress in becoming upstanding, world citizens.

I remind myself…often…that goodness is our origin and that we, in our own way, are trying to get along, even as we carve out our own niches in a society that is ever-expanding.

We are all power ball winners, even as we celebrate the good fortune of the Dearborn family who took home half the jackpot.

They look like us in their normal, outward appearance, and in the values they seem to hold dear, such as adopting a little, Chinese girl as their daughter and sister.

In fact…upon closer inspection…

…they are…us!

………hugmamma.

business and the oval office…a duck out of water

A good read in today’s Wall Street Journal, the following article brings perspective to the requirements of the Oval Office. Where I couldn’t quite put my finger on what I felt in my gut, this writer nailed it. Perhaps you’ll agree. Let me know what you think.

The Case Against a CEO in the Oval Office
by Alan S. Blinder

Mitt Romney, Mr. 1% - Cartoon

Mitt Romney, Mr. 1% – Cartoon (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

Mitt Romney bases his case for being president on his evident success in business, where he made a fortune as CEO of Bain Capital. But are business achievements important, or even relevant, to the presidency?

Probably not. Presidential history teaches us that the abilities, character traits and attitudes it takes to succeed in business have little in common with what it takes to succeed in government. In some respects, they are antithetical.

Think of our greatest presidents. Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and the two Roosevelts didn’t have any business accomplishments to their credit. (Well, maybe Washington did, a little.) Neither, by the way, did Republican icon Ronald Reagan, who was once a union leader. Harry Truman sold a few hats, and Woodrow Wilson was a professor. On the other hand, the two truly successful businessmen to win the presidency were Herbert Hoover and George H.W. Bush.

This negative correlation between business success and political success is probably not a coincidence. Nolan Bushnell, the highly successful entrepreneur who founded both Atari and Chuck E. Cheese, once observed that “Business is a good game–lots of competition and a minimum of rules. You keep score with money.” That’s virtually the opposite of being president of the United States: The president has no direct competitors (though he does have opponents), must abide by numerous rules and certainly doesn’t keep score with money.

The differences between business and government are manifold. Start with democracy, the preservation and strengthening of which may be a president’s first duty. Not many successful companies are run as democracies; benign dictatorship works far better. All the checks and balances that characterize American democracy would drive a hard-charging CEO, accustomed to getting his own way, crazy.

Sound companies dote on efficiency. They’d better, for the competitive marketplace is a tough environment. If you’re less efficient than your competitors, you’ll founder and probably fail. That’s what we love about capitalism–the survival of the fittest.

While there are niches in the federal government where efficiency matters a great deal, such as in defense procurement or running the General Services Administration, the White House isn’t one of them. Hoover was a sterling manager. But as he learned painfully, the big decisions aren’t about efficiency at all. It may even be critical to cut people a little slack here and there.

Rather than worshiping efficiency, some notion of ” fairness” is typically paramount in government. One of the key success criteria in politics may be public perceptions of fairness, for perceptions and realities don’t always line up.

Fair dealing can be important in the business world, too. But fairness per se–in the sense of everyone getting his or her just deserts–rarely is. Markets are engines of efficiency, not fairness. In fact, a generous helping of greed may be good in business, as Gordon Gekko–and before him, Adam Smith–taught us.

Which brings us back to keeping score. Top business executives focus single-mindedly on the “bottom line,” meaning profits. Among the reasons why so many smart business people fail in politics and government is that there is no bottom line–or perhaps I should say there are so many bottom lines that the search for a single one is futile.

A president wants to further the national interest. But that amorphous phrase subsumes dozens of goals, some of which are vague and several of which may conflict with others. Governing is certainly not about profits, whatever that might mean in a political context. The crisp political goal analogous to maximizing profits is maximizing your chances of re-election. But do we really want a president who dotes on that every day? By that ignoble standard, Richard Nixon was surely one of our greatest presidents and Lincoln one of our worst.

A long-standing debate rages over whether companies should act solely in the interests of their shareholders or should consider more broadly the well-being of “stakeholders”–a more encompassing term that includes (at a minimum) employees, suppliers, and the communities in which they operate. Stakeholder versus shareholder perspectives can lead to quite different decisions. Think, for example, of laying off workers or closing a plant. But there is no such debate in the private-equity world, Mr. Romney’s business home. Bain Capital’s website says that the firm’s mission “is to produce superior investment returns for our investors,” period. Governments need a wider view.

