The People Ignored or Ignore?



Obama’s Journey: All Aboard!!!!

“All aboard?” The conductor cries out.  The people, men, women, and children file in.  The train fills quickly.  Finally, after what are only mere minutes, the engine turns.  Steam, or today, diesel fumes, billow out the pipes.  We are off on a road of no return. It is another election season. In truth, these never really begin nay end.  The cycle is as the chug-chug of any locomotive; it is continuous, monotonous, a wearisome drone.  The series starts as it always does, with hope, dreams of change, and the catechetic realization that the Messiah has come.  Soon we see this redeemer is but a man or woman, a meager mortal.  He, be he the President of the United States, the Libyan “Leader,” the “boy next door,” the “good girl,” you or me is not the savor we imagined.  

Days, weeks, or months pass.  It might even be a near three years. Nonetheless, sooner or later, perchance, all along, we realize he or she did not liberate us from all that keeps us down.  Indeed, after a while, the people proclaim Ignore this Mr. President. You already ignore.  Yet, in truth, the writer just as most the rest of us ignored reality all along.  The promises we attributed to Candidate Obama were not as we thought we heard. On any and most every subject, our redeemer realized as he or she pledged.  The problem was, as it is, we ignored, as we do today, the obvious.

Our rescuer never had omnipotent power.  He did not come with the supreme excellence we saw in the blinding lights of a projected image.  He was, as he is cautious, conservative and well connected.  She too has her flaws.  Diplomacy? That was never her style.  She Demands. Now he commands.  The President, just as the Philanthropist, is the Chief.  How did they achieve such authority and acclaim, we the people anointed, appointed and bestowed powers upon them that allow them to speak for us.  We knew who he or she was.  Yet, we told ourselves, in time, what was would be different. Hence, with all the others, we hopped onboard. Inconvenient realities?  Statements and actions contrary to what we wanted to believe? Ah, the public said in harmony, these too will pass.

In 2008 the people could have heard what hearkens forward to today’s veracity.  Obama Supports FISA Legislation, Angering Left  As Senator, Barack Obama forgave the indiscretion of wiretaps.  He voted for what was characterized as the “compromise Bill.”  The compromiser was conciliatory months before he was elected.  Six days later, other actions prompted the headline Obama’s Supreme Move to the Center, just as he has consistently done as President. Perhaps those no longer aboard think of tax breaks and the recent reforms foregone and agreed upon.  The President still does.  The question is will he again  concede and why might this be a possibility? We the people ignored the power of our silent approval

People persuaded or desperate to believe act as parents of a very young and irresistible child.  You may have seen these, easily swayed by cuteness, Moms and Dads on the train.  The tot held dearly in the arms of those who love him or her defies any and every request.  Still, Mom and Pop smile.  Looks or words of scorn are set aside.  Parents tell themselves the behavior is but a phase. Besides, in the moment, seconds after the transgression, the child cried out, “I will listen Mom.”  “I will not do it again.”  Daddy, “I did not mean to . . ”  Just as the caregivers, the bandwagon forgives the unforgivable.  

Oh, you protest. “He lied.”  “She told an untruth.” “What of the promises, those broken and the ones now characterized as a work in progress?”  Well, there always were assurances and excuses.  The need to compromise, at least temporarily is a truism, when needed.  One can say that the unfilled vows are of this milieu of compromise..

It is we who pledged much, who pulled the wool over our own eyes.  When we climbed on board we chose to suspend disbelief.  Now we scream.

I am so angry, frustrated, depressed . . . .  pick an appropriate descriptive adjective. This is a BAD deal.  It would have been far better to have a drawn a line –  A LONG TIME AGO.   You CANNOT fix the deficit problem simply by cutting  . . .

Others muse “I hate Obama,”  It seems “support for Obama depends” on the person.  Objective observers, if there are any, laugh.  How silly the scene.  Humans blame others for what they feel.   The President did as he said he would do on the campaign trail, for the most part, with few exceptions.  Indeed, how many of us when immersed in realities out of our control, acknowledge that perchance, we must take a different path?

Mister Obama is no different than the child who charms a Mom or Dad.  Just as any “newborn” does, Barack endeared himself to us by being a novel entrance into our mundane lives.  “He is cute!” exclaimed and enthusiastic country.  Magazine covers were devoted to his appearance.  President Beefcake? was quite the comer.  On board that train, heads turned.

You may recall, before “Barry” Obama ever took office a headline read, Time Nears Completion of Every Possible Obama Cover Variation.  Joseph Biden also captivated, proclaimed, “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” Biden said. “I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”  How could a bandwagon of people resist that dazzling smile, the cheerful disposition, and the brilliant mind, all in one man?  America did not.

I recall my own experience.  As someone who did not support Senator Obama for President, I too stood in line. I drove miles and waited for hours just to see and hear him.  A crowd of thousands packed the stadium.  We endured heavy rain as we waited.  Yet, all remained patient.  Once the doors opened, the ample audience climbed on board.  Another long delay did not quell enthusiasm.  Nor did the countless oddities.  I listened and heard the masses applaud pronouncements that were and are contrary to the supposed “Progressive” platform.  I wondered, as did a Sun Sentinel Reporter.  The day after the “demonstration” of love and idolatry, Anthony Man penned, Did Obama know where he was for Sunrise rally?

In those days, the American people ignored the glaring contradictions and deluded themselves in regards to the challenges.  As a nation, we were enamored.  The possibility that someone might show us the way entranced the electorate.  People “hoped” this charismatic gentle man, “No Drama Obama” would be the calm after the storm.  Thus, with abundant anticipation, people said, ‘Come on board Barack.” Be our Commander-In-Chief.  Do as the public thinks should be done even if you never said you would.

