Hit Reset

 

Okay, truth time: how many of you have already gone off the diet you started on the 1st?

I’m sorry. That was cruel, wasn’t it? Forget I asked.

Anyway, here we are. A brand new year is upon us. Is it just me, or did the last year go by in a blink? Jeez, before you know it, it’ll be Christmas time again.

I’m sorry, I did it again, didn’t I? Just SHUT UP, WILL YA??

 

Okay, no more clowning. Seriously, welcome to a brand new year. I hope it has started well for you.

Many of us use January 1st as a marker, a place to wipe the slate clean and start fresh. It’s life’s Reset button. Whatever happened last year is last year’s news; it’s in the rearview mirror, getting ever smaller until disappearing over the horizon line. We savor the good memories, and shed the bad ones.

Easier said than done, I know. Believe me, I know.

But now, our eyes are on the future, who stands before us with both hands full; in one hand, exciting opportunity and possibility, and in the other hand, unsettling fear and dread.

Most of us will take a little from each hand, because we need a healthy balance of fear and optimism, right? Too much dread is just too depressing, but too much optimism seems a bit unrealistic, doesn’t it?

The more depressed among us – like yours truly – will probably take more from the fear and dread hand, because that’s our comfort zone, it’s our default mode. We’d rather not be that way, but unfortunately, it’s not as simple as making different choices. If only…

However, I will work harder this year at picking from the other hand; I need to. Because there have been days in the last year when I had no optimism whatsoever about the future. (I don’t think I should have to explain why.) I thought we were absolutely doomed. Everything looked bleak and hopeless.

And yet, somehow, we’re still here.

There is still much to fear as this new year commences. Some of it is fear of the unknown, some of it of the all too well-known.

But this is a good time for me to clear my head and focus on what I need for this to be a better year. Do I need to be healthier? More loving? More open and honest? More trusting? More attentive to others? More appreciative of life, of nature, of people?

Less fearful?

Probably all that, and a lot more.

It’s a good time for a new beginning. I look forward to it.

Mostly.

Hear That? It’s the World

 

President donald trump will go down in history as the greatest leader that ever was.

That’s right; I said it. You know why?

He will be the only person ever to end poverty, end crime, end racism, end sexism, end violence, end war, end all the problems of humanity.

How, you ask? Simple.

By ending all human life on this planet.

 

This past Saturday, I had the privilege of participating in the 2017 People’s Climate March. Not the one in Washington, D.C., that drew over 200,000 participants. (Go to http://www.peoplesclimate.org and look at the awesome pictures and read the inspiring stories from that day!) No, I was at one of the “Sister Marches”, in Dallas, Texas. The following pictures are from there:

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As you can see, we had a special guest.

It was an event organized by the People’s Climate Movement, held in cities across the country, and worldwide. As if Mother Nature herself wanted to drive home the point, the main march in D.C. was held in sweltering, 90-plus degree temperatures.

It was an amazing thing to witness. People of all races, religions, sexes, languages, etc., all came together for one day to acknowledge the reality of climate change, and to send the message that the people of this world care about what’s happening to the planet that sustains them, and are worried about the direction we are headed, rapidly.

And, they are not without reason. Here in the good ol’ USA, we have a President and an administrator for, of all things, the Environmental Protection Agency, who are both non believers in climate change, despite the overwhelming evidence of its existence, and who are both diligently working to accelerate it.

Exhibit A. From the New York Times, 5/29/2017:

“Since taking office, Mr. Trump has appointed one of the chief antagonists of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, as its administrator and proposed slashing its budget by nearly a third, more than any other federal agency. He has signed several executive orders aimed at rolling back President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan, a set of regulations intended to close heavily polluting coal-fired power plants, and restrictions on vehicle emissions, among others.

“This past week, Mr. Trump signed orders intended to initiate reviews aimed at opening certain protected lands and waters to drilling, mining and logging. His advisers were still debating whether the United States would remain in the landmark Paris climate accord. And on Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that it had taken down several agency web pages that contained climate data and other scientific information relating to climate change.”

And this is all just in his first 100 days!

If you want more details:

http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/29/politics/trump-epa-cuts-infighting-climate-change/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/04/28/epa-website-removes-climate-science-site-from-public-view-after-two-decades/?tid=a_inl&utm_term=.228c2b16ecef

Exhibit B. The aforementioned Mr. Scott Pruitt, former Attorney General of Oklahoma, “a leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda”, according to his own LinkedIn page, who sued the EPA 13 times while Attorney General, is the guy trump decided was the best fit for administrator of that very agency.

Isn’t that a riot? You couldn’t find a better fox to guard that henhouse!

Oh, and it isn’t just these two. We also have Senator Jim Inhofe, who once famously displayed an actual snowball on the floor of the Senate to disprove global warming. He’s merely one of one hundred eighty climate change deniers in the U.S. Congress. Their party affiliation is irrelevant.

So is yours, in fact. I don’t give a $#!+ who you voted for. You’re a human being; you depend on this planet for your life. As will the generations that follow us. This is no longer a spectator sport.

I saw a lot of kids at the march last weekend. As I took their pictures, I told them they were the reason us grownups were marching.

And, they are. It’s their future our “leaders” in Washington are seriously jeopardizing. Let them know that matters to you.

