Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Change of Mind

Ordinarily I would not consider going back almost two years to place a disclaimer on one of my articles.  Right or wrong, good or bad, they represent my thoughts and feelings at the time they are written.  Once more knowledge is gained either from my own research or from a change in national information, I can always write a new article showing my newfound wisdom.

"My Tongue In Cheek Choice For Congress (Or Am I Serious?)" is one article that needs to be readdressed.  This article simply will not die.  There were multiple page views this past week. 

There were a couple of reasons for writing the article.  First, I was trying to introduce a little levity into what had become a very tedious election.  Second, I was trying to notify all local parties that we needed a Democratic candidate and that the candidates on the ballot were not very well known in my neck of the woods.  I'm in an area which Republicans view as Democratic, so they don't court our votes.  Democrats see my state as Republican, so don't invest many dollars here.

Since publishing this article, I have been subscribing to Representative Kevin Yoder's weekly on-line newsletter.  I cannot imagine a more dedicated Representative than he.  He describes the bills, how he voted and why, and which ones he introduces and/or sponsors.  He schedules meetings where constituents can talk with him and he has a local staff on hand to answer questions. 

Sorry, Representative Yoder!  I should have done this sooner.  Now, if only you were a Democrat. . .

Monday, May 26, 2014

My Dad's Summer Home

The words heart attack and Eisenhower were much in the minds of Americans when my father was stricken with his first heart attack.  By the time I was brought into the fold, he was ensconced in a bed at the Veteran's Administration Hospital in Marion, IL.  The doctors were adamant.  Eisenhower's attack was a drop in the bucket compared with his.  Life style changes were in order. 

My Dad had been in the China/Burma/India Theater of World War II.  Back then, our soldiers knew that after they served their country and protected their families and neighbors, the government would take care of their health.

What have the citizens of our country become, that they would make their offices "look good" at the risk of human health and life?  It makes me ashamed that we have become such a callous and superficial population that we not only fail to thank our veterans properly, but actually write them off to make numbers appear better than they are.

The Republicans, who have gotten the mistaken idea that Americans approve of dirty politics, are having a field day blaming the Administration.  But how could the President know it was this bad when he was being fed "doctored books"?

You know, folks, it is bad enough that some low level supervisors instructed people to hide the facts.  But, what is wrong with those employees who followed the instructions?  Perhaps the forty alleged deaths were unavoidable anyway, but we'll never know what might have been if they could have gotten timely care.

The doctors at that VA hospital saved my father's life that summer.  We got to have him with us a few more precious years.  What would we have done without their care and their commitment to saving human life?

We used to joke a lot that the VA Hospital at Marion, IL, was my Daddy's summer home.  It should be this way for all our veterans that meet the need for care -- chronic or acute.  We should not be hearing of one individual who has to wait longer than a couple of days for medical attention.

The Congress needs to unzip the collective pockets and staff the care facilities adequately.  The lower level administrative offices need to report the details honestly and correctly.  The individuals working need to examine their own hearts and souls and determine the true worth of the instructions they are given.  They should report lies and deceit.

And people should quit blaming the President for every problem.  This is a systemic and moral tragedy -- not an administrative glitch.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

And They Say It's A Woman's World

Girls are being shot because they want to be educated.

Girls have been kidnapped.  The apparent kidnapper was threatening to sell them all as sex slaves unless he could trade them for the release of his own men.  The kidnapper, from a culture that stones it's women if they are raped, is threatening to sell other people's kids into sexual slavery.

Rapes in our military -- which have been going on for many decades -- are finally gaining the full attention of the government.

Today, reports are that one in five female university students are victims of rape.  Men, in the process of seeking power over women, resort to rape to flex their muscles.  Women, children through grandmothers, of any age will do.  It depends on whom they wish to control.

Women in journalism, even when paid well, still earn on the whole only about 83 per cent of men's salaries.  Women in other jobs often do worse than that.  .

Men don't want to pay health insurance for women's concerns.  But they would be livid if we refused to pay for prostate exams and treatment.

Men who will exploit anyone and everyone they can, take more advantage of women than their male colleagues.