A President should lead.  A President should stand for something.  A President should not be afraid of speaking bluntly –  to those who oppose him politically, to those who support him, to the American people.

Today, these same individuals utter in disgust or with much “disappointment” in a man who is as he told us he would be, ” You have on occasion demonstrated that you know how to do that. ”  Innumerable inquire with seemingly infinite support, Mister President,” Why did we not hear that blunt speech as this crisis was developing?”

In 2008 you inspired people with your words, with your call to something better…. Increasingly, many of us are giving up, pulling back, because we find we are not listened to.  Our concerns, if not ignored, are dismissed.

So go ahead Mr. President.  Ignore me.  Ignore all the voices that have been trying to explain to you, trying to help you help this country.  You might as well.  It seems as if you have been ignoring us all along.

In truth, it took two.  Hand-in-hand  we traveled with our peers, the future President, and together we gave rise to the rally cries.  Obama is the Change.   We have hope.  We believe, “Yes, we, he can!”  Once we were all aboard we proclaimed in unison, Senator Obama has the Audacity to Reclaim the American Dream..  He was indeed the candidate with the compelling biography. His mere presence propelled us to become passengers.  Today, together on the train once more, riders offer only remorse.

In the days and years to come, persons who never boarded the train, people who remained stalwart on the platform at the station will express the sentiment; once again.  The public ignored the candidate who is now President..  Just as assuredly passengers will shriek as they have “There are achievements.   I do not deny that.  But they are far from what we were promised, far from what we had reason to expect.”  Indeed historians and scribes will reason. Nonetheless, proclamations will persist, and defensive postures will seek solace in the safety of a crowd..

People will adopt a plea .”Perhaps it is arrogant to think my personal thoughts are of any value to anyone other than myself.  Yet when I offer them, people respond.  So long as they do, I will from time to time offer them.  As I did yesterday.  As I am doing today.”  Hmm?  Might these words be as candidate and President Obama would say?  As long as there are people aboard I am “fired up.” “Ready to go.” Climb onboard Americans.  Get ready for another ride.

References. Resources. Rally ‘Round and Ignore . . .

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Shooting Safeguards. A Society Armed

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copyright © 2011 Betsy L. Angert.  Empathy And Education; BeThink or  BeThink.org

Once again, Americans are up in arms or perchance, better armed and dangerous.  Only little more than a week into 2011, citizens have had to confront their fears, feelings, all at gunpoint.  It began on a calm, clear Saturday.  In a Safeway Store Tucson parking lot Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords held one of her customary Congress on the Corner events.  It was January 8, 2011.  Friends and admirers from each political Party turned out.  Suddenly, cordial chatter turned icy cold. gunshots shattered the calm.  People were slaughtered.  Some survived.   However, as a nation, we were all wounded.

Retorts followed.  Seemingly, a culture was changed, or was it?  Just as has occurred, many times in the recent past, people quickly took sides.  Blame was ballied about.  Solutions were also presented.  Some argued for stricter gun control laws.  Others used the occasion to validate a need for less restrictive restraints on gun ownership.  Persons who held a position similar to the most prominent victim proposed a need to protect themselves.

On January 14, 2011, Grand Old Party Representative, Louie Gohmer of Texas, Proposed a Bill that would allow members of Congress to carry guns on Capitol Hill.  Days earlier, after the infamous Tucson, Arizona  shooting, several congressmen vowed to keep the weaponry they already own closer to their chests.  In light of the recent event in Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords home District, one that cast a permanent dark shadow over the lives of many,  Utah Representative Jason Chaffetz expressed his firm belief, it would be best to bring his Glock 23 with him when he meets with constituents.  This long time gun-owner is not alone in his position.  Other members of Congress chimed in.  

Indeed, this distinctive stance is not solely a Republican posture.  Heath Shuler, a Democrat from North Carolina, Vice-Chairman of the House Sportsmen’s Caucus stated that he too would pack heat when on the city streets, even when he strolled the streets of a the highly secured Capitol.   Steve Cohen, another Congressman who sits on the Democratic side of the aisle offered his reflection.  “It’s not that I’m going to be like Wyatt Earp,” declared the Tennessee Representative.  However, he noted, he would reapply for his permit to carry a concealed weapon.

Questioned about lawmakers’ decision to take matters into their own hands, to carry concealed weapons, Terrance Gainer, the Senate’s Sergeant-At-Arms and former Washington, District of Colombia Police Chief, offered his concern.   Gainer told ABC’s “Good Morning America,” “I don’t think it’s a good idea,” The “peace officer” avowed, ”I don’t think introducing more guns into the situation is going to be helpful.”  Nonetheless, just as Educators did only a few years ago, Congresspersons stand strong against gun restraint.

Original © copyright 2006 Betsy L. Angert

School Shooting Safeguard; Arm Educators

In the last few weeks, [Fall of 2006], school shootings have dominated the news.   The frequency of these seems to be increasing.   People throughout the nation are panicking; what are we to do?   President George W. Bush spoke of this situation in his Saturday, October 7, 2006, radio address.   He proclaimed, “We will bring together teachers, parents, students, administrators, law enforcement officials, and other experts to discuss the best ways to keep violence out of our schools.”   Conferences have been called.   The problem has been discussed for years.  

President Bill Clinton convened such a forum in 1999.   Educators, policy-makers, law enforcement officials, and adolescent-development specialists came to the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study on May 21, 2002.   Each group was equally intent on investigating the causes and effects of Lethal School Violence.   In the symposiums, experts sought solutions.   Everyone wanted [and wants] to protect our progeny.  

