Things That Make You Go Hmmm…

There once was a song that had that line in it by C&C Music Factory. In fact, it was the name of the song if memory serves — “Things That Make You Go Hmmm.”  I just found it on You Tube to jog my memory.  It will now be stuck in my head for a while and I will be singing along.

After watching this video, I also listened to C&C Music Factory’s “Gonna Make You Sweat” and “Here We Go Let’s Rock and Roll.” And “Everybody, Everybody” by Technotronic, “Strike It Up” by Black Box, Shannon’s “Let The Music Play” and Soul II Soul’s “|Back to Life.” These songs take me back to the early 1990s when I was in my 20s and loved dancing every weekend at a club.

My friend and I had so much fun and would dance for hours. There was so much great dance music back then. Each song has memories and so much fun attached.  I only wish that now I could dance for hours as I did then. Talk about great exercise!  I am working now on losing weight and getting healthy again and hope to be in dancing form again soon.

Anyway, this song came to mind over several things that have happened over the last few weeks, including this new journey of losing weight.  A lot on the national stage as well as in my own little corner of the world has made me stop and say Hmmm, or what the beep, or what in the world is going on.

Regarding my most recent change of habits of eating and exercise, I went hmmmm since after a summer vacation of great food and lots of walking, I had lost 5 pounds.  I was thrilled at that and realized that yes, I can do this.  I just have to put in the time and effort.

So, now after dropping off Ian at school in the morning, I am taking some me time and walking a few times around my neighborhood.  I am trying to work up to longer walks and more time on that and possibly some breathing exercises and core work.  It feels good since it is still cool in the morning and a nice time to also think.

My eating habits have also changed somewhat for the better I think.  I am making a point to have salad every day — usually at lunch. Also, I am eating more seafood and plenty of veggies at night. I still like my ice cream and other treats, but do try to have more balance.

So that part of life is improving and that is great.  As much as I enjoyed the PTO work that I did, I wasn’t left with much time after also doing family business work.  So, this year at least, I will help some with PTO but will balance that with other things.  And, that is what was needed since I was nearly burned out at the end of last school year.

One of the things that has burned me out is the concern with so much hate, division, and meanness in our country and especially on a national level.  Our leaders no longer want to seem to find ways to work together or make compromises.  Instead they call one another childish names, are mean and hateful to each other, and dismiss those who don’t agree with them.

As a parent of a child, that truly troubles and worries me. How can I teach our son to admire and follow the example of so many adults who don’t know how to act or treat each other?  Instead we often tell him, see that adult, that is how not to act.  Please be better than that adult and treat others with kindness, respect, and love.

Many times the way adults are acting is what you might hear on a school playground where kids goad and tease each other.  “I know you are but what am I.”  “You are a poopy head.”  “You are a butthead.”  And the list goes on.

In fact, this week one of the congressman called a man a butthead.  Never did I think I’d hear that from an elected official about another person who he clearly didn’t agree with.  He was talking about John Brennan whose security clearance was revoked by President Trump.  I think the congressman’s point could have been made differently, but that is what he said.

Brennan apparently didn’t release any classified material as you would think would have happened.  Instead, he has been very outspoken and negative about Mr. Trump.  Maybe he has gone a bit too far but he is entitled to speak his mind and what he thinks.  Perhaps there is more to the story that I am not aware of.  If so, I’d like to know what it is.

I know a lot of people probably disagree with me, but I had to say what the beep about this since it doesn’t seem like something that should have happened in a democracy with our freedom to say and believe what we want.  Do we want to live in a country where the president tells us what to think, who to listen to, what to say, and how to say it?  And to never question him and perhaps eventually her?

I don’t.  I can’t help but wonder if other people do want that. So many people seem to be going along with this or just don’t see it.  The First Amendment is as important to me as the Second Amendment is to some of my friends and family.  Let’s think about what we say, have some facts to back up our arguments and present them without slamming others.  Am I naïve to think we should be able to do that?

I went to journalism school and studied hard.  I learned the difference between fact and opinion for my articles. I worked as a reporter for several years and loved it.  I know the importance of the free press, the importance of asking the tough questions, and reporting on things that matter.  I covered the things that people need to know about — county commission meetings, the work being done by the fire department and police department, the school board meetings where decisions are made that are hard, and so much more.

I will work to defend it.  I just hope I am not alone in that defense.  Along with this, the notion that the media are enemies of the people just makes me so mad and sad since it is not true. Journalists by and large work their jobs and report things for the general public to know about. They also ask tough questions that many subjects don’t like to answer.

This week, approximately 350 newspapers across the country spoke out against that notion of being enemies of the people. They instead are standing up for freedom of speech and freedom of the press. My hometown newspaper was a part of this and I was so happy to hear that.

