Never forget: We all have a seat at this table

rustic-334080_1280In the days that followed the events of September 11, 2001, I saw something great and it is something that I will never forget.

I stood in line to give blood. It was something. You see, I was at that moment in time trying to figure out how I could help. What could I do? I figured I could give of myself, literally. So, I gave blood. And so did hundreds of thousands of others across the country in those days. It was something. It was a way to contribute. But it wasn’t the only way.

As a community, we came together. We put our political issues aside and we came together. As Americans. We were changed because of what happened. And in that change we found unity. And that was powerful. But, it was fleeting. Now, we argue in tweets. We can’t stand someone who has a different opinion. And there are headlines about how we’ve forgotten about terrorism. Has life changed that much since that crystal clear blue sky morning 17 years ago?

I imagine that if something as terrible were to happen today, we may act in much the same ways as we did then. And that is a good thing. Yet, why should we even need the terrible to bring the good? Why aren’t we united and working toward a compromise to achieve success? Why do we hate each other so much? Yes, we are all different. And yes, we all bring divergent experiences to the table. But that table, that is America. That is the place where we hash things out. Where we can discuss the merits of single-payer healthcare or an increase in money for infrastructure. That is the place where we can say that it was wrong that only white males could hold property and vote. That is the place where we can go to reevaluate what it means to be American and not suffer any adverse consequences because we are a nation built on freedom.

As Abraham Lincoln said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” That day, 17 years ago, I think the long tail mission of the terrorists was to divide our house and make it so we could no longer meet at the table of ideas, but that we only saw each other in terms of right and wrong.

I fear we are now, more than ever, a house divided. But I am certain that there a way forward. And I am certain that the foundation of that way forward can be built from the memories of those days after the Twin Towers went down when we came together as Americans; when we came together as a family.

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Disappointment

When my mom would say that she was disappointed in me as a kid, that hurt so much more than her getting mad at me. It made an impact. And I know it does now as the roles are reversed and I express the same feelings to my own children.

Yet, when faced with a similar situation in our adult lives between two adults who aren’t related, I wonder now if the words and feelings of expressed disappointment register with the same impact.

Disappointment to me is letting someone down in a big way. It means that you set a level of expectation and then absolutely fail in meeting said expectation. It means that you built up a certain level of trust with someone, and then do something to shatter that trust into a million pieces, never again to be repaired to the same level.

In today’s world, I am not so sure that this definition carries water. I think that an individual can be disappointed in someone else and that person, although alluding to the fact they understand and accept your feelings, will disregard them to achieve their own “justified” ends.

What do you think? Am I on track or way off base with this line of thinking? Let me know in the comments.

Time piece

The other day when I took my daughter for a checkup with the ophthalmologist, I noticed there were no wall clocks anywhere. It wasn’t a Vegas casino, so I thought it a bit odd.

You’re probably asking: “Why would you need a clock? Don’t you have a cellphone with a click on it you can look at?

Yes. I do. At that moment, though, my daughter was using it to keep herself occupied while we waited to be called back after her eyes were dilated. I also didn’t have my watch. The battery had died. We were going later that day to get a new one installed.

20180406_090738286412404.jpgIt’s funny. When I didn’t have the watch on my wrist, I would look there to check the time. Nothing there. Habit. When I looked and it wasn’t there, I felt a tinge of loss and a slight annoyance that I would have to stare at my phone until it recognized I was looking at it for it to come back on and tell me the time. With the watch, I was always secure in the notion that I could look at it on my wrist and know the time.

The watch is a throwback to a “simpler time” when we weren’t all so “connected” through our technology.  Maybe that is why I felt loss when it wasn’t something I would have on every day. Maybe I, like many others, would like to turn back time (couldn’t resist, sorry) to when the Internet and cell phones didn’t exist. Why do you think shows like Netflix’s Stranger Things, Fuller House, or any of the plethora of reboots out there are so popular. Those of us who grew up then are at a point where we can control the contributions to culture in a way we couldn’t before. And we long to go back. The world is more complicated and stressful now than it was when we were kids. We want the clock to rewind instead of tick ahead minute by minute. We’re at a point in our lives where there is less ahead of us than behind.  And yet, we’re looking for the connection back so we can move forward.

I’ve found that my connection back is this timepiece my wife gave me. It’s back on my wrist. And now I’m ready to go forward again.

No Spring for You!

Like the Soup Nazi in Seinfeld, this never-ending winter is not going to give us what we want. There will be no Spring for us. It feels that way, anyway.

I mean, it snowed today. In April. This isn’t too unusual for where we live. However, this year it just seems like Mother Nature and Old Man Winter are just piling on for the fun of it.

And we want it to stop. Spring is a great time of year. The smell in the air after a rain shower. The rebirth. The flowers. The birds. There is just so much to love about this time of year.

If it would ever get here!

I am not a Know-Nothing

Former US President Abraham Lincoln's statue is seen at Lincoln Memorial  in Washington

Former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln’s statue at the Lincoln Memorial is seen in Washington March 27, 2015. The 170-ton, 19-foot-high statue, formed from 28 blocks of Georgia marble, was sculpted by Daniel Chester French and carved by the Piccirilli brothers. The 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination at Ford’s Theatre in Washington is April 15, 2015. REUTERS/Gary Cameron – RTR4WKMZ

I found this writing from President Abraham Lincoln quoted in an article on The Atlantic’s website very insightful. Applying it to today’s political climate produces interesting results:

I am not a Know-Nothing. That is certain,” he (Lincoln) wrote in 1855, in a meditation that reverberates all the way to our current election. “How could I be? How can any one who abhors the oppression of negroes, be in favor of degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that ‘all men are created equal.’ We now practically read it ‘all men are created equal, except negroes.’ When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read ‘all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics.’ When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty—to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.”

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/04/the-party-of-lincoln-in-the-time-of-trump/479601/