A democracy can never succeed unless each individual takes responsibility for his nation, its policies and the representatives he elects.

-Eleanor Roosevelt
May 26, 1943

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So my plea is that those who have the gift of words, use them in these days to give the people hope by which to live and dream, for without the vision we shall perish.

I have deep admiration for Eleanor Roosevelt, the First Lady of the United States during one of our country’s most challenging times. She had bold, and you might even say modern, opinions about political, social, and racial issues. She was articulate, thoughtful, outspoken, and worked tirelessly for the causes she believed in.

In so many ways she was a woman well ahead of her time.

We could benefit from her voice today. And so I think that I will post regular quotes from Eleanor Roosevelt, starting with this one, which I believe is quite appropriate for those of us who read and write blogs:

“So my plea is that those who have the gift of words, use them in these days to give the people hope by which to live and dream, for without the vision we shall perish.”
From her nationally syndicated “My Day” newspaper column, July 23, 1943.

Our Defeats Will Steel Our Resolve

I just realized something:

All of the “defeats” that we have been subjected to over the last two years, that have left us so deflated and demoralized, are not defeats at all. They are signposts along the way to our better future. They are there to energize us, and more than that, to test our resolve:

Do we really believe in our cause? Or is it just so many empty words?

Are we whiners who expect that everything will go our way, and when it does not we throw up our hands in defeat? Or are we willing to get our hands dirty and do the hard work necessary to create the future that we believe in?

Do we wallow in defeat and demoralization while everything wastes away at the hands of a small group of people who will walk all over our rights and our dignity and take it away from us? Or do we fight back?

Do we really believe in the promise of our country? That all of us are created equal. That hard work will be rewarded fairly. That we can leave a better world for our children. That ours is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Because right now — at this moment — we are engaged in the great test of our generation: can the promise of this country endure?

We have been sitting here pining for someone to step up, waiting for someone to emerge and show us the way. We have been desperate for a leader so we can follow them to the promised land. But we don’t need a leader to follow: we already know the way. We can join hands and walk there together.

There is a great task ahead of us. And we will take increased devotion to our cause from the defeats we have suffered. But we will not be demoralized. We will not be defeated. We will not let others steal our hope. We will not watch our country crumble. We will steel ourselves for the fight ahead. And we will succeed.

Our future is one month away. Let’s go.

Have a Little Pity For Senator Manchin

A lot of people are really mad at Senator Joe Manchin right now. Today he voted to confirm very controversial, very conservative nominee Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. The final vote was 50 to 48, with Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski voting “present” (meaning she didn’t vote either yes or no) and Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia being the only Democrat to vote yes.

Liberals are branding him a traitor, calling him spineless, labeling him a self-serving coward, and threatening to back his Republican opponent in November.

But have a little pity for poor Joe Manchin. It’s not easy being blue (in a red state). Continue reading “Have a Little Pity For Senator Manchin”

Did you know that it wasn’t illegal to rape your wife in the United States until 1979? In fact, it didn’t become illegal in all 50 states until 1993.

What does that tell you about the value of women in this country?

Kavanaugh Situation is the Teachable Moment We’ve Been Waiting For

Are you one of the people who says kids today need to learn that their actions have consequences? That parents today need to stop bending over backwards to protect their children from the consequences of their behavior? Do you complain about the parent who calls their kid’s teacher to explain why Justin didn’t finish his book report, or tell stories about that mom who showed up at school with Emily’s warm coat that she accidentally left at home?

Or are you one of the people now saying that Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s behavior shouldn’t matter: “It was a long time ago. It was high school. It’s not relevant.”

Because you don’t get to have it both ways.

Leave aside Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations about what happened the night of that party 30-odd years ago. That’s a different topic. But enough people who knew Kavanaugh at Georgetown Prep and at Yale have now come forward to say that he was a frequent heavy drinker and a partier. He was a member of DKE, a fraternity at Yale that was notorious for heavy drinking and misogynistic behavior. Former roommates, friends, and acquaintances have described him as belligerent and mean when drunk, have said that he was “frequently unusually drunk,” and have described other behavior that anyone who is familiar with the heavy drinking that goes on at high schools and college campuses easily recognizes.

And yes, it was a long time ago, but that behavior has consequences. Still. Now.

Responsible parents struggle to teach their teenagers to be careful: to use discretion and sense and to think before they act. Modern parents have also had to add the caution about being responsible about what their kids post and tweet. Be careful. Because your behavior could come back and haunt you.

The big threat is always that a potential employer might learn about your indiscretions and decide that you aren’t the kind of person they want working for them. Yes, employers can, do and should look back at your behavior and decide what it says about your character. Even when the employer is the Supreme Court of the United States of America.

This moment right here is the moment that parents need to point to to remind our kids that their actions have repercussions. If we excuse this behavior because it happened a long time ago we’re no better than the helicopter and lawnmower parents that we criticize. We need to let the chips fall where they may.

And that’s true no matter how you feel about the political ramifications of the nomination, regardless of whether you support the current administration or not.

This is where the rubber meats the road, folks. This is where everyone who ever criticized an overly-involved parent or said that Millennials or Gen Y or kids today need to learn that life is hard should now be saying “Sorry, Brett. You’re not hired.”

An Old Friend’s Very Revealing Statement

Even the people that you think are your allies often turn out to be as much a part of the problem as the people who show it overtly by their words, deeds, or their votes.

Today I was confronted by a statement from a man that I have known and respected for more than three decades. With his statement, he showed that he, too, blames the victims and completely fails to understand the real problem. Continue reading “An Old Friend’s Very Revealing Statement”

If the facts are against you, pound the law. If the law is against you, pound the facts. If the law and the facts are against you, pound the table and yell like hell.

– Old Legal Adage

Kavanaugh Situation Says a Lot About White Male Privilege

It’s no secret that white male privilege, specifically UPPER CLASS white male privilege, is so ingrained in our society that usually most of us don’t recognize it. That’s sort of the definition of privilege I guess. But other times it’s so apparent that it slaps us right across the face. That was the feeling I had today while I was listening Continue reading “Kavanaugh Situation Says a Lot About White Male Privilege”

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