B-Musings – Get Up, Stand Up Edition

12 01 2017

“B-Musings”… sharing random blurbiage and ping-pong balls rattling around my dome.  

The Purge – Every year, I make a conscious effort to trim down my Facebook Friends List. Not to be mean-spirited or anything like that… it just a process of cleaning up my timeline. It’s kind of a “new year” thang.

unfriendI tend to “friend” people haphazardly. If you reach out to me, and we have a few friends in common, I’ll usually make the connection. I’m always eager to expand my network. But once a year – usually in January – I trim down the list.

If I haven’t had any meaningful dialogue with someone in the past year, he/she gets whacked. That is my only requirement, except for people in my list who have passed on. If you die, we are friends forever. Weird, I know…

But this year I was forced to add some new criteria, mostly because of the heightened political atmosphere. Tough decisions were made, deleting some long time connections.‪ But at the end of the day, social media is supposed to be fun. Right?

So if we are no longer connected, some of the reasons are below:

  • Our morality differed… for example, I don’t make jokes about gun violence.
  • You bullied my other friends.
  • You repeatedly shared fake news or websites to further some agenda (whether I agree with that agenda or not).
  • You were a dick.

Doesn’t seem like much, but it added up to 159 people. Sorry… do better. Be nicer. Don’t be a dick.

Social media was invented to be fun. (Well… Facebook was actually invented so Zuckerberg could get laid. But that’s fun, right?)

We may not always see eye-to-eye, and if we disagree I always appreciate a good, respectful argument. So, I’m glad we are still friends… for now!

Feral MerylMy mail carrier is terrific. She is consistently on time, and knocks the door when delivering a package. She is always smiling and happy. But while she is very good at her job, her political views are not important to me.

nixonelvisI’m not a fan of celebrity. I respect and appreciate the talents of actors, musicians or sports figures, and anyone who excels in their chosen fields. Are you an expert on politics because you’ve won an Oscar, Emmy, Grammy or a Super Bowl? Um… no. I don’t tune in to a movie or sporting event to hear the news or political opinions. I’m escaping from that stuff.

Sports figures, especially coaches, hate when they are questioned about tactics or strategy. The general public knows nothing about the intricacies of their sport. So why should we care about your political views, Charles Barkley?

Meryl Streep is the best actress in history. Challenge that statement, I dare ya. So when she took the stage this week to accept a lifetime achievement award, I expected her usual funny and humble acceptance. And when she launched into her political speech I started to cringe.

Don’t get me wrong… I agree with every syllable of her speech. It was delivered beautifully, and it clearly resonated with the audience in the theater and around the world. Of course it did… she is the best actress on the planet reading from a very professionally written script. But I turned the TV on that night for entertainment, not a political speech.

I love you, Meryl. I agree with your statement. You deserve every acting award in the world, and I will continue to watch your movies. Now sit down and shut the fuck up.

You too, Scott Baio and Ted Nugent! (Trying to be fair…)

An Appreciation – I wrote these words last April: “At the end of the day, I want my President to represent our country positively and professionally, and be committed to keeping my family safe.”

fullsizerender-19For the past eight years, I’ve had that with Barack Obama.

I didn’t always agree with his policies. In fact, I sometimes disagreed strongly. But that is to be expected with the complexity of issues faced by a President.

But in January of 2009, he entered the office with so much raw energy, optimism and hope. He still has all of that, and a few more gray hairs. We pretty much knew he was a good man, and he proved it to us. Every day, he worked tirelessly for his country while facing unprecedented opposition and unfathomable hatred.

And for every minute of those eight years, President Obama and his family have represented our country with dignity and grace. History will determine if he was a good President – I think it will show him to be a great one.

Like many people, I’m scared for my country. But I won’t dwell on that.

Today, I’ll just thank the President of the United States for a job well done.

As with anything I write, I welcome your comments and spirited, respectful debate. 





I Used To Be Amused, Now I’m Just Disgusted

12 12 2016

campaign-finance-reform-corrupts-banner

“But if you don’t want your tax dollars to help the poor, then stop saying you want a country based on Christian values. Because you don’t.” ~ Comedian John Fugelsang

A short post today, because this feeble-minded writer needs some help. I’m hoping someone out there on the World Wide Webs can explain this.

I’ve been doing some quick research into presidential campaign spending. I’m not a numbers guy, so don’t look here for exhaustive data and structure.

