Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Wishing for Harmony & Collaboration in the Political Process

The political environment in the USA is so challenging that it is difficult to consider any concept of collaboration or focus on what is truly appropriate for the majority of the American people. The polarization of the political ideology is frustrating. If Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neil could find a meeting of the minds, why have those elected to office after this generation been so obstinate?

We are a people of individualism, oriented towards freedom, filled with compassion, focused on the underdog, but intent on exploiting out “can do” attitudes to elevate ourselves to success. We as a people do not promote or condone passivity, seeking handouts or a government nanny state. Only those who seek to profit from the hard work, endeavors or toils of others truly look to the government to give hand-outs. 

The founders of our republic believed did not foresee our abrogating independence to ensure domestic safety. Those who sought “liberty or death” did not believe that giving up rights in exchange for the perception of safety or a safety net was of value. Liberty, freedom, independence, free thought, the right to exist without undue taxation, the belief that people should have certain rights that should not be curtailed by an oppressive institution, are the foundations of our Constitution.

The federal government was envisioned as a system of checks and balances that did not favor one viewpoint exclusively. The Senate provided equal representation for each state; the House of Representatives provided representation based upon population. The Supreme Court is meant to keep Congress or the executive branch from abusing powers. But modern political process fueled by lobbyists, special interests, political polarization, pandering to voters, and the attempt to grab a few media soundbites has compromised the process. I am disgusted.

Essentially, the political parties have devolved into liberals who advocate for socialism that has failed in every environment in which the experiment has been tried vs. conservatives that want to foist their own skewed view of morality on the populace while funding pet projects and talking out both sides of their mouths regarding “entitlements”. 

The country is essentially 50% liberal and 50% conservative. Most folks believe in a strong military, continuing social security and Medicare since those who have actually worked pay into the system. Religion and morality cannot be legislated and should remain outside the purview of Congress. Those cities or counties that flout the federal government by offering sanctuary to illegal residents should lose funding. If I ignore the law, there will be repercussions. Municipalities do not have a right to my tax dollars funding their programs. Frankly, the federal government should not subsidize any municipalities. States, counties, cities, towns, townships, boroughs, etc. should pay their own way.

The entire process if fatiguing. The arguing is mind-numbing. I’ve lost respect for the entire political process. Neither political party represents my interests. I am disgusted.

Monday, March 27, 2017

My Ideal Guest List for a Gathering of Women in History

In my efforts to become reacquainted with my literary muse I began to consider who I would love to invite if I could be granted a wish to host a gathering of fascinating women in history. My invitation list would, of course, be eclectic and not necessarily follow typical methodology. Instead, my retreat would include women I would love to chat up or invite for a cocktail if the Universe would allow. No weapons, poison, excessively lengthy scarves, vitriol, plotting or political intrigue allowed for the event.

Eleanor of Aquitaine                                            
Empress Matilda / Maude                                  
Matilda of Flanders
Isabella of France                                         
Elizabeth I of England                             
Lucretia Borgia
Catherine the Great                                     
Queen Victoria                                     
Martha Washington
Alice Roosevelt Longworth                                  
Princess Grace of Monaco                                    
Queen Isabella of Castile 

Catherine of Aragon         
Kitty Wilson Evans                 
Catherine de Medici  
Catherine of Valois          
Joan of Navarre                
Elizabeth Woodville                 
Harriet Tubman  
Harriet Beecher Stowe          
Abigail Adams
Marian Anderson  
Sally Ride  
Amelia Earhart
Rosa Parks  
Florence Nightingale  
Coco Chanel
Gertrude Ederle  
Pearl Buck  
Margaret Thatcher
Tz’u Hsi          
Matilda of Canossa  
Katherine Swynford
Marie Curie   
Caroline Herschel
Christine de Pizan
Jane Austen
Livia Drusilla  
Cecily Neville  
Maria Teresa of Austria 
Sojourner Truth  
Maria Tallchief
Isadora Duncan  
Indira Ghandi  
Golda Meir
Julia Child  
Mary Chestnut  
Rose Greenhow
Mata Hari  
Margaret Fuller  
Helen Thomas
Louisa May Alcott  
Erma Bombeck  
Isak Dinesen
Antonia Fraser  
P.D. James  
Anne Rice
Edith Wharton  
Mary Pickford
Varina Davis
Shirley Chisholm  
Ayn Rand  
Nancy Hart