At the time, programs were initiated; yet, the violence continued.   In the last month or more, we as a nation are wondering; is there no end?   Will our children, our Educators, we, as a society, ever be safe?

Citizens again ask how can we secure our schools and shield our offspring from societal harm.   Finally, an answer comes from a Wisconsin lawmaker.   Representative Frank Lasee proposed that Teachers and Administrators carry guns daily and use these when necessary.  “In the wake of school shootings in Wisconsin, Colorado, and Pennsylvania” he would “introduce legislation that would allow teachers, principals, administrators, and other school personnel to carry concealed weapons.”  At the time, the Republican Representative believed our communities will be safer if everyone were armed.

Unrelated To Gangs

We know that communities have long been concerned with gang violence.   However, what has occurred in recent years differs.   On January 29, 1979, individual outbursts came into our collective consciousness.   According to the Indianapolis Star, “Brenda Spencer, 16, opened fire with a .22-caliber rifle at an elementary school across the street from her San Diego, California home.   She killed two people and wounded seven because she `didn’t like Mondays.'”

Upon hearing this story, our country held its breath as it does now.   Jointly we release a communal sigh.   Still the violence increases as is evident in these last five weeks.   There is talk.   What measures can we take to guard against weaponry?

Cable New Network reported, metal detectors were introduced in educational institutions after a 1992 shooting.  

In 1994, the federal government began requiring school safety programs in an attempt to crack down on violence on school grounds.   Many schools introduced metal detectors to check for guns, knifes and other weapons . . . although the Supreme Court eventually overturned the federal requirements, most school safety measures remained in place.   In Los Angeles, California for instance, [as of 1997] all high schools still use some sort of metal detectors.

However, it is clear, these actions do not secure the premises.   Zero tolerance campaigns were invoked.   Violations are and were numerous.  

Parents, administrators, teachers, and staff were told to observe student behaviors; they were asked to attend to warning signs.   Discipline problems were considered predictors; yet, this was not always the case.   Offenders did not only come from within the school system, they enter and exist throughout society.   Witness the killings within the last month or more [before and during September 2006.]

Machines and Mandates

Whatever we choose to reflect upon, when looking at violence in our schools, our homes, or in our airports I ask us to bear in mind that traditional methods for preventing violence are not working.   I think we must look at why people do what they do.

Violent crime continues to be a major problem and I suspect this will continue as long as we look for simple solutions.   I observe, when we as a country, focus on machines and mandates as a means for deterring violence in schools and within society at-large, we ignore the violator.   I believe the life of the perpetrator is most telling. This is the key component in a crime that can be influenced and altered.   If we address it early enough and treat root causes sincerely and seriously we can make a difference.

More Are Killed

However, instead, we look at guns, knifes, box cutters, gels, powders, matches, lighters, and bombs as though these are the killers.   We work tirelessly to prevent these from entering the systems, schools, airports, office building, and prisons.   Rarely do we address the authentic reason for killings.   People and what goes on in their heads, hearts, and souls cause death.

I propose we look at life, at our daily existence and the stress our culture promotes, rather than hypothesize; how might we use technology and authority to control the minds and misdeeds of men and women.   I theorize if we assess the way in which we live and the life standards we choose to accept, then, we might be able to prevent these carnages.  

I request that you, dear reader, consider what passes for the “common wisdom.”   Is it sensible?   Please ponder accepted theories and simple solutions with me.   Then ask yourself, what might we do to truly change what comes?

On Monday, October 2, 2006, a deeply distressed man entered a one room Amish schoolhouse.   He excused all the male pupils and personnel.   He was interested in only the young female students.   It is not known whether the church-going milkman intended to molest the girls; though there is evidence to suggest that he did.   However, what is certain is that the perpetrator shot these little lovelies before taking his own life.   Pennsylvania schoolhouse killer Charles Carl Roberts IV revealed in a telephone call to his wife, at the age of twelve he molested two young relatives.   Events of 20 years past haunted the man throughout his life.   Guilt took Roberts’ life and the lives of several young innocent Amish girls.

Five days earlier, in Bailey, Colorado an armed drifter walked into Platte Canyon High School.   He then entered a classroom.   The transient demanded that all the men leave the area.   He wanted to be alone with the girls he corralled into a classroom.   According to a student and her mother, Duane R. Morrison seemed to prefer smaller, blonde girls.   This disturbed wanderer with his quarry of petite flaxen hair maidens proceeded to sexually assault some of the six young girls he held hostage.   Ultimately, he shot one before killing himself.   Some social scientists theorized `girls are the targets in school violence.

MSNBC News reports revealed, after the crime, “at their home in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Morrison’s stepmother said she and her husband, Bob Morrison, have no record of him being, having any trouble before.”   “We just know the way he was raised,” Billie Morrison said, declining to elaborate.  “How was he raised?   Some experts think the relationships established in the lives of the killers might offer answers.   In the series of recent rampages there is a seemingly notable consistency.  An article in the Christian Science Monitor observed . . .

“The predominant pattern in school shootings of the past three decades is that girls are the victims,” says Katherine Newman, a Princeton University sociologist whose recent book examines the roots of “rampage” shootings in rural schools.

Dr. Newman has researched 21 school shootings since the 1970s.   Though it’s impossible to know whether girls were randomly victimized in those cases, she says, “in every case in the US since the early 1970s we do note this pattern” of girls being the majority of victims.

