Tag Archives: Heart

A Wonderfully Sweet Moment: Redeeming My Faith in Humanity

26 Apr

ChildrenSometimes I have to just grab hold of very sweet moments and treasure them, for they prove to be a salve for my misanthropic woes at times. I suspect many of us have moments when we experience kindness and generosity of heart from someone — this is a great privilege and I hope people cling to these moments and embrace them.

Thursday I was leaving Portland to go to Bend where I teach a graduate class a course called Social Justice. While in the airport in Portland, I went to buy a bottle of water. In this simple process, I somehow cut my finger. How? I have no idea. Sadly, I was bleeding quite a bit — more bothersome than anything else. Being on a blood thinner (Coumadin) makes me bleed more easily and it is then difficult to stop the bleeding. While trying to pay for the water, the cashier looked at me bluntly and said sternly: “You make sure you don’t bleed on the counter.” How rude of me to be bleeding at all!!!  I grabbed the water and went to the gate.

I had a bunch of napkins and was trying desperately to stop the bleeding, for I was now very embarrassed and the napkins were completely red.

Then, a young girl, I would guess four or five, approached me with a cherubic face and voice to match and with a look of concern asked: “Would you like one of my band-aids?”  She pulled out a band aid from her box and handed it to me. I said: “Thank you. Thank you very much. You are very kind.”  The band-aid was rainbow colored and I wondered how she knew I was gay and how appropriate for her to have picked a lovely and sensitive band aid.  She smiled and waited for me to put the band aid on my bleeding finger, knowing she could walk away with her new skill of saving fingers.

I must confess, this touched me in such a way that I started to cry and felt like I was melting. This kindness from this little girl warmed my heart so tremendously, I knew I had to treasure it.

As I was getting off the plane in Bend, I went to grab my bag from the overhead compartment and saw the little girl just three seats behind me. She looked at my bandaged finger and then looked at me. I winked at her and said thank you.  What a lovely little gift. I am so glad I have now recorded it.

May all of you enjoy some happiness today and everyday, in whatever fashion that kindness reveals itself to you. I am thinking of that little girl that made this old man very happy and listening to Sweet Honey in the Rock’s song On Children. I would like to think that if I had had a child, that child would have been as equally generous and kind.

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Congressional GOP Gets Lost in Oz

16 Oct

ScareBoehner copyToday’s post will be greatly enhanced if you start humming the wishful tunes of Dorothy’s stalwart companions. The Shutdown has already cost close to 5 Billion Dollars thus far. As the government shutdown enters its third week and the debt ceiling looms, Republicans in the House and Senate seem to be searching for a brain, a heart, and some courage.

IF I ONLY HAD A BRAIN! Sadly, the longer the shutdown continues, the more absurd the claims of individual GOP Congresscritters gets. Initially, the refusal to fund the government was presented as a “principled” stand against the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare.”) When their bullying demands were met with stern resistance by Senate Democrats and President Obama, the House GOP got confused very quickly. They still stand for something, they assure us, and they’ll be sure to let us know what it is… as soon as they figure it out.

Almost daily, Speaker John Boehner hints at a new plan, lets a few details leak, holds a short press conference, and fails to bring anything to the floor. Apparently he left the shared brain with Mitch McConnell, who needed it to try to reason out a compromise that might pass the Senate. In the meantime, the usual crew — Ted Cruz, Michele Bachmann, Louis Gohmert, Mike Lee, and all the rest of the lollipop guild — keep changing their off-kilter tune. The fight isn’t really about health care (except when it is), it’s about the size of government (except when it isn’t). Forced to abandon their thinly-veiled racist rants against the president’s signature accomplishment, they just don’t know what to do.

IF I ONLY HAD A HEART! Members of Congress continue to draw their salaries while hundreds of thousands of federal workers go without. There’s still no guarantee that retroactive pay will be part of any deal. Even more dramatically, nearly SEVEN MILLION FTE worth of government contractors are without work during the shutdown and have no chance of retroactive pay. All this ignores the thousands of kids turned away from Head Start, the millions deprived of food, medical, and housing care, the thousands more who are just waiting for funds to run out one program at a time. If the shutdown continues to the end of the month, there will be no money to pay out Social Security or Veterans’ Benefits. And, just to prove how heartless they are, GOP leaders in both chambers of Congress are proposing to strip health benefits from their staff, driving them (ironically) to the ACA exchanges without an employer subsidy. You can bet all those staffers would like to drop a house on the leaders of the House.

IF I ONLY HAD THE NERVE! The media still spin this as a problem coming from the far right of the GOP (when they aren’t falsely laying blame on the President). It may be that the loudest voices from the fringe started the shouting, but in every vote so far the Republicans have voted as a tight bloc, more evidence of the GOP sharing one brain. All the so-called moderates have refused to stand up for what’s best for the country. In the Senate, the GOP managed to filibuster a clean debt ceiling bill. If there are voices of reason in the party, they refuse to speak. Sadly, the Gerrymandering of House districts leaves too many representatives sheltered from reality. GOP ratings in polls are dropping like the Wizard’s balloon but most House members can rely on at least a slim majority to return them to office.

