the privilege and the responsibility of the act of empathy

…there was one performances this year that stunned me; it sank its hooks in my heart, not because it was good. There was nothing good about it. But it was effective and it did its job—it made its intended audience laugh and show their teeth.

It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter—someone he outranked in privilege, power, and the capacity to fight back. It kind of broke my heart when I saw it, and I still can’t get it out of my head because it wasn’t in a movie; it was real life. And this instinct to humiliate, when it’s modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, filters down into everybody’s life, because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing.

Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose. …

Just in case you missed it, I just had to share with you part of Meryl Streep’s speech as she accepted the Cecile B DeMille award. Yes, I know, awards shows are so much more enjoyable without that political crap…not that awards shows have EVER gotten political about things like abortion, the environment, dolphins, the financial crisis, foreign affairs, wars, immigration, LBGT rights, Presidential campaigns, treatment of Native Americans, race, the AIDS crisis…This is nothing new; and as long as we can enjoy our First Amendment Right, I imagine that it will likely continue as long as there is a value or belief or platform to support or protest. People can get pissy when a woman on stage expresses such thoughts saying that she has no right to talk about politics, but she wasn’t talking politics. What Ms Streep was talking about was common decency and respect. Because when the person about to take the position of respected power in our country continues to act like a bully mocking those who oppose him, it does filter down into everybody’s life where people imagine they have permission to do the same thing.

My kid told me pretty much that recently when he expressed how mad he is still over the Presidential election outcome. Some might say he’s just a kid and really shouldn’t have an opinion. But he does. He should. He will be able to vote in the next Presidential election and he plans on voting to get rid of the bully. Perhaps he doesn’t have the words or the physical strength to fight against those who mock people like him but he does understand that he does have the privilege and responsibility to show respect and kindness…even when they are standing right beside him mocking him as he receives an award for respect and kindness. Mom is glaring murdering daggers at those middle school-aged boys until he makes eye contact chiding, Mom, don’t, because in the end, kindness and respect wins…and it will always, as long as we are brave enough to remind each other of our privilege and responsibility.

2017, hope, and the next generation

There is something troubling to hear in the news of the sudden, but peaceful death of a pop music icon of your own generation when he is around the same age as you…because he died peacefully can be a little bit disconcerting especially when the news reports add that George Michael was only 53. Sorry, but only 53 conjures up the assumption that most 50-something people are NOT facing very soon the inevitable end of their lives because only 53 suggests that there might be a few more years left to live.

Meanwhile…

WTF 2016?!!

I’m not the only one who has been saying that literally all year long. Just hurry up and end already! Please!

Perhaps that is why the AP is feeling like their New Year’s poll of 1,007 people surveyed online accurately portrays the tone of Americans right now. Optimistic as we face 2017? We have a president-elect gas-lighting nations, Congress, media, Saturday Night Live and corporations alike on Twitter; and when he actually tries to act presidential reaching out to include all Americans, his Trumpers freak out.

Sorry, imagining the potential with this kind of, er, leadership, I’m just not feeling all warm and fuzzy about the near future. I’m trying. Really, I am trying. But I just can’t. I just can’t even. I, and a number of other people I know (regardless of our politics), seem to be thinking more in line with what Michele Obama said recently.

We feel the difference now. See, now, we are feeling what not having hope feels like. Hope is necessary. It’s a necessary concept and Barack didn’t just talk about hope because he thought it was just a nice slogan to get votes. He and I and so many believe that — what else do you have if you don’t have hope. What do you give your kids if you can’t give them hope?

It’s true. What can I offer my young adult children, my teenaged son, my grand daughters if I can’t even begin to feel hopeful about the next four years…dear god please not eight years!!! It’s hard to imagine America while not having a grownup in the White House. Nailed it, Michele!

But thank you, Mr. President. Thanks Obama as you remind us of that generation right behind us, and I believe each successive generation, as long as we’re doing our job of being good models for it, they’re going to move this country forward in a better direction.

There is hope. Hope is right here. I’m willing to wait for it.

a safe and special place

In the news this weekend, Vice President-elect Mike Pence managed to score tickets to Hamilton and, SURPRISE, the audience reacted with a mixture of applause and boos as he entered the theater. The cast of Hamilton proved to be some pretty classy people with this message to Mr. Pence as he was leaving.

Of course, surprise, surprise, our President-elect took to Twitter demanding apologies for the harassment of his man because the theater must always be a safe and special place much like a movie theater, a shopping mall, a college campus, a workplace, a grocery store, an elementary school…and even a park, a park and playground where children should be able to play…to play in a safe and special place.

All Americans certainly do deserve the right to enjoy feeling safe in special places. Places where we can bring our children and grandchildren.

And a theater? Well. Surrounded by a Secret Service detail, Mr. Pence was undoubtedly very safe, as were the rest of the people in the Richard Rogers Theater last night as they enjoyed the show. But safe theater is essentially dead theater. A show about American Revolution history, idealistic men and women, immigrants and politics…messy, messy politics that sometimes happens in backrooms where the sausage gets made. Pence, I imagine, was provoked not only by the audience reaction to his entering the room where it happened, but also by the play itself and what was a very respectful statement from the cast thanking him for his attendance. Some argue that any whisper of politics did not belong at the end of a musical about American history and politics in their statement during the curtain call asking him to remember that “We, sir — we — are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights. We truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us.”

Harassment?

Hardly. Not when one is a public figure and duly elected to represent the interests of ALL the people, not just those with Trump written on their Starbucks cups who promise to boycott a popular musical with a months-long wait list to buy tickets. The noise Mr. Trump and his Trumpeters might post all over social media might distract us briefly from things like the emoluments clause of The Constitution or that Mr. Trump settled his Trump University fraud case against him, but only briefly.

Get used to it, Mr. Trump, Mr. Pence and your surrogates. As long as the First Amendment is there people will speak and sometimes speak very loudly because, thankfully, our Founding Fathers put such rights into place for us ALL to enjoy in our safe and special places.

Meanwhile, the kids will take back their own special, safe places because, in the end, love trumps hate.

j

I think everybody has the ability to affect change…through our every thought our every word, the way that we interact with other people. We are constantly affecting the world.

Adam Yauch

October five faves

October is the fallen leaf, but it is also the wider horizon more clearly seen. It is the distant hills, once more in sight., and the enduring constellations above them once again.

~ Henry Rollins

And October, you kind of seemed to take a very long time. All is forgiven though because all in all, October you were mostly good.

Check meowt! It means “check me out”, Mima!

That moment when you can see, feel, smell and taste that your darling husband loves you and wants you to be happy.

After work nights like last night, I am reminded how lucky I am to be a part of the best NICU team because I get to work with some pretty talented, kick-ass NICU rock stars. But this (and so many other candid shots) reminds me of the joie de vivre  they all possess and share so freely with the ones they love, the ones they care for and the ones they work with. Blessed, y’all! We are blessed!

She bought herself flowers for no darned good reason – except they were beautiful and she deserved more beauty in her life.” As we all do, y’all.

November, bring all of that more beauty!