According to information culled from sources like the Federal Election Commission and Bloomberg.com, the Trump and Clinton campaigns combined raised a total of $1.84 billion to support their candidates run for President.

Currently – after expenses – they have about $39 million left. So I have to ask some questions:

campaign

Click To Enlarge

Why are both campaigns still actively seeking donations? (The photos on the right are screen shots from the home page of each candidate’s campaign website.)

And…

Why would anyone contribute?

And…

Do these numbers make anyone want to vomit? I do.

I have no answers, just questions. Sorry…

I’m not singling out specific people, parties or organizations. And I thought of expanding this post to a full diatribe about wasteful spending – inauguration parties, televangelists private jets and mansions, tax exemptions for corporations and churches, etc. But I exist in the blog world, without space for information probably the size a bible. Ironically…

For today, I’ll keep it simple and ask no more questions. There is way to much blame to go around for allowing this ridiculous balance of wants versus needs, and or greed versus good.

We can’t drain the swamp and risk flooding the rest of the country.





Supporting President Trump

14 11 2016

“Now it’s time for America to bind the wounds of division; have to get together. To all Republicans and Democrats and independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people. It’s time. I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be president for all Americans.” ~ President-Elect Donald Trump, November 9, 2016

I will start by stating something that I feel very strongly about… Donald J. Trump is the President-Elect of the United States of America. And I respect that.

Anyone close to me – or anyone who has read my blog posts – surely knows how difficult it was for me to type that last sentence. Truthfully, it was equally difficult not to place quotation marks around the word United.

trumpwh03Many years ago I was sitting in pizza place with some friends, in a loud conversation ripping into then-President Ronald Reagan. A man sitting next to us interjected, “Gentlemen, I understand your points about these issues. You have every right to disagree, but do it respectfully. I’m a former Marine, and I will always respect my Commander-In-Chief. I will always respect the office of the President of the United States.”

One of the things that has bothered me in the past eight years has been the complete lack of respect for that office. Many of the attacks on Barack Obama were vicious, degrading, and had nothing to do with policies or issues. And some were offered by former and current members of the armed forces, which certainly struck a chord with me because of the previous story. I railed publicly against this behavior, and it would be hypocritical of me to behave in the same manner. So I will not. The name of our country describes our states – random sections of land – being “united”. But our people should be united, so I hope our new President does what is needed to make that happen. I want that more than anything, so I will give him that clean slate going forward.

That said… a couple of things I must note.

I’ve recovered from the disappointment of this election… mostly! I take some solace that I wasn’t the only one surprised… people more qualified than I are in complete shock. And that is a huge group!

I didn’t sleep much on election night. I was in Boston for a marketing conference, so I channeled some disappointment and a decent amount of anger into more positive efforts. On Wednesday night I was walking to my hotel after dinner, when I turned the corner and saw hundreds of people on the street. They were dispersing after a peaceful protest on Boston Commons. I immediately felt better that I wasn’t alone in my disappointment, but I felt discouraged later when I saw on the news that protesters in other cities were not so peaceful.

Protesting is fine, and I respect that. I don’t respect the violence that happened and those people need to be dealt with under the law. And I find it humorous that so many Trump supporters have spoken out against the protesters, as I’m sure some of them would have been on the streets if their candidate had won the popular vote and lost the Electoral College. But everything will calm down soon… if this election has taught us anything, the American people have a short attention span.

hoperopeI accused Donald Trump of a few not-so-great things in this election, and I still disagree with most of his positions. He successfully targeted a portion of the electorate that had lost faith in their government, and I certainly respect that. But his campaign and presentation over the past fifteen months revealed dark things about some of our people, and beliefs that I thought were less prevalent or refused to acknowledge. There is a small, but significant population of our country – some in public, some hiding – that embrace hate. It fuels and guides them. And I’m sad to say that some are people I know.

Their decision processes were very simple: Vote against the candidate who supports the LGBTQ community. Vote against the party that has the nerve to give us a President who isn’t white, and doesn’t have a Christian sounding name. And vote against the female candidate because of that one adjective, nothing else.

Donald Trump spoke to them and they stirred. Hillary Clinton called them a name, and it galvanized them. And it cost her the election.

Sure, there are many ways to analyze why this election was won or lost… many other things possibly determined the outcome. But ignoring this aspect is unforgivable, because the “positive” results have already emboldened these hateful people and groups. Discouraging their racism and bigotry should be our new President’s highest priority.