A Complex Problem

Prior to these two incidents, the focus and fantasy was on troubled adolescents.   These were thought to be the persons responsible for such horrendous school crimes.   Some behavior experts hypothesized; violent young persons had been bullied in school.   They were browbeaten at home.   These youthful aggressors were tormented by their own inner struggles.   They act out after years of deep-seated frustration.  Might we consider the cause and effects of troubles early in life.

Forensic psychiatrist Keith Aldo says mental health problems, especially among young people, too often go ignored and untreated.   “Everybody in the class often knows who the troubled kids are.   Parents know.   Teachers know,” he says.   “And if anything we should know that there is a preventative bit of medicine, psychological medicine to be dispensed in our classrooms earlier than we have been doing.”…

He says unresolved issues can continue to haunt a child throughout life.   “The more that you can express your feelings of fear, the more that you can talk about your reactions to terrible events, the less that those events are going to be toxic to you later on.”

Aldo says airing such concerns helps build a stronger and safer community.   Kenneth Trump, president of National School Safety and Security Services, agrees.   He says the community must work at making schools safe places.   “It happens by making sure that the first and best line of defense is a well-trained, highly alert school staff and student body who are aware of changes in behavior of other students as well as strangers who are walking around in parking lots and the hallways of our schools.”

I believe the more recent incidents confirm the quandary has many causes.   The dilemma is not limited to youth acting out against their harassing, haranguing, or hounding classmates.   These incidents are not only a reaction to discrimination from peers.   Parents are not the central problem.   This transgression is as all others, complex.  

The complexities that cause violent crime in our nations schools are similar to those that create terrorism. Rex A. Hudson reflects in a report prepared under an Interagency Agreement for the Federal Research Division..

Terrorism usually results from multiple causal factors – not only psychological but also economic, political, religious, and sociological factors, among others.   There is even a hypothesis that it is caused by physiological factors, as discussed below.   Because terrorism is a multi-causal phenomenon, it would be simplistic and erroneous to explain an act of terrorism by a single cause, such as the psychological need of the terrorist to perpetrate an act of violence.

For Paul Wilkinson (1977), the causes of revolution and political violence in general are also the causes of terrorism.   These include ethnic conflicts, religious and ideological conflicts, poverty, modernization stresses, political inequities, lack of peaceful communications channels, traditions of violence, the existence of a revolutionary group, governmental weakness and ineptness, erosions of confidence in a regime, and deep divisions within governing elites and leadership groups.

International terrorists, sadistic student rebels, and lone executors have a common bond; society and stressors impact their lives severely.

Student’s killers are often exposed to frequent slights from peers or parents, just as some terrorists feel slighted by our treatment of their culture and religious practices.   These snubs are evident if society as a whole and those functioning within the system choose to recognize them.   The stress in young lives can be reduced or eliminated if we attend to these grievances quickly.

Frustration and Persecution

We might realize that lone shooters, those that walk into our schools also are victims of a fragile upbringing.   There are reasons that these solitary shooters might aim at young girls, blondes, or the most innocent among us.   Again, if we as a community choose to be aware of what we are creating for our children, we can save them before they become adult or adolescent killers.

Religious or political zealots, the defiant, defensive, and the righteous also are products of their environment.   They may act out against nations or peoples; still, the source of their rage is apparent if we choose to look for it.   Each of these executors feels persecuted and why not.

In a world where frustrations are ignored or attributed to authority figures, women, or circumstances beyond our control, there is much to feel frustrated about.   Students feel stuck in school, at home, or in lives that demand much of them and give little in return.   Adults, loners and cult followers alike, feel lost in the unresolved circumstances of their past and present.   They want to affect the future.   However, in the future, as in the present, and the past, people are not the focus.   Folly and failed systems are.

We evaluate preventive mechanized and legal measures.   We disregard the fact that these are not effective.

I propose we look at life, at our daily existence and the stresses our cultures promote.   I theorize if we assess the way in which we live, the life standards we accept, then, we might be able to prevent these mass and individual tragedies.

Can we as a nation protect ourselves from aggressors?   I contend, guns cannot prevent a crime.  Only if we face the genuine pain that prompts their reactive behaviors will our children, our Educators, and our communities be safe.

References For Reflections . .  .



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Bullies; The Mystery





Teaching Tolerance

copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

Since I was a child he hounded me.  She stalked me.  I was bullied, intimidated, tormented not by a single person, but by a throng of thoughts.  Why did another child, adolescent, nay adult ever bully me.  What was it about me that kept me safe from harm or a persecutor’s pointed proclamations?  

I was a chubby child, a tubby teen. As I aged I gained greater girth.   Yet, no one, friend, family, or foe, if I even had one, said a word.  I was not cool.  Nor was I part of a clique.  Never was I the Teacher’s pet.  I worked to be invisible.  Yet, the “in crowd,” the “geeks,” and the “goons,” all gravitated towards me in a manner that said I was accepted.  I know not why.  Popularity escaped me, perchance, because I ran from fame and fortune.  Facades were and are far from my favorites.  

I was genuinely fond of many of my peers; I did engage in intimate interchanges.  Mostly, I spent my time with my Mom and Dad.  That alone might have made me an object of ridicule.  It did not.  Consistently, I was told I was different.  Yet, this was never stated with disdain.  In truth, peers seemed quite appreciative.  The words were offered with infinite appreciation; which I never understood.

Being different, in my life was not easily defined.  True, I was not the conventional characterization of “unique,” another word often ascribed to me.   I was not a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, nor Trans-Gender,.  That alone, I trust saved me from bullying that is sadly, more likely. Still, I never fit in, not as a child.  Nor, as an adolescent or an adult.  I was never among the thirty percent (30%) that are harassed in offices.