On a completely different topic, another thing that made me go hmmm this week was our son’s request to start calling me Mum.  He has called me Mommy, Mom, and now after reading the Harry Potter books decided he likes Mum.  “That is fine with me,” I told him.  “Just please don’t call me Mother.  I don’t like that” and he said okay.

What things make you go hmmm?  I have many more and will address them in other blogs.  This is it for now.  Back to the music that always seems to help.  How about a few by Janet Jackson from the 1980s/1990s — “Rhythm Nation,” “Control,” “When I Think of You,” and “Escapade.”

It’s a flashback weekend for me with all of this great music.  With all of the crazy things in the world, it is nice to hear some music that I grew up with.  Blessings to you and yours on the rest of your weekend! (clip art is from PowerPoint.)

Treason or Free Speech?

Hi and Happy Tuesday!  I become inspired to write about all kinds of quotes and things that I hear on the news, on television, in movies, or songs on the radio or items that I read about.  Today I am writing about a comment that our current President made during an event this week.  What are your thoughts?  Are you as amazed as I was?  And is it really treason?

Treason is defined in Merriam-Webster as “the offense of attempting by overt acts to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance or to kill or personally injure the sovereign or the sovereign’s family.”

It is not people not clapping or not standing during a speech. Perhaps it could be called disrespectful or rude, but it is not treasonous. Instead those actions are disagreement with a leader and a right of each citizen. I for one was shocked that our current President would say that about elected congressional officials who didn’t agree with his view on things.

It is also not un-American as he also said. In fact, because of the First Amendment, it is as American as you can be. Our country’s founders knew the importance of each citizen having the right and protection to say and believe as they see fit. They also felt that importance for the free press and for our freedom of religion. (Photos are from Power Point clip art.)

What I don’t understand is why more people aren’t up in arms that this is trying to be taken away. There are people who are trying to make it seem like a bad thing with comments of being treasonous, enemies of the people, or the fake media. And I for one am sick and tired of it.

As I have written before, the First Amendment is one of the hardest to honor since it means I have to respect a person who believes 180 degrees differently than I do. But it was written to protect each of us and how we live our life. I was a journalism major and learned to love this amendment and learned to know it must be upheld.

That is not to say that there aren’t problems with the media and biases. I know that. They are biases and slants and mistakes along the entire political spectrum. We just have to wade through them and listen to a variety of points of view. To call something fake just because you don’t agree with it or don’t like it is not right. And frankly needs to stop. Or be called for what it is.

Did you know that members of Congress didn’t clap or stand during the previous President’s state of the union either? It’s true. I watched the clip on the news. In fact, clips of both Presidents were played and looked the same – just with different people sitting down. The opposition was disagreeing with the leader as they had every right to do.

So my question is, why was it okay before but isn’t now? What has changed to make this the case? And, if we truly believe that, what is the justification?  Why one side but not both? Is that fair?  I don’t understand and am trying to understand. Does anyone have any ideas or theories on that?

Governing our country is messy, is hard, and is full of contradictory opinions. It is not a place where you can tell everyone how to think, how to respect you, and what to do when you are speaking. It just doesn’t work that way and it never has.

Our founding fathers had many disagreements and arguments, but made compromises to start this amazing country and provide us with the freedoms that we hold so dear. Then during President Reagan’s term, the Congress and House Speaker Tip O’Neill strongly disagreed with him and made those feelings known. Both sides argued a lot and disagreed but still managed to find ways to work together for the good of the entire country.

What did they know that we no longer know? Have we become so divided that we can no longer see or believe that the other side has merit, has some good ideas, and  value? Is it truly all one party’s fault who is currently in the minority? The majority party has no part of it? I just don’t get it. Both sides have to find a way to work together if things are ever going to improve.

I want us to argue for what we are in favor of without tearing those down who don’t agree with us. I want us to stop calling our opposition enemies of the people, or stupid, or other derogatory terms. I want us to be examples for our children that we can have healthy debates and disagreements without venom or hate seeping into our thoughts and words.

At my son’s school, they are learning about the three branches of government, the Amendments to the Constitution, and what they think is most important. The branches are separate and equal, neither one has more power over the other, and all serve vitally important parts of our country’s success or failure.

The students were asked which is the most important amendment to them. Our son said the First Amendment. In his answer, he explained that in some countries, if you spoke out against the President, you would be arrested. In America, if you speak out, that won’t happen.

This 10-year-old understands that more than some adults.  He is learning respect but that he doesn’t have to agree with someone just because they give an opinion on something. He is learning to find his way and what he believes with our guidance and support.