Mr. trump, Mr. Pruitt, Mr. Inhofe and all you other climate change deniers out there: The world has spoken. Loud and clear.

And the world won’t…be…ignored.

 

The Road From Here

 

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I have thought long and hard about what to say regarding the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States.

Let me begin with a sports analogy:

Many sports fans, I’ve noticed, are willing to overlook a certain player’s behavior for the sake of a few more wins for their team. I mean, so what if he beats women, or gets caught driving drunk, or is charged with possession, etc., as long as he performs when it’s game time.

Sounds a lot like what happened in this election.

 

I didn’t watch the results on Election Day as they happened; I went to bed that night having no idea whatsoever who our next President was. First thing the next morning, I got out of bed to see who won.

My wife would tell me later, she was a little surprised by how calmly I delivered the news to her. I replied, I wasn’t really calm, so much as I was numb.

In fact, I was in a state of utter shock. I could not believe or process what had occurred. How the hell could this happen? I couldn’t make any sense of it at all. Most of the morning, I was a zombie, just going through the motions of my job, but feeling dead on the inside.

Eventually, I experienced feelings of devastation, depression, worry, revulsion, white-hot anger, embarrassment, shame, betrayal, confusion and about every other negative feeling you can name.

I wanted to lash out at all the Trump voters, leaving no doubt about exactly what I thought of them. I wanted them to know what a monumental mistake they made. I felt like calling them some creative names, along with some of the old favorites.

But I didn’t see that serving any useful purpose. Pretty sure those folks give not one solitary damn what I think of them. And all the yelling and screaming I did would not change the fact that Donald Trump is our President. Yours and mine. That’s the reality, much as a lot of us hate it. (And a lot of us – all over the world, I noticed – do hate it.)

By the way, just so you know, electing a businessman to lead your country is like hiring a pastry chef to overhaul your transmission. There’s a certain skill set to each job that does not translate to the other. Politics, like it or not, is better left to politicians. Would you honestly be comfortable putting someone in the cockpit of your aircraft who’s never flown before in his life?

That’s exactly what the Trump voters just did. Unfortunately, we’re all on the plane with them.

 

So, what happens next?

One of the few good things to emerge from this messy, embarrassing, completely forgettable election year, is the spirit of revolution, especially among the younger Americans, who were so inspired by the campaign of Bernie Sanders. (I was, too.) They see the need for change, and are ready, willing and able to work toward making change happen.

We need to encourage them. We need to join them.

Women, blacks, Latin Americans, Muslims, the LGBT+ community, and the middle class all have bullseyes on their backs, now. It’s on us all to stand up for their rights, their dignity, and their safety.

Donald Trump and his Republican Congressional cronies dismiss global warming as a myth, a hoax. We need to stand up for the protection of our planet from those who refuse to see the evidence staring them in the face of its accelerating decline.

These and other issues (Supreme Court appointments, health care, Middle East conflicts) will require our vigilance, our intelligence, and our toughness.

For the next four years.

Yes, we have to accept who our President will be, but we do not have to accept his agenda. We can rise up in organized, disciplined, informed, peaceful opposition, and let our singular voice be heard. Not an angry mob, but a determined, unified coalition of like-minded individuals.

I’m a middle-aged white guy with a blog. I will use those advantages to their fullest potential. This is way too important for me to do anything less.

I hope you will join me.

 

Interesting thing happened Wednesday, The Day After.

I was driving my shuttle van, as always, and the skies were cloudy, gray and gloomy. Much like a large part of America, after what had just occurred.

Late that afternoon, the sun began to break through the clouds.

Corny? Cliche? Yeah, sure, but I was taking my inspiration where I could find it that day.

Clouds only hide the light for so long. But, it always wins.

That’s a mighty good thing to remember.

 

A Day to Imagine

 

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Tomorrow, September 21, is the International Day of Peace, as declared by the United Nations. In honor of that, allow me to share this message from Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General:

Every year on the International Day of Peace, the United Nations calls on warring parties to lay down their arms and observe a 24-hour global ceasefire. The symbolism of a day without fighting is a crucial reminder that conflict can and must come to an end.

But peace is about much more than putting weapons aside. It is about building a global society in which people live free from poverty and share the benefits of prosperity. It is about growing together and supporting each other as a universal family.

The theme of this year’s Peace Day highlights the 17 Sustainable Development Goals – the SDGs – as Building Blocks for Peace. Conflict often starts when people compete over limited resources. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is our blueprint to prevent such conflicts from arising by making sure no one is left behind.

When the 193 Member States of the United Nations unanimously adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals last September, their message was clear.

Sustainable development is essential for lasting peace, and both depend on respect for human rights. We need to protect our planet. And only by working together can we make our common home safe for future generations.

All of us can be sustainable development advocates and spread the word about the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. And we can all hold our governments to account for keeping their pledge to the future.

Let us all work together to help all human beings achieve dignity and equality; to build a greener planet; and to make sure no one is left behind.

On this International Day of Peace, express your commitment to peace by becoming a champion of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Go to http://internationaldayofpeace.org/ to learn more.

 

It isn’t hard to imagine; it’s extraordinarily difficult to achieve.

But, the moment we convince ourselves it is impossible…

We’re doomed.

May we all turn our thoughts toward peace in our world tomorrow, and our actions toward it every day thereafter.

Peace and love to all of you.

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