It seems being out of the norm is enough to spur a bully.  I am that, or at least that is what other think.  I was not a person who sought attention.  If anything, I shied away from it.  I was not out-there, an extravert; nay an introvert.  I was just I, me, myself.  Fascinating to me, innumerable individuals told me, tell me, I am outgoing.  I feel that I maybe I am effusive in one-on-one exchanges.  However, I am extremely reserved.  I am extraordinary reflective. I prefer not to be noticed.  To be thought unusual has never been my desire.

Thus, I ask, as is the topic, “bullying”. What is the reason for it?  Why are some singled out?  The theme is discussed and debated ad nausea, as it needs to be.  Yet, each time I hear another story I think, why was I left out?  

As a younger person I did as the population does today, daily.  Virtually everyone voices disgust.  Typically, the thought is, bullying occurs in schools.  Granted, we see it on the playground, in classrooms, and amongst young persons in cyberspace.  On any avenue and on city streets children are victims of other children.  Young men and women are beaten down or beaten up by a bully or a gaggle of gangsters.  Adults are also abused.  At times an oppositional oppressor can be called husband or wife.

There is reason for infinite concern.  What are we as a culture to do?  Schools stress the importance of Building a Bully-Free Zone.  Teachers attend in-services.  Moms and Dads lament.  Relatives work to reason with the abused or the abuser.  

Moms might muse; what will occur to my child when he or she is out of my sight?  Dad’s deliberate.  Will my little one be taken down, taken out, taunted, or will people talk until Max or Maxine can take it no more?  Experts say, if you have grounds for concern, at least there are Clues that your child is bullied. A caregiver can know what to do.

Scared that a sibling, a son or a daughter might decide, suicide is painless, parents and their progeny suffer.  Pupils too.  Even persons no longer in school, depressed dropouts and profound professionals harassed in an office place go through what they believe they can no longer endure.  Lest we forget the cyber bullied.  Individuals whose home life is unbearable can choose to take their lives, as well.  

When an Earthly existence is cut short. the scars reach far and wide.  Society, as a whole is affected.  In anticipation of one more life taken, the public proclaims, “We must find a solution.”  

Schools sponsor programs.  Communities offer classes..  Some companies place harassment in the workplace. As a high priority  Television channels and cinematographers promote educational action plans.  Documentaries “deal” with the issue.  You may wish to witness or watch either of two presentations. Bullied is a Teaching Tolerance documentary film.  Cable News Network offers How To Stop Bullying.

While these wondrous productions inform us as a society, just as has occurred for centuries, the problem persists.  Might the reason for repeated offenses be right in front of our eyes?  I know not.  I only surmise.

As I reflect on my own childhood and transition from a teen to today, I see one vital thread.   I think this string saved me.  It was a gift my parents gave me, and the reason those who I encountered thought my world “weird.”  It is the relationship we have, or I have, with self, security, safety, and sanity.  (An aside; Even when people used the word to reference my truth, they reassured me; it was a good thing.)  I had doubts.

Yes. I was never sure of my self.  Self-confident was not a term that described me .  My ego strength is near nil.  Nonetheless, I was bequeathed the right to be me.  I had no need to worry about what Mommy or Daddy thought of what I said, did, felt, imagined, or was.  My parents practiced as they preached.  “No one has the right to tell you what you should think, say, do feel, or be!”

Revenge was not a reality in my world for I was taught to embrace empathy.  Even now, the words whirl in my head.  I was taught to think of how my choices might hurt another, and thus, harm me.  “Do whatever makes you happy, as long as it does not hurt any one.  I always wondered if my Berenice and Herman had realized at an earlier age as I later did.  When we cause another sorrow, we will experience the pain in-kind, sooner, if not later.

Yet, as much as I was encouraged to have compassion for others, I was taught to take good care of myself.  Never was I expected to be silent.  Question authority and all else that exists, is the standard in my family.  Silence is not golden  When we stifle ourselves, stuff it, or shut down, scars build.  

Caring conversation built character and created a strong, sincere connection.  Be it in a classroom, a crowd, a city boulevard, or an office cubicle, I was persuaded to be passionate in my prose.  My parents certainly were.  Each was my example.  Perchance, my classmates considered me, theirs.  I know not.

I am only certain that many expressed a wish for the authentic closeness, the ease of conversation, the openness that existed between my parents and me.

Hence, I theorize.  Might we best teach the children when we teach ourselves to be benevolent, boisterous, and big enough to be ourselves and to allow our offspring to be who they authentically are?

Rather than work to reason with a bully or offer rationalizations to the one being oppressed. Could we instead instill a sense of self in everyone, regardless of age.  Perchance then, all persons in our society will be as I am.  Befuddled by the lack of bullies in my life.




Bullied is a Teaching Tolerance documentary film that chronicles one student’s ordeal at the hands of anti-gay bullies and offers an inspiring message of hope to those fighting harassment today. It can become a cornerstone of anti-bullying efforts in middle and high schools.

References for a reality realized daily .  .

Disconnected In a Connected World



The Break Up

copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

Today many businesses are disconnected in a connected world.  Corporations seek customers.  Potential purchasers can access concisely presented persuasive information.   Clients are sold products.  Support?  Some may be available sometimes .  Web pages are Marketing Tools.  No real relationships emerge let alone evolve.  Technology used serves the organization. Commerce has too little concern for consumer needs. Executives and enterprises pay less attention to what is authentically desired.  Conversation.  In the search for potential patrons companies ignore what is right in front of their faces and in their hearts; people are gregarious.  

