My son and I have always had long discussions about world events. I thought this was just another conversational starter. But it was more. My son is 22 years old. The bomber was 22 years old. The question really was how did this guy get so warped and how do we stop this?
Some of the answers I came up with are in my article for Politics Means Politics, Manchester Bombing: Trying to Answer the Tough Questions
This is not normal. Each day I look at my news alerts and I remind myself that it is not normal, it is historical and we are living in a time of great change and I have a responsibility to my future and the future of my children to be involved in where this change takes us.
At times it can be exhausting, frustrating, and depressing. But I find ways to stay energized. You can read my article In Search of the Spark: How will we lighten up these dark days, on Organizer Sandbox.
As soon as you label a person you have shut down your ability to understand them. You immediately believe you know everything about that person based on everything you know about the label you have assigned to them. Labels are a favorite tool of many politicians because they keep Americans from discussing and debating issues and policy. Instead, we play team politics and attack “the other.”
You can read more of my thoughts on this on my post, America is Being Killed by Labels
It was just a Kidney stone, caused by an infection, caused by an excess of sugar, caused by me trying to comfort myself, which all landed me in the hospital with Sepsis.
Read how I changed my outlook on life on my post, Don’t Worry, Be Happy – How I Plan to Survive these Turbulent Times, in Organizer Sandbox
It has been a rough election season. Whether or not you are pleased with the outcome there is still a lot more work to do. I have posted some of those thoughts over on Organizer Sandbox in an article titled “Why We Need You to Save Our Democracy.”
As a white woman living in the suburbs of ATL, my first thoughts when and if I get pulled over are what did I do and how do I get out of this.
For many people in this country, their first thought is will I survive this. Deaths during police stops are way too frequent and it corrodes the trust we need to have in our law enforcement. When the topic is discussed, often the focus is on racism. I am not saying that racism does not play a role on manoccasionsns, but I do believe the problem is much more complex and yet has simpler solutions than the problem of racism.
Read more on my post, How Can We Think Differently About Police Shootings
I have been working in digital marketing for over a decade. Changes in my industry happen so fast that I have to spend at least 30% of my time, each week, just to keep up. Some industries are not changing as fast but they are still changing faster than ever before in history. Technology is disrupting everything we ever thought we knew, and that includes our economic system.
Read my thoughts on 3 Reasons We Need a New Economic System
Ted Cruz wants to keep us safe by patrolling neighborhoods with a Muslim presence. My neighborhood is about 20% Muslim- I think. The thing is most Muslims are not wearing any sort of badge or acting in any different way for me to know they are Muslim. There are a number of Jewish, Hindu, and Buddhists in my neighborhood too. So, I guess the first step to the patrolling is either to have Muslims publicly identify that they are Muslim or to patrol many different neighborhoods like mine that are made of many different types of people. I am not comfortable with that.
And why would anyone want to do this? Oh – to keep us safe from those who want to kill us. There were over 3,000 mass shootings last year. 3 were by Muslims. Who is saving me from the others, mostly gun-wielding, self-proclaimed Christians? Should we be patrolling neighborhoods of people with gun owners?
This lack of understanding of what the ISIS and Terrorist crisis is and willingness to mark an entire group of people based on actions of a group is insane. We would never accept that for a group any of us belong to. Not all gun-owners are crazed killers. Not all pro-life people are planning to bomb or shoot up a clinic. Not all people with a mental health issue is planning on shooting up a Mall or Movie Theater. Why are we so willing to put all Muslims in a category.
Perhaps it is because most people only know Muslims via what they hear on the news or through the talking points of the Radical Right.
Here is a News Flash – the news only reports what sells and what sells is emotional content. The more emotional they can make the content, the more people will tune in and the more advertising the media outlet can sell. So they take an emotional story, like pretty white people being bombed by terroristic brown people, and they market the shit out of it. It has a theme, it is emotional, and it will keep you tuned in. Then the politicians come in and use those emotions to sway you to vote for them. Right now Cruz and Trump are trying to one-up each other on the extent they are willing to go to in order to keep Americans safe. But we are not safe. We are being killed – by other Americans, and not necessarily the brown ones. If there was really concern about safety – we would be talking a lot more about gun laws – not patrolling MY neighborhood because I live among the brown people.
This war with ISIS is not just a war of Muslims vs Christians. Within weeks of ISIS bombing Brussels, many Muslims were also killed in other countries of mostly brown people. The news did not report on that because that story does not sell. It would inform, but information is not the business of the news. Manipulating emotions is.
Before you let your emotions drive your beliefs and decisions and votes, try to understand who and what are making you feel the way you do and is there a vested interest for someone to manipulate your emotions. Look for other perspectives and other sources of information. It may not be the news media’s responsibility to make you an informed citizen of this planet – but it is yours.