And they say it's a woman's world.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Hint Hint, Yourself

On This Week, Sunday, May 4, 2014, Kareem Abdul-Jabar was one of the guests discussing the Donald Sterling issue.  In the May 19, 2014, Time Magazine, much of what he said is repeated in "How To Tell If You Are A Racist."  A man whose claim to fame is that he is so tall, with such long arms, he can practically stand flat footed and dump a little round ball through a hoop, gets on the round table and in a major newsmagazine where he has the opportunity to set race relations back about a hundred years.

I had earlier posted my opinion about the issue in my blog, louhough.BlogSpot.com.  I will not simply regurgitate that article here.  I will try a new way to say what I've been trying to get across for over a decade.

You see, as a seventy-five year old, I've seen a lot of happenings that a young person would not have experienced.  I dealt with some of these issues in my novel, Changes, which was published in 2004.  The basic thesis is that political movements embarked upon for a good cause can sometimes have unappealing side effects.  They do not negate the importance of the movement, they just leave some complications in their wakes.

For just a moment, let me use an example that has nothing to do with race so you can get the gist of my point.  Before the women's liberation movement, men in service positions had treated women with some remnant of respect, more so than their own husbands.  They opened doors for us, they called us "mam", they let us have their seat on buses, etc.  After the women's movement there was an angry, belligerent undercurrent -- a why don't you stay home in the kitchen, you don't belong here getting your car repaired kind of attitude.  In fact, if I called to get price quotes for repairs, when my husband took the car in, he got the repairs at a significantly lower rate.  You follow me?

Now to the part that deals with racism.  Interactions that I had with black people were far more natural and just plain fun before the Civil Rights movement than afterward.  While Martin Luther King and the Kennedys were marching in the south, getting blacks the right to sit at the front of the bus and eat in "white" restaurants, some were deciding that people in the north were even more racist than those that wouldn't eat with you -- in fact, preferred to lynch you.  Say what?  Some of those people from the north were down there marching with you, trying to get your rights changed.

I think you know that people in some walks of life are more at ease with each other than people in others.  There seems to be a lot of good interracial interaction in the sports world, Hollywood and among upper level media.  Much of my world has been in Education as a university student, a faculty wife, a school psychologist, and a day care teacher.  That world is very similar to the three previous ones.  But there is another level of interaction that is not this good, and I can almost hear you saying, "what's good about it?"  Although there is no doubt that there is racism at all levels, it is worse where there is less thought and less ability to cope with somebody different from oneself.

I agree with those who say that racism is still alive and well and growing strong.  I just disagree with who is the most racist now and how it is exhibited.  Blacks always tell us we don't have a say because we don't know what it's like to be black.  Neither do blacks know what it's like to be white, or honkeys as some of you still call us.  We do have some experience now about what it's like to be passed over by black supervisors who hire their own kind.  We know what it's like to deal with hate and rage.  We have been threatened with plenty of violence.  Our children have been beaten up in school halls and bathrooms.  Groups of black teenagers thrive on encircling us and taunting.  And if you ever should read this, my guess is you will instantly think it's what we deserve for what happened to your race, even if we didn't ever do anything to you.  Hint, hint!!! 

We know what it's like to be on the receiving end of that smart-assed umhumm even when we are in the most innocuous of conversations.  We have experienced the young teen graduate who spends his first paycheck on a Mohawk and decides he's going to date the white colleague who is a mother of three, all older than he.  When she declines, he lashes out in "black" rage, never even understanding there might be too big an age gap.  Plus, he is so full of himself he can't imagine her preferences might run more to Sidney Portier than Mr. T.  We are told by black males that we don't know what we are missing and we are subjected to black women telling white men that if they ever go black they will never go back.  And yet the next time someone makes a statement that can be taken two or more ways, upper level blacks scream racism and the blacks on Main Street get madder and lash out more.

I've tried several ways over the last couple of years to suggest that people think things through before screaming racism.  There may always be an alternative reason why people do and say things.  It's extremely frustrating to never be able to get through the racial dome of paranoia that surrounds blacks, as well as others from minority groups.