Humans are social animals.  We each crave a connection.  Facebook and Twitter founders understood this.  The statistics overwhelming show this.  Yet, rather than embrace what is real, organizations opt for what causes a break-up.  

The results of ongoing research shows that organizations have begun to invest in social media, but barely.  Only those companies who respond to purchasers’ real lives seem to see a need for a truer Internet experience.  Most simply stumble into the medium blindly.  Few realize that what occurs in cyberspace is a conversation.  Hence, businesses, big and small, for profit and not, use sales and marketing approaches to seek loyalty or brand awareness.

Organizational budgets reflect a lack of understanding; America is “wired.”  Please peruse the profound truths evident in a recent Pew Research Center Publication, The Future of Online Socializing, Older Adults and Social Media or Gadget Ownership.

In relationship to the technology and the Internet, most relevant for many corporations is what The Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm considers the Top 10 Customer Experience Incompetencies.

Authentic interest and Interactions are near void.  Instead, reliance on the pitfalls is prevalent.  Frequently, corporate web sites, tools available to prospective customers, and current clients are marketing ploys.  Employees are not served much better.  At times, participatory platforms are accessible.  Yet, even these do not fully engage consumers.  Unknowingly, businesses build barriers when bridges need to be built.  Perchance, organizations will look at what is thought to be wise and wonderful, then, assess.   Why is it that conventional wisdom does not work well? In the World-Wide-Web  

Study: Companies invest in social media for loyalty purposes

August 31, 2010

A conclusion that can be drawn from overall survey results is that the use of social media as a marketing tool is still in the early experimental stage. “Marketers across all sectors are involved in social media,” said DMA Research Manager Yoram Wurmser. “However, after five or six years in the space, and growing social media budgets, marketers are still testing the waters to figure out what works, with the incentive to accelerate their efforts being driven by consumers’ rapid adoption of this trend.” In fact, research from Nielsen released this week shows that consumers are spending 43% more time on social media than a year ago, making social networking and blogs the top online activity followed by online games and email.

One of the key revelations from the research is that the absolute dollar amount marketers are setting aside for social media is low:

  • When asked what percentage of their company’s overall marketing budget is spent on social media, the largest group, covering 24% of survey takers, selected “don’t know”
  • 17% of respondents said they allocated only 1% of their annual marketing budget to social media
  • 16% said they allocate 4-5%
  • Smaller companies with tighter budgets are significantly more likely than large companies to say they spend almost 50% of their marketing budget on social media.

Another key finding reveals a lack of metrics for success differentiated by objective:

  • When asked to identify the most important measure of social media success, nearly two-thirds of respondents selected “don’t know
  • Of those who identified a measurement, the largest group, covering 20%, said engaging customers to respond and provide feedback
  • 65% of respondents said they’re not using any listening tools to monitor what their customers are saying about their brand

Organizations often adopt strategies that experts say offer near certain doom. Tycoons think “If they build it, buyers will come.”  Executives “Follow the leaders,” rather than distinguish themselves or recognize the unique world that is theirs alone.  “Blatant sales pitches” scatter the landscape . . . and lose sales as well as once loyal support.  “Social media is treated as though it were a one-way street, an island, or the work of lowly staffers.”

The Ten Harsh Truths About Corporate Websites are avoided.  Sales and Marketing departments are assigned a task that is not their specialty, rather than engaging in a conversation, they create a monologue.  Information Technology departments are seen as soothsayers rather than divisions that do well in the delivery of complex tools.  Organizations mistakenly believe their webpage is all about them.  Thus, a greater disconnect is established.  Disconnects and subsequent breakups between consumers and companies that do not genuinely communicate are common.

References and Resources; Reality of a Connected Customer, Client, Potential consumer . . .

Labor Day 2010; President Obama, Let Labor/America Begin Anew



Labor Day 2010 President Obama Labor Day Speech in Milwaukee, Wisconsin Part 1

President Obama speech Labor Day 2010 on Economy in Milwaukee Wisconsin Part 2

President Obama’s Speech in Milwaukee Wisconsin on Labor Day 9/6/2010 Part 3

Please review and reflect upon text Remarks by the the President at Laborfest

Laborers; Let Us Work For Us



Robert F. Kennedy challenges Gross Domestic Product

copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

On this, another Labor Day the average American finds him or herself underemployed, and over worked.  People see the prospects of unemployment in the rearview mirror and through their front windows.  Loss of jobs appears just around the bend.  Today, might we ponder the fruits of our labor?  In 2010, the twenty-first century, Americans have few dreams.  The future seems dire.  Most of us already receive less in benefits.  Further reductions are on the horizon.  The common folk face greater wage cuts, coupled with the threat of layoffs.  Indeed, a substantial number of citizens claim unemployment.  Those without papers who share this status are not even counted.  People who have been out of work for so long do not qualify for any relief. Certainly, these laborers are not calculated into government statistics.  

Yet, these innumerable individuals are also at a loss.  Quality jobs do not exist anymore.  Proud people sweat and toil or did; still, their lives are torn asunder.  In September 2010, most Americans are economic slaves to masters of industry and a system that starves the “little people.”  This need not be.

True; Presidents and policymakers talk about change.  They give the public  some sense of hope.  We, the everyday people, believe, only to find ourselves once again immersed in the status quo.

Americans, of every political persuasion may find fault with Legislators and those who live larger than most of us can imagine.  Yet, were we to be honest with ourselves we might acknowledge, Chief Executives, Congress, and the Commander-In-Chief are not the problem.  Nor are these the solution.   Change cannot be commanded, commissioned, or controlled by another.  Evolution does not rise from sources outside us.   We must do the work if we are to reap the authentic rewards.

