Where Are All My Friends? The Polarizing Force of Radio,Television And Blogs

Years ago I had a lot of friends, and according to Facebook, I still do (but I don’t believe that boshwah because I know better).  I was first introduced to the negative after effects of talk radio by Tom, a coworker who believed that he was Axl Rose, (whole nother story that) and that racism was dead, and that black people (except for me of course), were lazy welfare swindlers and a lot of other crap that I’ve since erased from my memory banks. Tom was a Rush Limbaugh listener, and what struck me about Tom was not the things he said, but the angry and loud way in which he said them. I cannot think of one single moment in a scary movie that can rival being stuck alone in an industrial sized building for 12 hours a day 3 days a week with a Limbaugh Lunatic. Thank God we could at least agree on Rock and Roll. That was almost 2 decades ago and things have gotten worse instead of better. Had I known then that our political affiliation would become the thing that defines us and determines the length and breadth of our friendships, I would have made the effort to only friend Democrats and Left leaning Independents (and yes that is laughable so go ahead chuckle).

I thought I had friends at the job I worked for 10 years. We did lunch, hugs, Christmas presents, and talked about our husbands, wives, kids, and money issues . But all the while, they were being groomed by talk radio too, or maybe it was Fox News, or maybe it’s already in your DNA? I dunno. Two years ago I happened on one of my “friends” in an elevator, I was so happy to see this friend that I rushed over to give them a hug – they actually physically cringed and shrank into the back of the elevator, the look on my friend’s face was priceless, and the moment is stamped in my consciousness like a bad dream that I just can’t shake. I didn’t know what I had done to create whatever animosity, dislike, or disdain that this person felt for me  – but when I saw some of their more recent Facebook  posts I got what some folks would call “a clue”.

Then there are my other besties who no longer call or respond to emails, or even interact with me in any way shape or form on the public forum we call Facebook.

They say that politics is polarizing America, but I don’t believe it not even for a second. We used to be able to agree to disagree and then go get drunk together. Heck we even used to (gasp) marry outside of our Party.  It’s all the angry (probably white, but sometimes not) men that’s really pulling us apart (did I say that out loud? Ok I went back and amended it) . So tell me, former friends of mine – if you have a roof over your head, a good job, food in your mouth, and the kids are alright- what are you so effing mad about? And why are you mad at me?

And one last question – you keep telling me you “want America back”, but since you also say that it’s not about the President being Black and it’s not about him not being Black enough, and since back assumes that there has been forward movement to some place that’s undesirable to you- then what or whom do you want your country back from?

And another question (sorry this one baffles me so much I gotta ask it twice)- what are you so mad about?

I sure wish you’d turn the radio off, stop reading blogs that offer affirmation rather than information, mute the TV and put some music on, it will calm your nerves.

Now Faith is the Substance of Things Hoped For, the Evidence of Things Not Seen

I have two friends who are “going through it ” right now and I wanted to re-post this for them, it’s so important that we keep the faith yet it’s the first thing that we lose.

Someone reviewed my site on Linkreferral and said “I thought this was a make money blog”.  I’m not quite sure what a make money blog should do, but I know that I want my readers to leave my site feeling a little better, a little smarter and a little more inspired than when they arrived. I also know that you can make a little money by dibbling and dabbling in things, but persistency, consistency and the right mindset are going to make you a lot of money (and it won’t take 40 years of trying). So lets talk some more about faith; raise your hand if you think that Barack Obama is the POTUS because he “caught a break” or that Bill Gates is the richest man in the world because he “got lucky”, I suppose you also think that Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream speech” was just words on paper….hmmm

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen – Hebrews 11:1

What do the three men I mentioned have in common? They believed in something that:

  1. They could not see
  2. They had never seen
  3. No one in the entire world had ever seen

Yet here I am, a black woman, living in the boonies in the state of Georgia and I am not afraid, because Martin Luther King had a dream “that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.”  And he dreamed it long enough and hard enough and passed it on to millions of people, and what none of them could even begin to  imagine back then, has  actually come to pass.

**Do you think that maybe some people thought that Bill Gates was crazy for dropping out of Harvard ( I mean it’s Harvard, people would kill to get in and he dropped out), and crazier still for thinking that we needed a computer on every desk ( to do what? our  math homework?). Do you think he might have had a naysayer or two or three?  Lots of people probably thought he wouldn’t amount to much, well he showed them didn’t he? Because here I sit in an easy chair portable computer in my lap, no wires,  communicating with people all across the globe.

Now even I thought Barack Obama was on a fools mission, but after I heard him speak a few times, I knew ( and I told my husband, so ask him cause I ain’t making this up) that this guy had read a personal development book or two, and I knew that he knew that to be successful you have to believe it before you see it.  I think we could all see that this man really believed it, and after a while he had a lot of people seeing and believing right along with him; and here we are with the first African-American POTUS ever.

*Faith is the place where each of these men of vision stood firm in their expectations while they proved to the entire world that which (even) they could not actually see.

What are your expectations? Whether you’re expecting to succeed or expecting to fail, chances are you will. As surely as the telephone was seeking Alexander Graham Bell and the light bulb was seeking Thomas Edison – opportunity is seeking you, but it won’t matter if you can’t see it.

Faith is where you should stand while you expect to make more money in a short period of time than you have ever made in a long period of time, even though your friends and family call you constantly asking “How’s that business of yours going?” and then they make a remark like “I guess I’ll get in it when I see you start making some real money” and then they go join someone else’s business, because  you would never lie to your family but a stranger would – but you’re not bitter, cause you’ve got faith and a future that you can actually see.