Admittedly, this is a disparate collection of personages that makes up my dream gathering of female icons that include authors, rulers, traitors, diarists, trail blazers, scientists, artists, activists, and women who were fascinating by virtue of birth / place / time / marriage / political pawn / or other inadvertent relationship. 
Who would you include for the conclave? Please offer suggestions. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Trying to Let Go of What I Can’t Control

A month after Mom’s funeral I emerged from the fog and gently began to live in my new world without her. It has now been 2 1/2 months. Some days are good. I laugh and days go by without my shedding tears. Then there are days that I want to crawl in a hole, cover my head, and cry.

Plunging back into my regular routine of yoga, wine tasting, and trips for work in which I spend time with other people who have experienced loss and survived has helped. But last week I had several days where I allowed my enhanced sensitivity to overwhelm me, which resulted in the long dormant recurrence of TMJ on my right side, which made it nearly impossible to open my mouth or chew. Of course it could not have come at a more inopportune time at work. 

My dad had been fragile for a couple of days but was preparing to take the cruise that he’d planned to take with my mother to celebrate his 85th birthday. At the last possible moment his traveling companion failed to show without any advance notice. Daddy decided to board the ship and enjoy the cruise anyway. I was livid that somebody would exhibit just disrespect, lack of commitment and unfathomable rudeness and allowed my resentment to ferment, boil, and infect me. 

I tried meditation and my usual process of releasing resentments. However, it was not until I looked at my Louise Hay calendar yesterday and saw the positive thought for the day that I felt a release. I was reminded of the tools I’ve learned through my years in Al Anon, my yoga practice, and journaling.

“I am not responsible for other people. We are all under the law of our own consciousness.”

Wow! That completely changed my mood and my attitude and helped me to let go.  I have no control over the actions of other people. But I do have control over my own reactions to other people and situations. If my dad had the bravery, sense of adventure, wherewithal and commitment to living his life to the fullest to embark on the cruise alone, perhaps that is what was meant to be. It may be the right path to healing for him. 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Clothes Do Matter ~ Dressing for the Job You Want

Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society. ~ Mark Twain

During and following the 2016 US Presidential Election people have expressed anger, frustration, surprise, shock and disdain that much of the electorate in part judged Hillary Clinton’s suitability for office based upon her much maligned wardrobe. Her ardent supporters argued that clothes don’t matter; she should be judged instead upon her views, her passion, the fact that she is a woman and her years of experienced in government.

For me Ms. Clinton’s wardrobe misfires contributed only a scintilla of the basis for my inability to support her candidacy. However, for many people her lack of sartorial elegance, focus on tailoring, or her just plain flawed sense of fashion stated boldly, “I do not care how I look; I do not really want to be president; fashion is inconsequential; respect me for my mind and excuse my wardrobe.”

But that is not how we as humans react or respond. An individual only has a few seconds to send an initial impression; and if it is negative, it takes enormous effort to change that first impression. It is for this reason that image consultants thrive in modern society. It is also why John T. Molloy became a best selling author with his Dress for Success books in 1975 and 1977. Molloy offered men and women scientific research to support the theory that clothes matter. He positioned that one should dress like he/she already had the job.

A potential employer will judge an applicant’s likelihood of fitting into a company’s culture based upon the job-seeker’s clothing choices, hairstyle, grooming, shoes, visible piercings or tattoos, facial hair, or appropriateness for the occasion.

Rightly or wrongly, people judge us on how we present ourselves to the world. Some argue that men are not judged as harshly as are women. That is to some degree true; however, Ronald Reagan was judged negatively for wearing brown suits when it is believed that only dark blue or gray exude power and gravitas. Barak Obama created an uproar when he wore dad jeans. 

Because men in the business and political worlds rely upon classic suits to look professional it is simpler to project the image one expects of a leader. However, there are landmines to avoid such as a European cut or a double-breasted jacket. Women have more leeway in presenting a professional image; however, it remains the fact that it is safest to wear a well tailored traditionally styled navy, gray, or black suit. This look represents power, intelligence, confidence, and success.