My husband and I are teaching our son to listen, to discern, to ask questions, and to try to determine what is a fact and what is an opinion. He and his classmates have been learning about that as well. And, they have been writing opinion pieces to learn how to present their argument.

Facts do exist and were a part of articles that I wrote as a reporter. We would include the who, what, when, where, and why. Sometimes we also included how, but these articles were clearly different than the opinion pieces or editorials.  Today there is a blurring of that.  I only hope that we can do research to determine which is which.

What are your thoughts on this topic?  Does it matter to you?  It certainly does to me, as you can tell from writings such as this. I will continue to stand up for what I feel is important and what I believe in.  And I will do it with respect for others who I disagree with. I hope that you will as well.

On Freedoms and Our New President

governmentSince the new president was sworn in, I have been told to get over my opinion.  In addition, I have read postings screaming at people for not respecting him, fussing for not supporting all that he says and does, told to not hate on him, and to give him a chance.

Okay, I get that and I understand where these people are coming from. On the other hand, I was taken aback at being talked to this way and reading these postings.  I am a calm and normally quiet person.  I don’t like being talked to like a child by people who aren’t my elders or my parents or other family member.  I also don’t like being told how to think and what to believe and I never have.

I do not hate our new president.  Instead, I pray for him and all of our leaders.  I pray that they will discern what is best for all of our citizens and be respectful of all of us.  I also pray they will lead us with integrity and values of all Americans, not just those who elected them.  And I question him, what he says, and what he does, as I always have with our leaders.

Disagreeing with our leadership is not being disrespectful or hateful.  It is exercising our rights as citizens of this great country of ours.  During President Obama’s eight years, he was regularly mocked, told he was a liar, had his citizenship and religion questioned for years, and people criticized him every day.  So, why is it suddenly wrong to question and disagree with President Trump?  I don’t understand.

I am not saying that I agreed with all that Obama did, but overall I liked him.  I questioned some things but thought he was fair and took all citizens into account.  I want our new president to be a great president and do the best for our country.  I want him to work with other countries to maintain peace and still protect us.  It doesn’t have to be one or the other, in my opinion.

I wonder if he understands how the United State Government works or if he cares. I only mention this because of what has transpired over the past few weeks – not to be hateful or disrespectful.  There are three branches of government with equal but separate powers.  Our founding fathers set up the government to prevent the consolidation of power to one person functioning as a king or emperor.  (Note: This image is from Power Point clip art.)

This is not his company anymore where he can fire any person at will.  This is the United States of America with an array of amazing and very different people.  This is not a reality show but real life.  And, real life is messy and full of problems, arguments, free wills, disagreements, as well as love and respect and finding a way to work together for the betterment of our friends, our family, and strangers.

I want Mr. Trump to stop bashing those who disagree with him.  I want him to tell the truth.  I want him to not insult other world leaders but instead find ways to work with them.  I want him to know that he cannot always get his way but can compromise to come to something that is best for our nation and our citizens.

Too many people now believe that compromising is to be avoided at all costs.  Instead, it could be the way we can work together again.  It worked when Reagan was President and I think that it could again, if our leaders are willing.

I want him to stop saying one thing one week and then the total opposite two weeks later and trying to blame others or the media for what was directly quoted.  I want him to realize that his words have weight and should be thought through.  I want him to listen to and consider views other than his own.  I want him to realize he isn’t the only one in the room with a good idea and something to contribute.

I want him to respect others if he demands and expects respect.  Respect has to go both ways.  It is time to stop focusing on crowd sizes, polls, and numbers and get to the business at hand for ALL citizens.  Just because a poll or news report doesn’t agree or say what you want, it doesn’t mean it is a lie or false journalism.  Different opinions show that people use their own brains to decide what they think and what they believe.  It is the First Amendment at work.

Let’s face it, that amendment is hard to live with but needs to be protected, upheld, and if needed, studied.  As much as we have a right to speak our mind, so do others who we totally disagree with.  I as a Christian have as much right as those of any and all other faiths.  And you know what else?  Even though I may not agree with them or them with me, they deserve my respect if I want it in return.

Also, the media has the right and duty to report the news, ask questions, investigate, and not be the mouthpiece for the government.  This is a democracy with a free media and that must stand.  In countries where the press is controlled by the government, there is usually much less freedom for the people.

We are not children to be scolded and told what to do.  I am tired of this trend as well.  I am a grown woman, married with one child.  I am a high school graduate, a college graduate, a former journalist, and now writer and editor.  I am a moderate independent who has voted for both Republicans and Democrats.

I am an American who loves our country and our freedoms.  I am an American who has a voice and a vote.  I want the best for our country and am sure that we all do.  I hope and pray that we can come together to do just that.