How to Truly Make America Great Again


Many people are calling for us to give Trump a chance; to not condemn him for what he said on the campaign trail, and for what he’s done since he won the election:  for the Twitter rants and for the nominations he’s made, appointing people who seem both unqualified for the office assigned, and who in many cases have long espoused views in direct contradiction to the roles of the departments they have been proposed to head.

But I, and many others, cannot overlook either his words or his actions. For so many of us it is not about politics, as some have suggested; it is about what his administration brings to our country. The misogyny, the racism, the discrimination of immigrants (Muslims and others), anti-semitic views, and the general bigotry he prescribes to. We are one country, but if we descend into hating people we go against the very principles that our Founding Fathers crafted in our great constitution.

If we don’t take a stand to protect others in our country, we will lose the fundamental precepts that we were founded upon. That is why many of us are resisting Trump, his views and words go against all we believe in. To care about others and to act on that care is vital to what our democracy stands for and what the Founding Fathers dreamed of.

In reality, hate crimes have gone up since the election, synagogues are being threatened,the poor are being disparaged, the disabled are being mocked, immigrants are being threatened (the country was founded by Europeans and they killed the indigenous people which makes us great hypocrites). Immigrants are the richness that has fed America through the centuries. They brought to America their skills, dreams and hard work and are part of the reason America is great.

Yes, I realize that this isn’t what Trump says, but based upon my beliefs and others, America is still great. America gives everyone the ability to dream and work hard and move up in our society. America, because of the influence of many immigrants, is still the place that you can work to make yourself rise above where you were born in the social structure of your country of their birth. America is also the country where others care about your education, health, losses, accomplishments and ability to work for yourself and your family, The desire for our children to become more than what we are is paramount to the American dream.

America is not perfect. Hatred is a great deal of the reason why. For instance, because the Founding Fathers could not come to any type of a decision on slavery, they postponed that decision until a future generation would be able to come to a moral and ethical solution. We ended up freeing the slaves during the Civil War. Has America provided minorities equality and the same opportunities that white people have? No. The racism that stumped The Founding Fathers and that crippled the South for many years is still a problem.

As Americans, we must look at the bigotry, racism, and sexism that dwells within our hearts and souls. We need to be honest with ourselves, face it head on, and overcome the desire to blame others for what is not right in our lives. Black people, Jews, and women are not the reason you find your life lacking. They are not the reason you lost your job or don’t have health insurance, or don’t have the family you always dreamed of. But other caring Americans can help and give you support. Often, others can and would advise you, give you a hand, or just assist in ways you can determine.

America has never been perfect but we have continued to try. We haven’t tried hard enough and there are people whose lives can testify to that. Education, hard work and being honest with ourselves will take us to what we desire. By being responsible for all of our actions we negate the habit to blame others for our losses and disappointments.

America must realize that while we are great, we each need to love our fellow citizens despite their religion, color, gender, education level, and socio-economic place in our society. Only then we can rise together to fulfill our dreams and to make America the best it can possibly be.

 

america_3vbh0jh

Meaning in not an Empty Word


Often creative people throw up their hands in despair of finding meaning in our postmodern world. But the find they can not give up on meaning. The word, and the illusory nature of meaning can not be ignored. It is not an empty word. It has a vibration of its own.

 

As meaning means something, an authentic life is possible. At the last instant, creative people return with a vengeance to the belief that a meaningful life can be led and that they are obliged to choose that way.

 

In our hearts, we opt for life. As Schubert-Soldern aphoristically put it, “To understand life, we must contrast it with death.” We force life to mean while we live, to have an authenticity. While I live, I can love, I can continue to learn things, I can help in some way, and I can create.

 

creative 3

 

Opting to matter does not answer every meaning question, nor will it compete your depression treatment therapy. It can not make a boring meeting more interesting or a mistake in a novel an interesting mistake.

 

A painter standing in front of a blank white canvas, an actor facing a mass audition, a singer performing a new composition for the first time wonder if all their efforts matter. Yes, they do. If they touch the soul of one person in a positive manner, they touch the world. This is important to remember for the gray days. This means that every day, sunny and inspired or grey and melancholy,we have a responsibility to live with meaning. You chose to be creative, an artist. Therefore, you have the responsibility to make your life matter. And be aware that each of them does.

 

 

bjwordpressdivider

 

 

 

Hate the rules

Hate the rules

 

Thinking out of the box

Thinking out of the box

State of DisUnion (Guest Rant)


Hi, all.  This is The Sister, stealing the keyboard for an evening, as the United States faces another State of the Union Address.

You may watch the Address, you may not, but I think, without having seen anything about the content, I can sum the entire thing up thusly:

“Hey, Republicans!  We’re moving the country forward.  Either help me, or get out of the way.”

Because, here’s the thing, all the right-wingers, conservatives, Republicans, Tea Partiers — everyone who has been working against the President for the last six years:

Nobody is asking you to agree with the man.

Nobody is expecting you to cow-tow to him.