And while we are at it, let’s get rid of the two party system… and call out the media for their bias, ratings-based reporting… and stop the viciousness and hatred on social media… and severely limit the disgusting amount of money spent on electing a President! (Calm down, John… you are writing a blog post, not a novel.)

sealOver the past year I have spoken out against Donald Trump for his erratic behavior and divisive words. I do hope that I was as wrong about him as I was wrong about the election. I joked last week that I personally don’t have to worry too much. I’m solid middle class, and my wife works in healthcare so our insurance is not bad. I’m white, and though I am not religious I was raised in a Christian family. I also joked that President-elect Trump seems to be already softening his stance on some of the hot button issues, so maybe I should have voted for him!

Those jokes will only be funny if Donald Trump keeps our country, and my family, safe. I hope he disavows his most disgusting rhetoric, surrounds himself with good people, and works for solutions.

I will respect, as always, the office of President of the United States. But I will be watching President Donald Trump’s every move, and if necessary I will fight the fight.





Because Of Him, I’m With Her

22 10 2016

“What I’m saying is I’ll tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense, okay?” ~ Donald Trump’s response to a question at the third Presidential debate about accepting the election results.

Yep… that one put me over the edge.

Donald Trump believes that the only way he will be defeated in this election is that it will be rigged by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party. Add that idiocy to hundreds of his other idiocies, and I can only have one response:

Because of him, I’m with her.

Anyone who speaks with me, reads my blog posts, or follows me on social media knows how I feel about the 2016 Presidential election. My decision about who I was NOT going to vote for had been made over a year ago.

donald-trumpI first came out against Donald Trump’s candidacy in a November 2015 blog post – Trump America.  In that post I touched on a few key issues – his lack of discernible platform, his racism, his misogyny. You know… the hits! I also compared his early campaign to the rise of the Nazi Party in 1930’s. I’m somewhat proud of that post, because that association has been repeated by many others over the campaign.

Trump has spent the last eleven months proving I was correct. But I’m no soothsayer. No one could have predicted how low Trump would go… that pit seems to be bottomless.

By April of this year, I was absolutely done. So I wrote another anti-Trump post – Never Trump – My Reasons – outlining specifically why his mere presence in American politics is an embarrassment for our country. At the time I was speaking out to encourage my fellow Pennsylvanians, but my long goal was to deny him the Republican nomination. So it has been a severe blow to my ego that we are still having this conversation!

You can look at my detailed thoughts in the blog posts, but I summarized it all in these two paragraphs from the April post:

At the end of the day, I want my President to represent our country positively and professionally, and be committed to keeping my family safe. That is why a President Trump scares me to death. That is why I insist, “Never Trump.”

He may be rich, successful and a fantastic real estate entrepreneur, but Donald Trump is not qualified to be President of the United States. His attitudes and core beliefs will consistently make enemies around the world, and the indifference or loss of our allies. His hatred and policies will bring war to our country, and to our shores. And they will be fought by our children and grandchildren.

So because of him, I’m with her.

hillary_i_guess_bumper_sticker_10_pkBut its not as simple as that, is it? Yes, Hillary Clinton was going to get my vote on November 8th because I couldn’t invite even the slimmest chance of a Trump victory.

But I made a commitment not to support a candidate until after the debates were over. I wanted the process to run its course, but mostly I wanted to understand the issues to make an informed decision.

I defy anyone to find an example of a candidate who has been more investigated, scrutinized and vetted than Hillary Clinton. Has she made some questionable decisions in over thirty years of public life? Yes, we all have… including every politician who speaks out against her. Have those decisions endangered the safety of Americans? Despite what Trump and the Republicans say about Benghazi and classified emails… No.

The Republicans continue to accuse Clinton, but after multiple investigations and congressional hearings costing millions of taxpayer dollars – no charges have been brought. Clearly there is a conspiracy to protect the Democratic candidate!

redblueBut Trump and the rest of the GOP state that they want to uphold and defend the constitution. Ted Cruz ran his campaign “rising up to reclaim our country, to defend liberty and to restore the Constitution.” All Republicans (and Democrats, honestly) had nothing but praise for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, considered a constitutional scholar of unrivaled skill. And although it is not written specifically in our Constitution, our justice system is built around the concept of “innocent until proven guilty”. Unless you are Hillary Clinton.

I don’t agree with every Clinton position. But if you are thoughtful and really look into the specifics, no candidate is backed on all issues. I do agree with Hillary Clinton on the things that are important to me: climate change, gun control, human rights and gender equality, the economy, and finding peaceful foreign policy solutions.