CALL TO ACTION: We live in the United States, not Oz. We need elected officials who take their responsibilities as civil servants seriously and who govern with compassion, reason, and courage. Republicans should look seriously at their Representatives and find ways to support new voices in Congress that will bring true compromise and balance. Democrats should take courage and support challenges to GOP folks that seemed undefeatable. The people are paying attention, and the next election should be a clear message about what we really need.

Happy Birthday, Husband…

15 Feb

I know this is a bit self-indulgent but I wanted to wish my husband a Happy Birthday today.  He shares a birthday with Susan B. Anthony and Galileo.  I am always in awe of my husband, for he possesses so many talents and attributes that I lack.

He is wholehearted.  He shares his whole heart with me, which ties into his amazing courage.  He is able to move through life with optimism and without fear or panic, even during times of distress or injustice, Robert moved forward with the same love of life.  He has an amazing capacity for joy, which ties into his ability to be vulnerable.  He dances in our kitchen without being self-conscious.  He puts strange hats and holiday bows on top of his head.

There are so many reasons I love Robert, but today I love him for his whole heart, his courage, and his vulnerability.

Singing A Different Tune: Republican Candidates’ Campaign Hypocrisy

1 Jul

Mine...All Mine!

What is it with Republican Presidential campaigns and the theft of intellectual property? It seems that once a GOP candidate starts running for the highest office, (s)he rises above the law and says, “Oh, I like that, I think I’ll take it!”

The latest offender is serial hypocrite and history buff Michele Bachmann. Since announcing her official candidacy (ironically after appearing in a candidates’ debate), Bachmann has taken to using Tom Petty’s song American Girl at her campaign stops. Petty, a staunch supporter of artists’ creative control rights, issued a cease-and-desist letter, which Bachmann has so far ignored. In fact, her campaign started using another song without permission, Katrina and the Waves hit Walking On Sunshine. Lead vocalist Katrina Leskanich immediately laid into Bachmann:

As the singer of ‘Walking on Sunshine’ I don’t endorse its use by Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign.  I’ve performed ‘Walking on Sunshine’ for so many years in so many different countries that it’s become the one constant in my life and the one thing I can count on to bring happiness to myself and others. The song is used in commercials and movies as a vehicle for a feel good moment or empowerment but if I disagree with the policies, opinions or platforms for its use, I’ve no choice but to try and defend the song and prevent its misuse.

Sadly, Bachmann is far from alone. Here are just a few other examples:

  • Saint Ronald, whose politics were frighteningly far to the left of this current crop of loonies, started the trend when he practiced the unwitting irony of name-checking Bruce Springsteen and referencing Born In the U.S.A. during his re-election campaign. At least Ronnie didn’t actually steal the song.
  • Mike Huckabee got into hot water with Boston’s Tom Scholz for appropriating More Than A Feeling.
  • George W. Bush borrowed at least two songs without permission. He got into trouble with Orleans leader and NY Congressman John Hall for misuse of the 70s hit Still the One. He also practiced Petty theft with the rocker’s I Won’t Back Down. Petty did not, and Bush was forced to drop the song.
  • Former half-governor Sarah Palin stole Heart’s Barracuda during her Vice-Presidential campaign disaster, prompting an angry cease-and-desist from Ann and Nancy Wilson. Ironically, this song was about the music industry mistreating women.
  • Palin’s top of ticket man, John McCain, is the champ in this category. He most famously misused two John Mellencamp songs, Pink Houses and Our Country. The very Democratic Mellencamp sued. McCain also borrowed Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger and hits by the Foo Fighters and Van Halen, as well as playing a Bon Jovi song for appearances with Palin.

Other Republicans have behaved similarly. Senate wannabe Chuck DeVore stole two Don Henley songs during his failed bid to unseat Barbara Boxer. Florida’s Charlie Crist couldn’t decide which party to run with during his failed Senate bid, but he did steal Road to Nowhere from David Byrne and was forced to air a public service announcement apology. Here’s a great overview of these and other thefts.

The great irony, of course, is that Republican candidates are so aggressively “pro-business” in their politics. They argue for tax cuts, business incentives, deregulation, and protecting the rights of businesses over workers at every turn. If the business in question happens to be music, however, they turn a blind eye and a deaf ear. Ignoring the actual messages of the songs, the political wishes of the performers, and the property rights of the writers, they lift the soundbite they want with a grotesque sense of entitlement. Clearly, Bachmann et al. send the message that they are above the law. What does that promise for how they would lead this country?

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