Nobody expects you to give up your principles, your ethics, your beliefs.

But…

NO is not a viable governmental policy.

Nobody is asking you to agree with the man.  Everyone is asking you to work with him.

Nobody is expecting you to cow-tow to him.  Everyone expects you to have the common decency to respect him as a person, and to respect the office to which he was elected.  Twice.

Nobody expects you to give up your principles, your ethics, your beliefs.  Everyone expects you to be willing to compromise.

You don’t like the policies proposed?  Fine.  Propose something else.  Don’t just keep saying NO, with no alternatives given.

You don’t like the Executive Orders?  Fine.  Take some action as the elected body you are – POSITIVE action, not just repeating the tired phrase “NO, Obama, No,” like he’s a puppy on the furniture.

Like it or not, this IS your President.  You are his Congress.

WORK TOGETHER, or expect us to vote you the out at the first opportunity.

Flag unfurled by vets

Flag unfurled by vets

bjwordpressdivider

Hello, everyone.  This is Barbara.  I took the keyboard back, and there’s something I would like to add to my Sister’s Rant.

I agree with what my Sister said, however I feel that she didn’t go quite far enough.

We are in the 21st Century.  The American people have elected Barak Obama, twice, to be our President, because he is a progressive liberal.  This said, I do not think that everything he has said or done is correct.  I think he missed the target a few times.  I know that has upset some liberal progressives.  But, being a part of Congress, whichever house you may be in, gives you a responsibility; a responsibility to your constituents, and a responsibility to be part of what makes America work better.

You cannot just say, “well, we’re Republicans, or Conservatives, or Tea Partiers, and we just won’t cooperate.  We will not do what Obama wants.”  That behavior is juvenile, and reminds me of children playing in a backyard, when one child gets angry and picks up his toys and goes home, vowing never to play again.

I challenge — nay, I dare — Congress to put politics aside and to think about their constituents who are middle class or poor, not just the rich.  Poverty is the largest problem we have.  1% of the population has all the money.  Yes, they’ve earned it.  But have they earned it ethically and morally? Is giving them shortcuts and loopholes to pay less taxes fair?  I think not.

I think that if a woman has to decide whether to pay taxes or feed her children, this is not what the founding fathers had in mind when they designed our form of democracy.

I think that we need to remember, or we need to find out, what the founding fathers had in mind.  If you don’t know, I challenge you to look it up, to read it, to get into their minds.

Thursday, January 25th, on the History Channel, a three-night mini series begins, called the Sons of Liberty.  It is about the founding fathers, and the passion and the politics of an English colony trying to decide if they wanted freedom or not.

At that time, in America, freedom was very controversial, and there were many people who did not want freedom from Mother England.  The controversies and arguments were plentiful, back in those days.  The desire for a better life, a life of equality and freedom was a strong inspiration to the progressive Colonists at that time.

Equality – that’s another problem. That was the one thing they could not come to an agreement about.  They felt that, after the country had stood on its own, as a nation, following generations would be able to figure out a plan which would satisfy everyone.  This was the only place they were mistaken, and because politics was allowed to dominate this discussion of the ownership of human beings, Four Score and Seven years later, we had a Civil War which nearly tore our country permanently asunder.

To be truthful, we still don’t have it right.  We still have racism in America.  We still have people who are treated differently because of their color, and because of other factors, but color is still the largest divider.  The irony, to me, is that there is less racism in Mother England than there is here.

A nation looking out for the lives of all its citizens, rich or poor, is a responsibility.  Many nations in the world today are walking away from their responsibilities to their citizens.

America, the Brave and Beautiful, must not walk away from her citizens.

Visual Trip Across America


 

Why am I taking you on a visual trip of America? Because I want you to remember all we have here. This is our America.

These pictures are symbols of what we vote for. We vote because we have the right to vote and have since the Founding Fathers. We have the duty to each other and to America to speak up and let government officials know how we feel. We must  vote, or everyone that has died fighting for our country and way of life will have died in vain. Even if you are not happy with our present government and if you see racism and sexism and judgmentalism as black marks against us, go out and vote. Just go. Send your message, send your thoughts, send a message of what must change. Send a message that is representative of your voice. It is ELECTION DAY. Go to the polls and vote. It is not too much to ask.

Smokey Mountains

Smokey Mountains  Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2013

 

 

To Majestic Mountains

To Majestic Mountains  Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2012

 

home

My flowers in glorious bloom. Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2012

 

 

 

To your own home

To your own home  Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 1013

 

 

To country roads

To country roads  Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2013

 

 

To Texas butterflies. Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2007

To butterflies. Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2007

 

 

And lakes

To lakes  Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2011

 

 

From Oceans

And oceans and islands  Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2012

God’s Children Include Women


Women can not be equal without legally being equal.

Women can not be equal without legally being equal.

