Category Archives: Voting

Guest Post: Sanity

Every day, we arise to news of calamity, death, anger, and threats. Every day is an unending torrent of bad news. How do you stay sane in such an environment? It isn’t easy, but I’d like to offer some ideas.

First, be thankful. For all the tragedy and outrage surrounding us, pay attention to the good stuff. While the Federal Government gets into a pissing war with a U.S. territory and threatens to abandon it, Google and Tesla are finding innovative ways to at least somewhat help out the human condition with solar power units and balloon based cellular relay points. Speaking of that, while we read of the repeal of vast numbers of environmental regulations and accords, solar and wind are now cheaper than coal, almost cheaper than gas, and within the next decade, market dynamics will give us a clean energy economy world wide. New innovations in science are making the world healthier, and we have discoveries every day which move us forward. There are a lot of people out there who don’t live for the almighty dollar as their god, and actually do care about others, this planet, all its species, and improving the world. There are still voices in the wilderness calling us to do right, be kind, and work hard for change.

Second, be grounded. It’s easy to get caught up in the maelstrom of a nation gone mad, where checks and balances break down. It is an emotional, guttural response to see people hurting, and know that while we have the capacity to prevent it, nothing gets done (or even worse, something gets done to make it worse). It’s also easy to feel outnumbered and powerless, and the toll of this stress is affecting everyone. I encourage you to remember and study history. We have been through worse as a country, and each time, we did eventually forge a new path forward. Change happens. You cannot re-bottle a Genie. When the tide of public opinion led to general consensus that LGBTQ people had full rights, it happened over a period of fifteen years, not in one night. That consensus remains. The insane voices on the right may be screeching about religious freedom, but even with a stacked court, the people will not accept a change back to “Make America Gay-hating Again”. As I said, study and know your history; it will show the road we’ve travelled and give you hints at the future.

Third, be statistical. When you feel like evil outnumbers good, and there is no hope, consider this: we have 200 million registered voters in our nation, but only 128 million voted, meaning the real winner on 2016 was apathy, the vast silent center, with 71 million missing votes. These are people who are “not into politics”, or think “it won’t make a difference” or say “I’m too busy”. I would suggest the awful debacle we’ve seen since January may awake some portion of these voters, to the chagrin of Republicans (high voter turnouts always lean center or left). From what I’ve seen, approval ratings for this administration are somewhere around 30 percent now. However, there is a difference between being a person who feels culturally compelled to support their political “faith”, and those who will actually go to the mat for a candidate. I do not know how gerrymandering, voter suppression by the Federal commission, or external influences will change the 2018 vote, but I can reasonably predict that 2018 will have more of the vast silent middle in the polling booths, and a downtrodden Trump base.

Finally, be hopeful. This is the hardest one. Not one of us is guaranteed to be here in 20 minutes, 20 days, or 20 years. That’s not, however, what it’s about. It’s about what you do during that time. You can be hopeful. You can state your case, stick to your morals, and take the hard road to bringing something good into the world. You can dream, and picture a better world, then work to make it happen. You don’t have to change the whole world; you can focus on one thing, take it as your mantra, and stay the course. It won’t be easy, evil will fight you every step of the way, but you won’t be alone. Others are on the same course, maybe not for the same reason, but these people will be part of your community, a community of good. From community springs hope, and that hope, along with our Constitution, will lead us to good again one fine day.

This post was brought to you courtesy of Hubs in case you were all wondering. And I fully concur with his points.

4 Points from a discontented Polly

I have so much to say. About so many things. Things that are important to me as a woman. Things that are important to me as an American. Things that are important to me as a thinking, feeling, hopeful, yet still discontented human on planet Earth.

My discontentment stems from a multitude of bad news. From our so called President, who according to me anyway,  only truly cares about the almighty dollar, to biblical level weather disasters like we are currently seeing the catastrophic, human effects of, to the news of people dying at far too young ages from cancer, as my Aunt Connie (the personification of the term social butterfly), who we lost this week at the age of 64.

I believe very strongly at this moment in time it behooves me, as it should behoove us all, to get real about what changes are needed to begin the uphill climb to a better reality for all of humankind.

It’s time for Polly to climb up on her soapbox. 

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Here I go!

Here are a few things that I believe in my heart and mind need to happen to give every one of us a brighter and healthier future:

We need to push for positive political change. Most importantly, I believe we need to change the electoral college system. We need our government to better represent all Americans.  And we need to greatly improve our voting system so it’s easier to vote and harder for our system to be attacked by foreign entities. And we need to do all we can to increase the number of Americans that vote. Maybe that’s through employers allowing people time off to get to the ballot boxes. Or increasing the numbers of locations where people can vote. But certainly it will involve having multitudes of volunteers in every state getting people registered to vote. I’m down for that, how about you?

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Climate change-it’s real. The vast majority of scientists are in agreement with this.  We have the responsibility for our children’s and grandchildren’s futures to address it head on, by investing in alternative energies,  such as solar and wind power. Coal is not the way to go. It’s the past, not the future. It seems to me that our government and private companies ought to be putting their heads together and collaborating on a plan to train workers in the field of alternative energies. To me, it’s a no-brainer.

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It simultaneously breaks my heart and angers me every time I hear a story of someone who has gone bankrupt because of medical bills. This simply should not be happening. Not in America, or any other country for that matter. “Go fund me pages” should not be the answer when someone has the misfortune of becoming sick. I for one am more than happy to pay higher taxes if it means cancer patients and their families, for example, can focus their energies, mentally and physically, on treatment instead of having to worry about losing their life savings and/or their homes. Along with my endorsement of “health care for all” (a single payer system), which seems to work pretty darn well in other countries, I think more of our tax revenue should be spent on medical research to actually cure diseases like Cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s (just to name a few). If America’s great scientific minds can figure out how to send a man to the moon, cure polio, and build artificial hearts, there is no reason to believe we can’t also find cures for devastatingly debilitating and deadly diseases such as these. I believe if the proper amount of funding was available for medical research, we could eradicate them all.

I firmly believe that more federal funding needs to be allocated for mental health services. There’s just been so much trauma inflicted on so many people due to war, natural disasters, violence due to terrorism and hate/ignorance in my lifetime. I think we as a country have dropped the ball on this. I can’t imagine there hasn’t been a huge increase in cases of PTSD, drug/alcohol addiction, anxiety and depression in the past several years due to all the social and political turmoil in our world, not to mention our engagement in wars that seem to have no end in sight. There’s a shortage of mental health professionals and that needs to end. Not only that, but the costs of mental health treatment I believe keep it out of reach for many. We need to have an abundance of trained, compassionate, professional mental health practitioners ready to meet this challenge. Perhaps the government and private entities can work together to create incentives for folks to pursue careers in the field of mental health? That would certainly be a good start in my opinion.

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There are certainly many more issues I believe we as Americans need to pay attention to and push our government officials to comprehend and find money to compassionately address. I could go on for days.