When we do not work for ourselves, we see all that is this September 6, 2010.  Our reality will be our children’s fate and our grandchildren’s future.  Robert F. Kennedy understood this veracity forty-two years ago.  He spoke to the past as prologue.

“Too much and for too long, we seemed to have surrendered personal excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things.  Our Gross National Product, now,  is over $800 million dollars a year, but that Gross National Product- if we judge the United States of America by that- that Gross National Product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage.  It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them. It counts the destruction of the redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and counts nuclear warheads and armored cars for the police to fight the riots in our cities. It counts Whitman’s rifle and Speck’s knife, and the television programs , which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children.

Yet, the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play.  It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages; the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials.  It measures neither our wit nor our courage; neither our wisdom nor our learning; neither our compassion nor our devotion to country; it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.  And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans.”

If we choose to do as we have done, we will achieve as we had in the past. Laborers, let us reflect, and then should we choose, organize as corporate Chieftains and the esteemed elite have.  Let us not work against ourselves or just for wages.  Let us labor for us.

Resources and reference for reality . . .

Of/By/4; The Belly Belatedly Understood



Of/By/4 in 18 minutes By Lawrence Lessig

copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

Dearest Mommy and my natural father . . .

I apologize.  My belly, my bloated body, only belatedly do I understand.  It never was in the genes.  The abundant meat that weighed heavily on my bones was not caused by my chromosomal structure; it was piled on by Congressional and corporately funded campaigns.  Mommy and the husband who helped make me, much to my embarrassment, today I acknowledge my error. I was spoon-fed, and not by the two of you.  Legislators, Lobbyists, and big businesses that place misleading labels on chemically cooked up cuisines put corn fillers on my every plate. I chowed down.  My little body bulged out.  From the inside out, I grew bigger and wider.

I am so sorry.  I did not realize.  Sugar and high fructose corn syrup made me other than pleasingly plump.  I thought it was you, the givers of my DNA, Deoxyribonucleic acid.  I believed that genetic material was my doom.  Oh my parents, trans fats and trans fatty acids made me do it, blow up like a balloon.  

I know I blamed you. Now I understand.  Only your votes could have prevented my childhood obesity.  

Perhaps, the chemicals that clung to the frozen foods we were all fed persuaded you as well.  I remember the ample advertisements that tempted us to indulge.  TV dinners. Yum!  Soda to sip on. Sensational. Potpies and popped corn all cooked in a jiffy.  Delicious!  It seems, in retrospect, our preferred diet did us in.  Fast foods, we thought, bought us time.  Indeed,  these processed products only purchased candidates and ensured greater corporate profits.  

Oh yes; the junk we ate also added pounds, advanced poor health, and did I  mention, help promote people whose claim to fame was the desire for absolute power.  We were appeased and deceived, Corporations and Congressional candidates achieved.  

My dear parents, today, I accept what I was unaware of for the many years I gluttonously gulped on boosted beverages, or swallowed all the overly salty, starchy, sweetened fare. My fat was not yours or mine.  It was theirs. Big businesses gained on my back and yours.

Your apologetic, loving and lumpy daughter . . .

Betsy

References for reflection, food for thought . . .

 

Meet the Meatrix





copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

As you gobble that fine food, be it steak, a frankfurter, roasted chicken, or an omelet, please, sit back relax. Put your feet up and stay a while.  I will furnish the entertainment in the form of a film. Meatrix is fun, fascinating, and far from folly.  This presentation is playful; the message profound.  

You may recall the fairy tales you loved as a child.  The plots varied, although all had elements of mystery.  Adventures were abundant.  Tots were often so engrossed in the tales, they barely noticed that the themes taught a life lesson.  Meatrix is as the fables you once anxiously awaited and even asked others to read aloud to you.

The main characters move you through the story.  Moopheus leads Leo through the world of rolling hills, the family farm, and into . . . Well, I do not wish to tell you the ending.  Please travel with the pair as they stroll along.  Follow them into the meadows and fields.  Allow yourself to suspend disbelief, or embrace mistrust.  Just as Leo, you and I, and the person who shares a meal with you, have a choice.  We can take the blue pill or the red one.  Fantasy or reality; either may be hard to swallow.  Nonetheless, let us indulge. The travel could be delicious . .  . or dreadful.  Are you ready to explore?  If so, let us go.  Let us meet Meatrix.  He will show you the way.  The decision to travel is yours.

If you choose, to meet The Meatrix and Learn About the Issues, you may want to Take Action.  What can you do?  If you wish to, Spread the word.  At least, consider what you eat, where it came from, and what sacrifices were made for your breakfast, lunch, snack(s), or dinner.  Perchance, the “Happy Meal” is not such a bargain or worth the price we pay.

Keep America Safe




Watch CBS News Videos Online

Obama: We Will Do Everything Possible to Keep America Safe

copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

Do you know one?  Perchance your mother, father, brother, or sister is a person you would characterize as lovingly protective.  He or she maybe an individual who works to shield loved ones from harm.  This fine fellow or femme plots and plans in an attempt to prevent any crisis.  People come to depend on caring souls such as he or she.  Indeed, you may be the cautious crier who actively expresses concern for the health and welfare of those you treasure.  It is a tough task, but you, or someone in your life may have assumed responsibility for the well-being of another.  Surely, someone must keep us safe and sane.  One never knows who might lurk or linger in the halls, bathroom stalls, on a plane, boat or train.  Credentials must be checked.  If family and friends cannot safeguard us from the crazies and fanatics certainly, our sweet Uncle Sam will.  

