Saturday, October 29, 2011

Disliking The President

I keep hearing about President Obama's "bailouts", so I did some checking. The financial institutions bailouts, the Auto Industry bailout, the AIG bailout, Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac bailout and the Bear Stearns bailout were all done under the administration of George W. Bush. So, I'm confused, what bailouts are people laying at the feet of Barack Obama? I keep hearing about the recession being the fault of our current President, but the recession began in December 2007, before Obama took office. In fact, we came out of the recession in June 2009, 5 months after Obama took office. I remember during President Bush's administration, in the final months of it, he and other governmental officials kept assuring us the economy was healthy and we were not in a recession.

And I keep hearing about "Obamacare" and how horrible it is, yet the framework of the National Healthcare plan known as "Obamacare" was modeled after the Massachusetts healthcare plan that current Presidential contender Mitt Romney crafted and introduced. No one is decrying his plan as "socialism".

I can understand not liking the policies of a President, but I don't understand blaming him for something that he's not responsible for. If you don't like the man, say you don't like the man, but don't try to rewrite history and make him responsible for things others brought to pass. And please don't tell me this President is responsible for things that you have stated the previous President could not be responsible for, such as the economy. All I heard when Bush was in office was how the President has very little effect on the economy, but now that Obama is President, everyone's saying the President is solely, 100% responsible for the economy. Ya can't have it both ways!!

I know there are many people who don't like Obama because of the color of his skin, though they won't admit that's their reasoning. They blame all sorts of other things for their dislike, but press them or look deeper into their reasons and you discover they're not being honest. Many people I know who are throwing stones at the President are doing so simply because he's a Democrat. Sad, but true, those people would never give credit to any one who is a member of the Democratic party because they are staunch Republicans. And in their opinion, nothing good can come out of the Democratic party. There are Democrats who hold the exact same views regarding the Republicans.

This is a time in our history when we should all be working together, regardless of the color of our skin, the political party we associate with or the denomination of church we attend. We are all Americans, and we must all work together to make this country a great place to live, again.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Power of What You Say Lingers

A friend of mine posted a quote from Albert Einstein on her Facebook page which caused me to think on how powerful the things we say to children are, and how those things influence that child their entire life. The quote says, in part: ". . .if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid."

I grew up hearing my father tell me I was stupid, worthless, good for nothing, etc. And my older brother constantly reminded me of how ugly I was. They didn't stop this type of talk when I got grown; in fact, the day my brother's daughter was born, in 2004, when we were in the hospital room, I asked to hold my niece and my brother said, "don't let her look at you too long, we don't want her to be scarred for life having to look at your ugly face first thing!" A child's family has the most impact on that child's self-esteem and behavior. Each and every child craves the approval and love of parents and siblings. When the parents and older siblings constantly reinforce negatives in the presence of that child, (s)he will grow up believing what they've heard.

While there are many people who have the strength of character to overcome the negative impact of their upbringing, there are plenty of people who live their entire lives based on those things they heard as a child. That they were stupid or lazy or ugly or weird. There have been teens who committed suicide because of the assessments of their family who have reinforced for years the idea that the teen was not worthy of praise or love.

In my own experience, my father's girlfriend would tell me my dad would tell her how hard I had worked or what a great job I had done, but my father would tell me nothing positive; instead telling me every little thing I did wrong and he never paid me, claiming I hadn't worked hard enough or well enough to "earn" any pay. I eventually gave up trying to do a good job because no matter how good the job was, I only received criticism and negative assessments. And so I grew up to be someone who thought he wasn't good at anything, who didn't deserve to earn a decent wage because I wasn't able to perform as well as others. The first time I received a merit raise on a job, I was convinced they'd given me the raise out of pity, not because they believed I had earned it.

Another lingering result of my childhood is the difficulty I have accepting compliments. It's only been the last few years where I could simply say, "thank you" when someone complimented me. Before, every compliment was returned with a reason why I shouldn't be complimented or that the person giving the compliment was incorrect or just saying so out of pity. I've been told that some of my friends and relatives stopped giving me the compliments because they met with such resistance when they did give them to me.