A good president communicates well with people and inspires them. Think about Lincoln or Franklin Roosevelt–or more recently, Reagan and Bill Clinton. Corporate leaders need communication skills, too, but of rather different sorts. Mitt Romney’s repeated verbal stumbles bear witness to the differences; I presume he was a whiz with balance sheets and corporate boards. Barack Obama may never have met a payroll, but he’s a gifted orator, and empathy and fairness are in his bones.

Presidents must also be patient, a trait not prized in CEOs. A CEO often demands quick action and results. But the American system of government wasn’t designed for rapid change. Those annoying checks and balances are meant to get in the way. You don’t have to remind President Obama that Congress often tosses his ideas out the window–or totally ignores them. That doesn’t happen much to CEOs, whose underlings generally snap to attention. That may be why Mr. Romney keeps telling us all the things he’ll do in his first days in office. Oh, really? He apparently hasn’t met the U.S. Congress.

Setting foreign and military policy is the one place where, as George W. Bush inelegantly put it, the president often is “the decider.” But it’s the rare corporate executive who has any experience in, or even much knowledge of, these matters. Recall former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain stumbling over the names of countries. But it is the rare president who is not immersed in foreign policy virtually every day.

So don’t be surprised to find a superior businessman looking like a duck out of water as a presidential candidate. It is what history and logic should lead you to expect. The business of America’s government is not business.

The Peacemakers.

The Peacemakers. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(Mr. Blinder, a professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University, is a former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve.)

 

English: President Barack Obama welcomes Israe...

English: President Barack Obama welcomes Israeli President Shimon Peres in the Oval Office Tuesday, May 5, 2009. At right is Vice President Joe Biden. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza. Français : President Barack Obama accueille le président israélien Shimon Peres dans le bureau ovale mardi 5 mai 2009. A droite, le vice-président Joe Biden. Photo officielle de la Maison Blanche par Pete Souza. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

william and his kate…my wish for

Royal Wedding Will and Kates Story

Image by Pesky Library via Flickr

We are being inundated with coverage of the upcoming royal wedding between the future king of England and his queen, William and Kate. Ever since they announced their engagement to the world, they seem always to be smiling. They seem to wear their happiness well. Perhaps they have already learned what so many married couples take decades to figure out. If they have, then they may not need the advice of relationship expert, Leo Buscaglia. But it never hurts to heap on the well wishes for longevity in what already appears to be a solid friendship, and a grand love affair. Buscaglia writes in his book, Loving Each Other…

We cannot look for joy as we do a lost article of clothing. We make our own happiness. we define it for ourselves and experience it in our unique way. No one can be happy for us nor tell us what should make us happy, though people will always try. The sad fact is that we fall into Madison Avenue traps which convince us that happiness is the right drink, the flashy automobile, the scented deodorant, bursting-with-health cereal or the special snack food. Even the wisest among us are seduced by the exuberant TV ad or the seductive graphic into believing that we, too, can change our lives if we switch to a new mouthwash. We never stop to think that there is nothing in the world which can be given or denied us that will bring us happiness unless we decide it. In fact, the happiest people in the world would probably still be happy if stripped of everything except life.

Kate and Wills

Image by JeanM1 via Flickr

…Perhaps much happiness is lost in the pursuit of it. Hawthorne in his American Notebooks said that happiness always comes incidentally. “Make it the object of pursuit,” he added, “and it leads us on a wild goose chase and is never attained.” He suggests that we should lose our way and follow something totally unrelated. In that way we often happen on happiness without ever dreaming it would be there.

We are far too rational in our relationships, far too ordered, organized and predictable. We need to find a place, just this side of madness and irrationality, where we can, from time to time, leave the mundane and move into spontaneity and serendipity, a level that includes a greater sense of freedom and risk–an active environment full of surprises, which encourages a sense of wonder. Here, ideas and feelings which would otherwise be difficult to state can be expressed freely. A bond of love is easy to find in an environment of joy. When we laugh together we bypass reason and logic, as the clown does. We speak a universal language. We feel closer to one another.

Royal Wedding Flags Go Up On Regents Street, L...

