A small rant

Dear Lawmakers (and voters),

In case you haven’t noticed this country (and the world) face some pretty big challenges. Our infrastructure is in need of attention. Our educational system makes less sense all the time and we fall further and further behind other countries in educating our youth. I can tell you first hand that it is not preparing most students for college. It is not offering meaningful opportunities to those who have disabilities.

People are struggling to make ends meet. Today’s young people will be lucky to maintain the same quality of life as their parents had.  Businesses and homes in many parts of the country sit empty and falling into disrepair. It is time for programs that create alternatives that work for individuals and our communities.

The environment is reaching (if it hasn’t already passed) the tipping point. Divisiveness and intolerance are growing in our wonderfully multifaceted society (remember our diversity gives us strength).  We need to move beyond narrow thinking that keeps us in silos where we fear or hate those in other silos and start remembering that we are all part of an amazing web of life that includes more than just humans who we define as being like ourselves.

Please stop trying to legislate what women do with their bodies. Unless you have been to medical school and know all the details of the case, stop trying to decide what constitutes appropriate medical treatment. Stop wasting your money and time and setting up huge drains of time and money for investigators and prosecutors. Stop pretending that laws you pass will be evenly applied. This is especially an attack on poorer women who can’t afford to travel for what they need, who don’t have insurance for the extra costs you are creating, who have private doctors who can use creative language to get the treatment they need for their patients. The money you are wasting could be better used fighting and preventing disease.

If you want to protect food safety, stop focusing on what people grow in their backyard and the farmer down the road who has a cow and some raw milk to sell. Instead focus on the corporations that are pumping things never meant to be part of the food supply into the food chain and our bodies (e.g, pink slime, GMOs). If you won’t stop them at least insist that foods are labeled so those of us that do care can make informed decisions.

While you are at it let’s stop wasting time and money prosecuting and locking people away for the stuff that doesn’t matter (e.g., personal use of marijuana). Incarcerating people for offenses where the only possible victim is the one being prosecuted is expensive and is unlikely to keep future offenses from happening. Let’s decriminalize the things that don’t really hurt society and use at least part of the savings to deal with the underlying conditions that lead to those behaviors that are problematic.

We need a culture that encourages and supports being curious and of service to one another. We need to stop ridiculing and even demonizing intellect. Their are many expressions of  intelligence and we should celebrate and honor those who are intelligent and wise.

We need role models who teach our children to be strong and hopeful and truly ethical. A flag on your lapel tells me nothing about your character so let’s stop pretending that it does.  Attacking the other candidate in campaign ads doesn’t show me you have intelligence or leadership traits; any second grader on a playground can hurl insults.

We need leaders (and voters) who think boldly about the future. Though it would be a start to think about the future at all. We need to remember who we are and who we can be.  We need to demand the best from ourselves and our leaders.  We need to move beyond the soundbite and the easy targets/scapegoats to work on real solutions. So please just stop with the attacks on women and minorities and the poor and those who simply think or look different than you.  Remember that holding office should be about leading, about being of service, about making a difference for those you represent, about being a role model.

If leading is not your thing, then follow fiercely. Make your voice heard and expect the best for our future from our leaders and don’t settle for less. Vote not just with ballots but with your hard earned dollars and with your voice. Why not talk about ideas with as much passion as we talk about the lates reality show. Remember that we all lead from whatever position we hold. You are a role model even though you may not realize it. So be the kind of leader you would want to be your leader.

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Views from My World

Some of my favorite books

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