I also concur with President Obama’s statement that “there has never been a man or a woman more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States of America.” That is true, and not just in comparison to the Republican nominee.

So for these reasons, I’m with her.

I was a Republican for the last twenty-five years. As I grew older I became more concerned with the world around me, and a lot of the credit for that vision goes to my children. At the same time I became less conservative and, honestly, less religious. My switch to the Democratic Party coincided with Trump’s candidacy, but it had been in the works for several years. No politician or party has all the answers, and the whole system is becoming more ridiculous every day. So my decision process follows the path I’d like to set… paths that lead to solutions of peace, love and understanding.

Republicans cannot, or refuse to see that direction.

Trump and a lot of his followers are kings of the smear tactic. Their message is forged with lies told to garner support for their agenda. Now the rest of the party is jumping ship, but to me that is far too late. If a rube like myself saw his true lunacy, why didn’t the rest of you?

So my plan leading up to Election Day? I’m going to print out a copy of the ballot for my district, then circle all of the candidates who at any point supported Donald Trump. They will not get my vote. Even if you have recently jumped off the Donald ship, any past support of him goes straight to your character. Your opponent may or may not get my vote, but you never will.

blogger-image-1243186073Eight years ago, I voted for Barack Obama and then watched the election returns in awe. Apparently, I hadn’t given my country enough credit… I didn’t think I would see a person of color elected President. First thing in the morning on November 8th of this year, I will vote. Then I leave for a business trip to Boston. Later that night I will probably be at the hotel bar avidly watching election returns, proudly toasting the people of our country smashing another glass ceiling.

America is already great, and Hillary Clinton is getting my vote. I’m with her.





Pants On Fire

17 08 2016

When you’re a liar, a person of low moral fortitude, really any explanation you need to be true can be true. Especially if you’re smart enough. You can figure out a way to justify anything.” ~ Samuel Witwer

Former NY mayor Rudy Giuliani spouted this doozie yesterday at a Trump rally in Youngstown, OH… “Under those eight years, before Obama came along, we didn’t have any successful radical Islamic terrorist attack in the United States. They all started when Clinton and Obama got into office.”

Wow… wait a minute… damn. But no one paused, and the crowd went wild.

So I said to myself, “Self… this MUST be sarcasm, because he seems to forget the main event that gives people a reason to know his name.”

This blog post began as an attack on the GOP, highlighting another stunning example of the ineptitude of Donald Trump and his team. My question was going to be, “Has Donald Trump’s propensities to lie and pander to his audience become an airborne virus, affecting the entire team?”

But as my ideas started to coalesce, I began thinking about the larger issue – everyone’s propensity to lie, and accept the lies presented to us. I’ve touch upon this in a previous post, but I’ll try to expand here.

When I was a young man, one of the worst things you could call a person was a LIAR. It was an insult that cut directly to the core, and usually ended up with someone receiving a punch or two. Over the years it became less derisive, bandied about with equivalent terms like “cheater” or “bull shitter”.

You’re a liar. Uttered so matter-of-fact… with so little emotion.

One of the frequent statements I hear and see on social media is, “All of the politicians lie.” This is definitely true. The existence of websites like FactCheck.org and PolitiFact.com support that argument, or why would we need them?

liar-liar-pants-on-fire-your-pants-are-actually-on-fire-400x303It became bothersome to me in the primaries, when both Republican and Democratic candidates were wielding the word like a sword. But when the accusation was offered, no proof was required. That’s a lie. All of these wannabe leaders have embraced this willingness for lying by degrees – fibbing, or trying to be honest, or their brilliance of using the lie to make a point. Okay, he’s not the “founder” of ISIS, but you know what I’m saying… wink-wink…”

Seriously?

The statement by Giuliani is just a microcosm of American politics. The Republican side will say that this is a just a sound bite, part of a larger speech where he talked numerous times about 9/11. Or maybe it is a mistake… an error in the math. I’m predicting numerous excuses, and attacks on the media for highlighting this blunder and not focusing on the real problems in the United States.

I’m guilty of this as well. As an outspoken critic of Donald Trump, I have frequently referred to his PolitiFact Scorecard, that currently has a range of 4% “Truth” to 19% “Pants On Fire” (there are four more levels in between, which is hilarious). I’ve touted Hillary Clinton’s scores in comparison (22%, 2% respectively). They are better… but why should any of us settle for anything less than 100% truth? I know some of the subjects are complex, but anything they say is really just true or false, right?