Image by DG Jones via Flickr

…Joy and happiness are simply states of mind. As such they can help us to find creative solutions. When we feel joyful, euphoric, happy, we are more open to life, more capable of seeing things clearly and handling daily tensions.

…”Joy comes into our lives,” Joseph Addison says, “when we have something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.”

Live fully and with abandon. Love totally and without fear. Hope splendidly and never relinquish the dream. These will help us but joy will only be ours when we choose it. As Abraham Lincoln reminded us, “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

William and Kate Royal Wedding plates

Image by Ben Sutherland via Flickr

and may I add…

long life and…everlasting happiness…to sylvia’s king and queen…william and…his kate…hugmamma.

egyptians, no different

I haven’t as yet delved into what the media is printing about the current Egyptian uprising. I only know what I see and hear on TV. At the moment, until things resolve themselves one way or the other, it’s a lot of information to digest. Trying to decipher what I think of everything isn’t something I can wrap my brain around right now. The outcome of their fate ultimately rests in the hands of the Egyptians themselves, from the top politico to the peon in the street.

The one thought that runs through my mind is that because of technology, a combination of television, computers, mobile devices, the internet and its myriad of tools, people around the world, living in hovels or palaces, can witness what occurs in other countries. And like snapshots retained in our memories, what we see can fester in our subconsciences for a long time, until we decide to act upon them.

It’s my personal feeling that both President Obama and the Tea Party Movement have been catalysts in what we are now witnessing in Egypt and Tunisia. While there are those who disagree, I think the President has shown himself to be a champion of the middle and lower classes. From health care reform embracing 13,000,000 Americans without insurance to speaking up for better education for the less fortunate, he has shown himself to be the son of a woman who died of cancer while fighting for health insurance coverage.

The Tea-Partiers have successfully shown millions at home and abroad, that the masses can unite via the internet to unseat politicians, replace them with candidates of their choosing, and ultimately, influence government decisions. Heady stuff for a movement started by 2 Atlanta housewives, Amy Kremer and Jenny Beth Martin, strangers to one another, who were stewing over the economic downturn and its negative impact upon their lives. (My post of 11/3/10, “two housewives,”founders of tea party movement”.) Power to the people has never been more overwhelmingly proven than in what these 2 ordinary citizens initiated, to have it become the Tea Party Movement as we know it today, a force with which to be reckoned.

History has proven time and again, that people will rise up to challenge whom they perceive as their oppressors. We who enjoy the benefits of an American democracy can do so far more rationally than countries ruled by dictators. We can protest without provoking full-out civil war. I think we learned our lesson a long time ago under another president I admire, Abraham Lincoln. He too was not a favorite of all Americans, but he did the best he could, according to the principles in which he believed, one being that all people, including slaves, should live freely.

The Egyptians, and Tunisians, want to choose how to live their own lives. Like us they want to earn a living, provide for their families, take pleasure in small things, and give their children hope for a better future. Not so much to ask for really. In fact, they just want what we Americans already enjoy.

I may have oversimplified the unrest that rages in the Middle East. But sometimes the experts complicate matters by interjecting too much hyperbole. I’m not an expert, just an ordinary housewife who understands that people like me just want to make a decent life for our families. Not a big deal really, but, in fact, it is a really big deal when we’ve only got one chance to live our best lives.

people the world over want the same things…life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…hugmamma.

focusing on forgiveness

Leo Buscaglia, my favorite author, and now my daughter’s, had amazing insight into “the better angels of human nature” that Lincoln spoke of in his first inaugural address in 1861. In his book “Loving Each Other,” Buscaglia writes

There is no more personally rewarding moment than when we can truly forgive and are forgiven. At that instant we become really free, free to move forward as fully functioning human beings. Illusions of perfection, ours and the others, are shattered and we accept and are accepted as the vulnerable, imperfect human beings that we are.

As we honor those who have fallen in Tucson, and pray for the speedy recovery of those injured, let us ask forgiveness for Jared Loughner, the 22-year-old, tragic, lone gunman. He was a child of the same society that created Christina Taylor Green, the 9-year-old, budding civil servant. It’s my sincere feeling that both were victims.

“Sins of the fathers are visited upon the children.”