But there is some comfort for minorities to view all complicated interactions from an "it's racism" point of view.  One never has to take a look at oneself and figure out what is wrong with his/her own behavior.  It's just always the other guy's fault.

In respect particularly to the NBA scandal I refer you to my last article.  Keep in mind while reading it that I have never -- and will never meet Mr. Sterling.  I had never heard of the Clippers.  I haven't watched a pro basketball game since 2006.  I am simply saying, again, that screaming racism over every troubled situation is a racist act.

I don't know how many black people really want good interracial interactions. Maybe most, maybe none.  But I do know that if we ever have them it is going to take a lot of work and give and take from all of us. 

Think how offended you feel when I suggest you are racist, too.  Then consider that is our reaction to your name calling as well.

Just as the depths of the oceans determine how the winds blow, so does the celebrity level reaction determine how the tensions affect Main Street level interactions.  With each backlash you create, the longer it will take to effect a lasting, peaceful relationship.

And let me suggest Kareem Abdul-Jabar is not a racist.
In his own mind.  Just whites are.

This author has heard his quote as black, white, pink or purple and she is saying you are, too.  I do not pretend to hint!

All those people mentioned in his article may or may not be racist.  I do know that he and others threw out all the years of this man's life over a very short recording that was a quarrel between two friends who had had a falling out. 
I agree racism is not dead.  I suggest you go home and look in the mirror and see if you can be honest with yourselves.  And remember while doing so that now you not only do not recognize any past success, but you are spouting micro aggression and situational racism.  If you acknowledge success or even progress, you lose a lot of leverage in the relationships.  You have us walking on eggshells, which family therapists recognize as a way of seizing the power.

You see, I prefer to evaluate people on an individual level.  I'd love to see my friend Vera, whom I last saw in Florida.  I frequently wish I could see Shirley from long ago.  I'd like to talk to Bernadette again.  But all those people won't mean anything to you.  So, let me use celebrities.  I've no interest in meeting Abdul-Jabar.  I don't think we'd like each other much.  I'd love to meet Gayle King and maybe Stedman.  But lately Oprah seems to appoint herself the world's foremost authority on everything, even turning 60.  Been 60, done 60.  I'd love to meet Whoopie Goldberg.  Sherri on the same panel impressed me with her choice of a mate.  Do you get my drift?  I may or may not like you based on your personality, not your race.  Oh yes, I'd be honored should I ever meet the President, his wife and girls.

I don't like all of you because you have dark skin.  I don't dislike all of you for that reason either.  But you can really get my dander up with your genuinely bad attitude, which I see a lot of anymore.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Racism And Very Messy Politics

The Mess In Basketball

Believe it or not, there is a top ten list of what's wrong with this picture when dealing with the current topic of racism pertaining to the NBA.

1.  A person who needs and uses black sports figures to enhance his bank account and reputation tells his black appearing "companion" not to bring blacks to his team's ball games.  Exploitation, racism, bigotry of the first order?  Maybe.

2.  The man's companion outs his seeming "bigotry" in order to gain attention for herself.  She says she didn't mean to hurt him.

3.  The woman now announces she will be president some day.  Well, not unless she uses improved methods of calling attention to herself.

4.  Talk show hosts are laughing at her expense because she says the relationship has not been sexual.  But the hosts, with their superior knowledge, were apparently there watching.  How else could they know for sure?

5.  Across the country, people moved immediately to oust/shun the "bigot" even before they were sure he was the one making the statements -- a rush to judgment.

6.  Nobody stops to ask why he does not want her to bring blacks to his games.  He gives her carte blanche whatever else she wants to do with blacks.  Just don't bring them to his turf.  But there are already blacks on his turf, including her.  Could it be sexual pride?  For the sake of argument, is it possible it really was not a sexual relationship, but he wanted one or wanted his male friends to think there was?  Blacks are well known for bragging about their sexual prowess.  Maybe he just didn't want his buddies to think the blacks were better in the bedroom than he.