Nope. Clearly, I’m wrong. And it’s not because candidate statements require room for latitude. It’s because we allow it as an electorate. We demand the truth, but along party lines. Red demands the truth from Blue, and vice versa.

In a perfect world, it’s either a lie or it’s the truth. Why do we accept this huge middle ground, instead of giving it a huge middle finger? What if we demanded the truth from both sides, would we get it?

And what if we demanded it from each other? Now I’m wondering about John Langan’s PolitiFact Scorecard…

Damn… That’s too many questions. I’ll shut up now.





Never Trump – My Reasons

22 04 2016

TrumpCrowd

“Love him or hate him, Donald Trump is a man who is certain about what he wants and sets out to get it, no holds barred. Women find his power almost as much of a turn-on as his money.” —Donald Trump on Donald Trump

I have spent a good amount of time recently criticizing Donald Trump in writing, in conversations and on social media. I have been exhorting my fellow Pennsylvanians to vote for anyone else in the upcoming primary, because I love my state and don’t want to see it embarrassed by supporting such a candidate. But the more important long game is denying Trump the Republican nomination… because so much damage will be done if he is still a candidate after the convention.

I’ve been asked many times why I have taken this “Never Trump” position. I’ve also found it very interesting that when I post something anti-Trump, the only responses I get are negative towards his competition… never citing reasons to vote for him other than he’s different.

My reasoning is simple: he is not qualified and his mere presence on a ballot is an embarrassment to our country. But to be fair, I will expand my thoughts on this very sad subject.

Donald Trump is a manipulator, and his enthusiastic supporters are the “manipulatees”. He is an outstanding marketer, and has hit a nerve with a base that was desperate for this kind of dialogue. While it would be easy to take cheap shots at a small portion of them for their racism and bigotry, that would not be fair. The majority of Trump supporters have had a difficult time for many years, and their candidate has marketed himself to be the answer to their prayers. Trump has recognized a base that has lost traction because of the domestic economy, foreign competition and – by their logical extension – immigrants. Legal or illegal, it doesn’t matter. Mexican or Muslim, that doesn’t matter either.

But as legitimate victims of corporate greed or government policies, they absolutely must have their problems addressed because they are citizens of our country. That failure is a completely different debate. These people deserve better… better than Donald Trump. Because after the rallies are over and the Trump circus heads out of town, his supporters are left with promises for change and no real solutions to achieve it.

Trump has opinions on what is wrong with our current foreign policy and the state of our economy… all gloom and doom. But he offers no real solutions, not a one. When asked for specifics he dodges the questions, only saying that he will have the best people and he will solve all of the problems.

Go to his campaign website and read his “positions”. You will find his policies to be vague and lacking detail. But they have been composed by professional writers on his staff… clearly more professional than the candidate. And Trump continues to confuse and confound everyone by straying from this published platform during speeches and interviews.

I know, I know… all of the other candidates’ plans have come into question. That is part of the political process. But at least they are consistent, and I suggest you read those positions as well. Whether you agree or disagree, you will certainly find Trump’s opponents have put more organization and thought into their plans… and have been consistent in their presentations.

Personally, I disagree with his opinions on energy and climate change, foreign policy, the economy, immigration, guns, etc. But I do agree with his opinions on some things. Maybe…

  • I can agree with his abortion stance, as I am Pro-Life. But I don’t think he is telling the truth about that because he wants to court evangelical voters.
  • I agree that our commitment to NATO is out of balance with other member countries, but I don’t think we should remove ourselves.
  • I’ll also agree with Trump that our system of electing a President is completely flawed – on both sides. But he wouldn’t care if it was working to his advantage.

Above anything else, Trump’s attitude is the main reason I would like him to disappear from the playing field. He respects no one, and changes his position on issues frequently – sometimes several times in the same day. And his quickness to call an opponent a liar flies in the face of the fact that he doesn’t tell the truth.

His hate is unprecedented in an election – at least in this country. That fact alone should stop his campaign in its tracks. Because America has always been – and should always strive to be – better than this.

He is a misogynist. I am constantly amazed at the sheer amount of dismissive and derogatory statements he makes about women. And I seriously question any woman who could possibly consider voting for him.

I’ve said in previous posts that when Trump announced his candidacy, he probably didn’t think he would win. I don’t think he ever wanted to be President, instead to be the trouble-making pundit on the fringes, getting financially rewarding speaking engagements and book deals. But now he’s clearly in over his head, and the American people are bearing the weight.