* I learned this from Myron Golden and it was so powerful that I just never forgot it.

**And yes I should mention Steve Jobs somewhere in here too, so here ya go visionary Apple guy who brought us the  Iphone, Macs (my first PC experience  back in college actually), and may have had some of his ideas pilfered (I dunno for sure).

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Keeping Hope Alive – Behind the White Noise and Shiny Objects

recessionAs you probably already know my recession started in late 2006 following a (in retrospect) bad decision on my part to accept a new position in another division of my company. I was let go and then I had to learn how to let go:

  • Of resentment
  •  Of anger
  • Of fear
  •  Of material things (like my house and my car)
  •  Of the past

 

Four years later, even though I have worked several decent paying gigs:

·         my bank account is light

·          if you ask a financial adviser they’ll tell you that my retirement plan is looking a lot like a job as greeter at Walmart

·          I don’t remember what an annual physical or mammogram is like because I belong to one of those (insert number in thousands or millions depending on your party affiliation here)  people with no health insurance

·         I do not possess a credit card or a high credit score

And you know what? I’m fine with all of that. Every day is a beautiful day, a blessing to be cherished. I appreciate what I have and what I can actually afford to buy [I bought my son a laptop and paid cash, I was so proud when I realized what I had done]

 

So, Where are YOUR Bootstraps?

 

And I’m telling you this because….

  1. I want you to know that no one is going to come and “fix” your personal economy. Once you get far enough away from a steady income and deep enough into debt, it’s a long road back
  2. I want you to realize that you can’t blame the government for your situation, then say the government is too big, and then blame the same government for your situation – yes I repeated myself, reading it makes as much sense as doing it does.
  3. I am slightly angered by corporate sponsored candidates who will tell you that if government stepped out of the way, companies would step in and take care of the “community”. Bullshit, is what I say. Why aren’t they doing that already? There is no legislation stopping these companies from taking care of the community now!  So why would you believe for even one moment that the people with the real power (jobs) to turn the economy around, who have not exercised that power, are going to make things better if they gain political power. Yeah they’ll make things better – for them.
  4. I tripled my yearly earnings under Clinton, lost everything under Bush, and gained some of it back under Obama. But I’m not assigning credit or blame to any of them, because this is my life and my responsibility, and it’s my hard work, foresight, intuition that causes me to gain or lose. I want you to stop blaming the wrong people for where you are. As a matter of fact, I want you to stop blaming altogether, that’s a lot of your spiritual power that you’re giving away there.
  5. I’ve learned that if you turn off the external noise – friends, family, media – and turn inward to the place in you where God is – he really will make a way where there is no way. I have never considered murder–suicide – not mine, not the President, not my family – as an alternative. You see I know that in 10 years, the past 4 years or so  will be just that – the past, and life and the world will have moved on and the angry people will find someone/something else to be angry about, and I’ll be living and crocheting in Europe (which is a dream of mine and honestly nothing personal against y’all).

 

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Barack Obama’s Inauguration Speech

Inaugural Address

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Washington, D.C.
**EMBARGOED UNTIL DELIVERY**

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land – a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America – they will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted – for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things – some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions – that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act – not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions – who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them – that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works – whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account – to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day – because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control – and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart – not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort – even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West – know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment – a moment that will define a generation – it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends – hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism – these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility – a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence – the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed – why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

“Let it be told to the future world…that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive…that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it].”

America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

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Dear Mr Obama, How Long Before My Bailout Check Arrives?

Dear Mr President-Elect Obama,

I’ve been reading about all this “bailout” money that has been or will be given to some of the companies that find themselves in trouble because of … wait, why are they in trouble? Was there a fork in the road and everyone decided to go left and not right? Oh crap, which way did Bill Gates and Steve Jobs go? Will they need a bailout too? Is that going to impact my bailout amount?

Anyway, back to the other guys, why are they in so much trouble? I mean I know why I am in a little bit of trouble, but heck I’ve never made anything that ran over 5 figures and these guys were earning millions to make the right decisions, so what the heck were they doing up in those ivory towers and on their private Lear jets? Basking in the glow of power instead of being pro-active?

Lemme tell you something else while I have you on the line, a couple of months back I was having trouble with one of my properties and I approached my mortgage company and said “Look I really want to straighten this out but I can’t make these monthly payments, what can we do?” Well I guess I forgot to add a ‘wink, wink’ after that statement (like I see these guys doing in front of those congressional committees “I’ll work for a $1 since I’m already worth 50 billion ‘wink, wink'”) and the solution I was offered was to increase my payments by $300 over the next 4 or so months, which would get me caught up on the 2 payments that I was behind. So I was wondering if this is the kind of solution that these millionaires are coming up with across the board.; and could that be why they are all in trouble?

Well lemme not talk your ear off Mr President- Elect Sir, I’ll get to the point, I need to make sure that I’m included in that bailout plan, I don’t require much and I just need to know when I can get in front of Congress to beg .. I mean ask, for my cut. My husband and I will do the automakers one better and ride our bicycles there (thru the snow), camp out near the Lincoln Memorial and fast the entire time just to show you how serious we are about saving money and growing our business.

Thank You Mr President-Elect Obama Sir.
Country First & I Hope to hear from you soon.

Denise

P.S. Does my bailout include the IRS forgiving my past transgressions? Not a deal breaker, just wondering.