Yet, all the while, while dismissing the compliments I was receiving, I was desperate to hear the compliments. Of course, when I received a compliment, I would work that much harder in whatever area I had been complimented on. Not trying to get more compliments, necessarily, but trying to deserve the compliment they had given me, already.

And, I have missed out on what may have been great relationships because I would dismiss any interest in me, outright, because I didn't believe anyone could be interested in me, romantically, because I was ugly and undeserving of anyone's love, based on the things my father and brother had told me all my life. My attitude was: "who could love someone as screwed up and unlovable as me?"

I also didn't pursue some areas of talent that had manifested in my life because when I did something like draw a picture, my father would automatically say it was rubbish and that I should leave the art to my brother who was considered mega-talented. I was in my late 20's before I began to pursue the dream of drawing, again. And much to my surprise, I was told by friends that I was okay. I even sold a drawing, once. That was a HUGE ego boost!

If you have children or grandchildren, nieces or nephews, remember to encourage them and compliment them on a regular basis. Don't harp on the negatives in their lives, concentrate on their assets. Yes, it's necessary to point out negative behaviors, but when you do, don't constantly remind them of their negatives. I am not a model, and never could win any type of contest based on my looks, but I've not the ugliest face on the planet, either. It would have been nice as a child to not be reminded every single day that I was ugly. Trust me, I am aware of my looks, and the flaws therein, but in the eyes of God, I'm one of the most beautiful people on the planet. So, even if you have a child in your life who isn't the cutest thing to ever grace the planet, don't tell them they're ugly! They know they're not gorgeous, but they need to hear what there is about them that's positive and good, not what they're lacking.

If a child isn't good at one thing, help them find what they are good at, and encourage them in that endeavor. Praise them for their determination, if nothing else. The compliment on how hard they try will help them become better at whatever they attempt. Just always remember, the things you say to a child will be with them the rest of their lives. Make it positive and uplifting!

Monday, October 24, 2011

WikiLeaks & Governmental Secrecy

When I entered the United States Air Force in 1983 I underwent a security background investigation performed by the FBI and the US Government. This was done because I would be exposed to certain military secrets and the military and government wanted to be assured that I could be trusted with that information. As time passed, my security clearance was upgraded, especially after I applied to be assigned to Air Force One.

Back then the media in the US were respectful of the need for certain matters to remain secret and they didn't try to discover certain avenues of information due to the understanding that there were some things the public is better off not knowing and with the understanding that if that information were made available to the American public it would also be available to the enemies of the Republic. Today, that respect and understanding is sorely lacking. The media, along with many of the citizens of this nation believe nothing should be kept confidential or secret; that every scrap of information and data held by the US military and government should be broadcast to every corner of the country. Journalists even brag about going after sensitive, confidential information.

The release of some half-million documents on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan by WikiLeaks put the lives of our military service members at risk. While Mr. Assange may claim that the world has a right to know, the fact of the matter is by releasing those documents he gave the enemies of the United States information that compromised not only the safety of our troops, but our ability to fight the wars in those countries efficiently and effectively. Whether you agree with the wars or not, the safety and security of our military personnel must, and should, be our utmost priority.

Yes, there have been those in government who have abused the rules for confidentially and security to perpetrate frauds and hide ethical violations, and in those cases, the ones responsible should be found and punished, but you cannot justify doing away with the secrecy needed within the government and the military because a few people have abused the system. That would be tantamount to dismantling the New York City Police Department because there have been some corrupt cops in the ranks. Chaos, lawlessness and anarchy would be the end result.

WikiLeaks, unfortunately, hasn't bothered to be selective in the information it has released. They simply release every bit of information regardless of whom it hurts or whom it puts in danger. If they had chosen to only release information that shed light on abuses of power while withholding information that shed no such light or information that could cause a citizen or a service member of this nation to be killed, I would applaud them! I cannot, however, condone the actions of these dangerous people when men and women who were trying to protect this nation lost their lives because this organization wanted to make a name for itself and did so at the expense and peril of those who fought and died to give them the right to express their opinions.