Our world is living within a horrible hangover. In most religious communities there is something leftover from the past. It is the subordination and subjugation of women. We are striving to live in a world very different from that of our ancestors. Now this has been a cultural earthquake. Many people from different cultures are grasping to hold on, to hold on to their version of the past.  They want the past to remain immovable.  There are people who are even coerced into sexism.

The Vatican has tried to do this with Catholic nuns. American Catholic bishops consult with women to try to make them not use contraceptions. Without adequate contraceptives the size of families becomes too large to give each child the education they need to be productive members of our world.

In Israel, some state-supported Orthodox people have used physical violence. Groups of Jewish women have been praying as a group, chanting and wearing prayer shawls at the Western Wall. Jewish traditions see the Wall as the refuge of Shechinah, the Feminine Indwelling Immanent aspect of God, after the destruction of the nearby Temple.

This war on women

This war on women

We are moving into a new world, given us by God. Women and men are learning the difficult practice of dancing in God’s earthquake. Men and women need to resist the subjugation of women. Women who have tried to pray at the Western Wall are being mishandled and forced to leave the Wall because it is holy and women have no right to pray there.

In other countries, women are still participating in genital mutilation. Female midwives with the cooperation of mothers, will perform a clitorectomy and cut out the clitoris. This makes sure the child will never enjoy sex when she grows up. In some countries, the vagina is sown up to prevent her from having sex with a different man while her husband is away on business. A girl who has not had this done will not be able to marry. No one will want her. These procedures are done without anesthesia or pain medication.  These procedures make child birth more dangerous. I don’t know about everyone else but this makes me want to throw up.

Women are equal and deserve to receive equal pay for equal work. They deserve equal recognition for their work. They also deserve promotions when their work equals that of a male co-worker.

Two thirds of females in the world are illiterate.

Two thirds of females in the world are illiterate.

The majority of women in the world are considered so insignificant that it is felt they are not worth educating. They stay at home while brothers go off to schools to learn to do math and to read. This is why Oprah’s schools for girls are so important. Knowing someone believes in them helps them to believe in themselves. They know, when they are grown up they will be able to get a job in a city and save money to help their families.

God did not make a mistake when he created Eve, if you accept the story. Eve was not a secondary creation.  I think that if there was a serpent and he talked Eve into eating the forbidden fruit, then she made a choice. Adam also made a choice. When she offered the apple to Adam, he could have said no. He was responsible for his choice not to say no. Eve was not at fault. Women don’t have to carry that guilt. There is also a legend in Judiasm that Lillith was created to be Adam’s partner and she lived with him in equality. Adam complained to God and he got Eve instead.

Whatever you believe, women are equal. All human beings are equal. Where inequality remains, we will squelch it and make sure everyone is equal. Teach your daughters to be confident in themselves and your sons to respect women.

Betty is a feminist to help women receive equality

Betty Freidan is a feminist and writer who worked to help women receive equality

Tying up Loose Ends


goodthinking

         Positive thinking and owning our actions

Well, here we are at the end of the year. As expected, we did not witness the end of the world. We are at the top of the fiscal cliff. We have survived another holiday season. I, for one, have enjoyed the time with family and with myself. Meditation to see where I stand at the end of this eventful year has brought me new insights.

I don’t believe in regrets. At every moment, I do the very best I can at that moment. Not all do, but that is their work if they choose to tackle the issue. I do believe in looking forward to issues that I want to change. Nothing ever stays stagnant. I realize some people don’t like change. It is not my favorite thing, however, it is a constant in every human life.

Change takes work, determination and courage. Deciding to change requires action; the first step. News media often takes a look back at the year. I like to do the same with the vision of hindsight. I can look at the small things and then pull back to see the big picture. Was I perfect, no. Were there times I could have made different choices, possibly. Would I do things the same way, I believe I would. Not that I did anything perfect. I didn’t, but I am today, who I am because of the love, time, kindness, prayer that I gave to others. Could I have done more? Yes. Will I change. Yeah! Why, because I believe we are on this journey because the Divine experiences life through us.

I believe in magic and harmony and peace. It is magic that I am here in this life, walking the path of my journey. The magic continues every morning I awaken and see the birds, the trees, my friends, and remember my annoyances. These are the items that make up each of our lives. The good, the bad, and the miraculous.

The magic in life

The magic in life

I realize that this past year wasn’t perfect for any of us, but we were blessed. How much depends upon your outlook really. An event could happen to me and I will find it awkward. The same event can happen to someone else and they will be thrilled. It is the way of our life.

We are also at a point in time where we can choose how to live with what has happened in the year. For me, I need only to look around me and if I missed blessings during the year, I am reminded of them now. If my heart wasn’t in the right place, and it isn’t always, I have to look that in the eye and own it. Often, we do not accept responsibility for our actions. We have to own them. Good or bad. We are responsible. So I suggest you take a few minutes and look inside. Own what is there and change what you don’t like to see. The year is ending but there is still time to tie up those loose ends. Then you won’t need to make New Year’s resolutions. You will have already begun the changes and will happily embrace what the New Year is bringing.

Year end inventory

Year end inventory