I don’t think it is possible for voters to agree with everything a candidate puts forth. There are way too many things that matter, so many details. While it’s very easy to blame a President for the economy and other problems, most of the big issues we face are shared by the Senate and House as well.

At the end of the day, I want my President to represent our country positively and professionally, and be committed to keeping my family safe. That is why a President Trump scares me to death. That is why I insist, “Never Trump.”

He may be rich, successful and a fantastic real estate entrepreneur, but Donald Trump is not qualified to be President of the United States. His attitudes and core beliefs will consistently make enemies around the world, and the indifference or loss of our allies. His hatred and policies will bring war to our country, and to our shores. And they will be fought by our children and grandchildren.

We can never let that happen.

Never.

No pics in this post other than the banner as I wanted my opinion to be the focus. As of today, I am still undecided who gets my vote, but I continue to shudder as some candidates stoop to Trump’s level. I will probably wait until there are only two left to make my choice. Hopefully, it won’t be the lesser of two evils…





On Politics, People and Gray Areas

22 02 2016

“He’s a gray area in a world that doesn’t like gray areas. But the gray areas are where you find the complexity, it’s where you find the humanity and it’s where you find the truth.” —Jon Ronson at TED2012

GrayArea

I’d love to say that the above quote was about me, but the author is describing what he terms to be “a semi-psychopath”. I can live with that, because I’ve been confused lately… struggling with gray areas. And not just the ever-increasing acreage on top of my head!

Areas of gray… I just don’t know. It’s been bothering me for weeks now. There have been questions in my head that I can neither qualify nor quantify. Looking at a thesaurus… “ambiguity”, “open to question”. I’m getting close. “Debatable”… that could be it. Although, the word “debate” has been terribly overused these days.

Two months ago I wrote a blog post about Donald Trump, and I was tough on him – there was pretty much nothing gray about paralleling him to Adolf Hitler! I haven’t softened my stance… if anything Mr. Trump continues to provide more examples confirming my assertions.

But I really should take this opportunity to thank the Donald for igniting in me a new awareness of politics. I have never been this interested in a presidential election so early in the process. Trump has done this service to the country in two ways, with supporters delighting in his views and people like me looking forward to the next crazy ass blurb to leap from his mouth. But in spite of this, he is the front-runner for the GOP nomination… a clear dose of reality for me and my silly little blog!

There is not one iota of gray in Donald Trump – his beliefs and policies are dead right, and if you disagree you are dead wrong. And that makes you a loser, or a liar. No gray areas there, thank you very much… and most of the other candidates aren’t much better!

But let’s get back to my boggle. I’ve realized my failure to accept the existence of ONLY two options – the perceived right and the perceived wrong – is the issue I’m wrestling. I’m hard pressed to identify any friends, relatives or candidates that I agree with completely, on every level. The consideration for some people of only an A or B solution eliminates gray areas, rendering compromise impossible.

Look at some of the buzzword battles we concern ourselves with today: Rich vs Poor, Pro-Choice vs Pro-Life, Gun Control vs Second Amendment, Apple vs FBI… just to name a few in the news. All can inspire passion depending on what side of the street you reside. The worst battle is Democrat Blue vs Republican Red, where the possibility of compromise and achieving a positive result is growing more and more elusive. And few conflicts in my lifetime require more time and scrutiny than Black Lives Matter vs Blue Lives Matter, the poster children for two sides not interested in conversation and solutions. With many “colors” speaking so loudly, that poor gray area has no voice and – ironically – is getting killed.

gray-areaThe amount of people who now only consider one of two choices is continuing to grow. I’ve had several conversations with friends – in person and via social media – that have basically ended like this: “If you don’t agree with me about (insert issue) then we can no longer be friends.” Sound familiar?

I completely disagree with several friends regarding the Second Amendment and Gun Laws. I consider some of them to be smart people, and I respect their opinions. So I listen and discuss, and/or read what they have to say. Solutions are in the gray areas.

I readily agree that I can be opinionated, but no more than most people. I also try to admit when I’m wrong. I may disagree with people on some issues, but I am not ready to terminate relationships because of it. If we are friends or family or whatever, I’m trying to respect your opinion out of the gate.

Listening to the politicians frame the dangers of our world – terrorism, death, illegal immigration, too much government, etc. All of that is nothing compared to ignoring the gray areas of opinion, and the cost is the end of opportunities to learn.

That’s too large a price to pay.