All of us are responsible for all children. What we think, what we say, how we behave, and what we do, is of consequence to those who come after. So perhaps we should 

Forgive those who trespass against us as we would have them forgive our trespasses.

maybe then we can be at peace with one another…hugmamma.

“aloha,” the meaning

I don’t claim to speak for all Hawaiians, only myself and perhaps a handful of others I know who may share my sentiments. The uproar over a mosque being built near Ground Zero seems to be growing the ever-widening gap among people, in our country and abroad, but particularly here in America. Republicans and Democrats have always been on sparring terms, but added to the mix now are the “Tea-Party” supporters with Sarah Palin seemingly at the helm. An uneasy coexistence among us began when the streamers and champagne glasses were tossed out, after President Obama’s inaugural. Did civility and tolerance get thrown in the trash as well?

Wanting and needing to live a healthy life going forward, for my sake and that of my husband’s and daughter’s, it’s been essential that I adopt a more compassionate, positive outlook toward myself, and others. Diseases, like Alzheimer’s breed on negativity. I’m certain, as survivors of cancer would agree, that dwelling upon the bad aspects of the disease doesn’t help in the fight against and may, in fact, promote its spread. So why would we want to encourage more vitriol amongst ourselves, families, friends, neighbors,co-workers,communities and fellow-worshippers of the same Being whom we all believe as benevolent? Might we not share that same benevolence with our fellow-men and women?

Opponents of both views  in the brouhaha over mosques being built on U.S. soil seem unwilling to share the land, let alone compassion ( “a feeling of sympathy for another’s misfortune” according to Webster) towards one another. Yesterday’s Journal cited several ongoing conflicts around the country. In Temecula, California “Local officials will consider in November plans by the Islamic Center of Temecula Valley for a 25,000-square-foot mosque.” Pastor William Rench of Calvary Baptist Church, potentially neighboring the proposed mosque, is concerned about extremist sentiments expressed by one American Islamic leader.  The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, plans to build a new mosque and school. Darrel Whaley “A local pastor at Kingdom Ministries Worship Center…has spoken at county meetings against plans for the mosque and recreational facilities.” Meanwhile plans have been approved to build a mosque in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin. President of the Islamic Society of Sheboygan, Imam Mohammad Hamad says “The issue here is not the issue of a religious building, it is an issue of the Constitution.” A supporter Reverend Gregory S. Whelton, pastor at St. John’s United Church of Christ in Sheboygan felt President Obama’s controversial remarks “articulated the same issues of religious tolerance that were at stake here.”

Since Lincoln’s stand against racial prejudice, which cost too much in the loss of human lives, our country has struggled to rid itself of the taint of human degradation, slavery. But it seems to be our lot on earth never to achieve equality for we always keep our hearts and minds closed to others, who are unlike ourselves. Perhaps we fear they will take what we have, leaving us nothing. 

I struggle too, I’m not above the fray. But for the sake of our children and their children, it’s my sincerest hope that we continue fighting for equality of ideas, beliefs, cultures. Politics, it seems, carries the day suffocating our values, our humanity.

Tourists and others comment on the “Aloha spirit” among Hawaiians. It is spoken of as a beneficent state of mind. For the most part, it is. Native Hawaiians under the rule of King Kamehameha wanted for nothing. He owned the land, and the people were granted its use for their daily needs. I think because of this, Hawaiians are not hoarders by nature. Unfortunately this inherent openness toward sharing the wealth and beauty of the islands has enabled others to historically take whatever they wanted, leaving the natives very little to share of their inheritance.

Despite their own dilemma most Hawaiians continue to welcome visitors to their Paradise, the thought being we all need one another to survive. So they continue to share the thunderous waterfalls, the white sand beaches, the warm waters of the blue Pacific, the green canopies of local foliage, the migrating humpbacks and other wildlife that still abounds, the hula dancers telling stories with their hands, their eyes, and melodic voices rising on soft breezes evoking reminiscences of Hawaii’s past, wonderment at Hawaii’s present, and promises of Hawaii’s future.

Hawaiians are not exempt from the trials and tribulations of others, they  would just prefer that everyone get along. There’s an old saying my mom use to pass along when some wrong was righted “No mo pilikea.” We knew then there would be “no more trouble,” “no more worries.”

that’s what I wish for us all…hugmamma.