I am not going to tell you which candidate to vote for. That is each person’s decision. But considering that many people have expressed that they are not thrilled with our choices this election, I am going to talk about my process and how I decide who to vote for.
First, you should vote. You have an opinion and you have a voice in the process and whether or not I agree with your opinion I do believe that your voice should be heard.
But who to vote for.
Don’t go by who you like as a person. The most evil people the world has ever seen have been the most charismatic people. You have to look beyond charisma. Also, you have to look beyond the words the people are saying because there is a big machine behind each candidate that helps each one learn exactly what their followers want to hear.
You have to try to understand the candidate’s motives and look at their record to decide who each candidate is. Once you do that you will see that none of the candidates are perfect and exactly in line with your thoughts and opinions.
So you have to decide which issues are most important to you and why and which candidates align with those issues. But the why is so important. I mean you really need to line up all the issues and prioritize them and understand the impact on your life. You may be against abortion, but does the abortion issue affect your personal life more than the economy? More than gun laws? More than your privacy rights? Are you willing to vote on an issue that impacts other people’s lives while ignoring issues that can destroy your own life?
Here is my biggest issue. I do not want the government telling people how to live their lives but I do want the government to protect the citizens from the greed of corporations. The greed that leads to poisoned drinking water or unethical business practices. I want laws that protect people from harming other people – and from what I understand, corporations are people too. But I do not want laws that tell individuals what they can and cannot do with their lives. I want a government that provides opportunity for all people. A government that is forward thinking and knows how to prepare us for the future. There is no perfect candidate for me, but there are candidates that are way off the mark. So I vote. I have been lucky enough to vote for a candidate that was aligned with my priorities and I have been and probably will be in a position to vote for the person the least far away from where I stand. But I vote.
Ok – I am not a complete Economics dummy. I did take Macro and Micro Economics in college and did quite well in both classes. But I don’t think anyone will be calling me to do an interview about the Economy anytime soon. Well maybe Fox News, because they do not really care about qualifications, but I mean anyone reputable.
I have done absolutely zero research on the economic situation of today. I have read a lot of articles that come through my Facebook newsfeed, and I have looked and observed people around me, and I have observed my own finances, and from those observations, I have some ideas…or musings.
Here is what I have seen over the years.
1. Technology, in particular, is in desperate need of skilled and innovative employees. Our school system to date has not caught on to that idea. This is why so many jobs are outsourced to countries that teach real programming skills early in high school and why Americans with such skills are doing well.
2. Technology has replaced a lot of jobs. Meanwhile, it has also shifted the savings of the money that would have gone to employees up to founders, shareholders, and executives, making the people at the top much more wealthy than the average employee. This is the imbalance we are seeing. It is because more money is being generated with fewer employees and the people at the top feel it should go to them, because they are the ones who invested in, leveraged, and innovated with technology. For me, this is a pretty strong argument.
3. There is still a middle class – and it is much wealthier than the middle class of 40 or 50 years ago, you may not recognize it. These are people in 4 and 5 bedroom houses that would have been considered a mini-mansion 50 years ago. Today it is a normal suburban house. Today they have 2 or 3 cars, whereas 50 years ago 1 car was enough. Today they have a TV in every room, where 50 years ago 1 TV put you in the middle class. Today they go on vacation, eat out, and have many, many technological devices. They send their kids to camps, after-school programs, and private schools. These are people in sales jobs, IT jobs, finance jobs…They are middle class – not even the upper middle class of doctors, lawyers, and executives.
4. We have a working class. They live in smaller, older houses (or rent – which some of the middle class chooses to rent too). They budget more carefully. They still send their kids to camps and after school programs but sometimes they get to qualify for discounted pricing. They eat out less, travel cheaper, but today’s working class looks more like the middle class of the 1960s.
5. We have poor people. We have always had poor people. They struggle to make rent and feed themselves even when they are working 2 or more jobs. They have little and what they do have is a hand me down, old, or bought on bad credit. These poor people look similar to the poor people of 50 years ago.
Here is what else we have.
We have more money in our economy. This means we could use that money to invest in helping people up – through an increase in minimum wage. Will that take money from the upper or middle class, the two classes that are wealthier than they have been in decades? Yes, it would. Is this a handout? Not really since minimum wage means you are working for your money. It also would allow the poor to become better contributors to our society, economically and socially.
We could take some of that extra money that is in the economy and invest in education. Maybe then we could get more people trained to take the jobs that have so many openings we have to search off shores to find the skill set.
We have more cheap technology. Maybe we can give the disadvantage more access to that technology in a way that they can self-educate and connect and lift themselves up.
But the big unfortunate thing we have is people with so much stuff that still want more and anything that might have a chance to “trickle down” is seen as an unwarranted hand out.
So in the end – only a few people who can be happy with what they have will be happy and the rest will either continue to struggle or continue to envy.
And so it goes…