7.  With little or no investigation of the facts, the reasons, the feelings that caused the remarks, he is told he can never participate or attend NBA games again.  This is his livelihood and he is ousted immediately -- no chance to defend himself or tell his side?  Perhaps more went on behind the scenes than most of us heard, but don't sports organizations usually spend years investigating before passing judgment?

8.  Blacks, whites, Asians, et. al., jump on the bandwagon -- a veritable landslide of opinion.  If they were throwing stones, the mob would have killed him already in a blind rage.

9.  If holding racist thoughts and expressing them in private, or even public, would get someone fired for life, practically no blacks and a lot of whites, Asians and Hispanics never would work again.  Once more, I reiterate, yelling racism every time a situation arises is an act of racism.  You, too, can be a racist.

10. It is probably illegal to tell a man he has to sell his company and give up his livelihood unless he uses it to commit a crime.  And we all know that white collar criminals seldom get much more than a slap on the hand.  Racism, however regrettable, is not usually a crime unless the person refuses to hire blacks or other minorities.

Once more, I suggest that we, the people, look for alternative explanations before jumping to racist conclusions.  Then, as the Bible suggests, we clean up our own act before destroying others.  I suggest we put on the brakes, examine each situation thoroughly and then make the punishment fit the situation.   We should not make one man pay with his whole existence for doing what the rest of you do everyday, especially since you don't really know his motivation.

Yeah, yeah, I'm sure you are all calling me racist because I am pointing out your own errors to you.  But then, we've already mentioned that we are racist and oh so politically incorrect to criticize or badmouth you, but you are just having a conversation when you do the same to us.  Both ways, people.  I don't care what went on two hundred, or one hundred or seventy-five years ago.  We did not do it.  Most of us are not the enemy, but we can't become friends until there is work and cooperation from both sides.  Get us off the eggshells, so we can really make progress in coexisting.  We might even find out we really like each other.

No Money Accepted

I have received a few e-mails attempting to give me (or my devotional program) money.  Much as most of us could use extra cash in this day and age, my ministry through these blogs is free.  I receive no money for the work that I do here. 

Neither am I able to help the individuals who write and ask for financial assistance.  I am a retiree who writes because that is who and what I am and have been since high school. I live on a shoestring budget.

I hope that my three blogs are of benefit to others.  Much as I get discouraged sometimes, I believe that enough people read them to make my efforts worthwhile.

My blogs are as follows: 

louhough.BlogSpot.com   This is a political blog.  Many of my readers might disagree with my positions, yet I pray that they find a new way of interpreting and understanding their own political beliefs.  Personally, I tend toward being a liberal Democrat.  Yet, surprisingly, I occasionally agree with Republicans, such as in matters concerning the right to bear arms.  I strongly believe that we should improve our public schools and see that they are controlled at the national level.  That way we can be more sure that all students are presented similar materials and have equal opportunities to learn.  I believe that we should continue to support education at the highest level we can afford.  These children are the future for ourselves as well as later generations.

lousissues.BlogSpot.com     This is a place where I vent my hurts, angers, observations and knowledge to anyone who feels they can learn and benefit from the work.  If I offend others with my interpretations of their behaviors, I consider it poetic justice for them offending us.  As President Truman once said, "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."  If you don't want others criticizing you, don't make waves in their lives.  It is time we demand that others treat us with the same dignity and respect that they expect and demand of us.

lousdevotes.BlogSpot.com    These devotionals are often based on life events.  They are meant to give others my spin on the world as interpreted by Bible passages and/or things I have learned from living seventy-five years. 

I believe that each of us can learn from each other.  I believe strongly in God.  I've had experiences that some would consider ridiculous, yet I know they are real because I have lived them.  I have survived much. 

Many of my beliefs are based on the Golden Rule and on my strong feeling that neither government nor religious preferences should ever interfere with individual rights.  Government and organized religions are meant to help masses of people be better organized and more considerate of each other.  They are supposed to help us survive, not interfere with our quality of life.  I seldom hear a liberal or conservative in either group who does not use his position to bully others into his/her own way of thinking.

I hope each individual who reads my work finds help, entertainment or becomes introduced to new perspectives.  My point of view is presented from the Main Street perspective.  That is how I started my political blog. 

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