Article II of the Constitution and the American people provide the Commander-In-Chief the authority to protect and defend at all costs, or currently, it would seem so.  Checks and balance be damned, when the consensus within the country is, “We are at war!”

In a time such as this, few reflect upon the parallels in their everyday lives.  Quietly, each of us recalls when we, personally, were at war.  The conflict was covert.  Rarely were we even conscious of what occurred.  Thus, just as we are as children, in adulthood, we oblige.  When asked to remove our shoes in an airport, American citizens, and visitors to this country, do so.  “Put your sweater in the tray.”  Happy, with the prospect that we might avoid a full body search, we smile, and act in accordance with the command.

This is after we handed the Transportation Security Administrators our boarding pass and photograph identification card.  Indeed, as we shuffle off to Buffalo, New York, Billings, Montana, or Bakersfield, California, we succumb to the many demands put before us. The public is now, for the most part, willing to submit to a body scan. Seventy-eight percent of the Americans polled support the use of technology that in the past, would have been considered a physical invasion of privacy.

Although fifty-one percent of the American people who were asked favor racial and ethnic profiling, this action, in truth, is thought politically incorrect.  Nonetheless, archetypal classifications are “acceptable” to more than half the populace.  People prefer to feel protected.  Most trust they will never be subject to unwarranted seizure.  Nor will the use of these X-rays affect their health.  Certainly, Uncle Sam is scrupulous and will not use the images in an unethical manner.  Others are the adversaries.  Authority figures are as Mom and Dad.  They do as they do in our best interest.  

As humans, we long for love, and interpret protective practice as an expression of this caring, or do we?  Might we muse Americans have become inured to the fragility factor. Constantly, especially in this decade, citizens have been told there is reason to fear.  Hence, Americans have become extremely apprehensive.  Paradoxically, the Office of Homeland Security concludes that much of our trepidation is of our own making.

It begins in childhood.  In the last score or so, fearful parents proclaimed, “Do not talk to strangers.”  The neighborhood is on watch.  Playtime must be supervised.  “The world,” Moms and Dads declare, “is not a safe place.”  Indeed, it is impossible to escape the hazards.  Scary people are everywhere.  Nonetheless, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, aunts and of course Uncle Sam will help. Rest assured; “we are doing everything in our power to keep you and your family safe and secure.”

Children were, perchance, comforted.  Today, mothers and fathers ponder their growing pains.  Many reason it is better to cloister a little one.  Thus, parents plan every activity.  From birth forward, it is more than 18 Years in the Making. Cash is stashed for college.  Schools and careers are chosen and charted before a child takes his or her first steps.  Tikes are trained and tested to ensure that they will achieve. Once the standards are set, early in life, our government takes over.  Officials watch our every move and we are comfortable with this.

Americans, compassionately teach their children to be on guard However, as an adolescent medicine specialist at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, Doctor Elizabeth Alderman observes, overprotective parents have left their children with few real-world coping competencies. ”If you don’t have these skills, then it’s very normal to become anxious.”

Diane knows this well. She learned her lessons long before the current trend in parenting.  Darling Diane was but a lass when she discovered that she was not safe.  Decades ago, years before people hid behind locked doors and windows, Diane realized that everywhere she went there was danger.  

In the 1950s the little tike understood, when she walked to school, she did not travel alone.  Her mother marched with her.  Mrs McMahon did not stroll at the young girl’s side.  Nor did the elder woman sweetly saunter just out of sight.  Madame McMahon hung over Diane’s head.  She haunted her darling daughter, and was always in the youngster’s thoughts.

For Diane, it was as it is today for a young patient of Doctor David Anderegg, a Child Psychologist in Lenox, Massachusetts.  As the adolescent spoke with the Professor of Psychology at Bennington College, she said “I wish my parents had some hobby other than me.” Experts appear to agree; being the subject of intense scrutiny can cause a child, of any age, to be anxious.

Diane McMahon concurs.  Whatever she did, Diane could not shake the angst.  Her protective parent influenced her every action; however, not in ways that would benefit the girl or her relationship with her Mom.  

If Diane thought to be with peers, Mom was always in the background of her mind.  When her friends stole makeup from Walgreen’s Pharmacy, Diane did too.  The “culprit” knew she could not keep the cosmetics, at least not at home.  She arranged for a friend of hers, whose Mom and Dad did not go through her drawers, to take the foundation, powder, eye shadow, and mascara.  Each evening these, along with the lipstick and perfume would go home with an acquaintance.  In the morning, on the way to school, all would be returned to Diane.

When classmates said smoking is cool, Diane tried it.  Warnings from her mother, while heard, and alive, loudly in Diane’s head, did not persuade the teen to do what Mom wanted her to do.

She never openly crossed her mother; nor did the girl question Mrs McMahon’s wisdom.  Diane merely hid her heart, the stolen makeup, the cigarettes, and her life.  The mother lived blissfully, ignorant of who her daughter was, and what she did daily.  The two had a good relationship, and seemingly, to this day they do.  However, the hurts, just as the haunts, remain unseen.  

In Diane’s family secrets prevail.  Just as a rebellious child, a sibling, a spouse, or a terrorist, people do what they desire to do.  No one, not even a firm Mrs McMahon, Mister Obama, Mister Bush, you, or I can control what will come.  Indeed, we create it.

When people are presumed to be in need of protection, ultimately, they guard themselves from the protector.  Those alleged guilty persons, often prove not to be as they appear to be. Diane enjoyed her hours at home with her parents.  She cherished the time they spent together away as well.  Yet, there was always unexpressed tension.

Hothouse parenting undermines children in other ways, too, says Anderegg. Being examined all the time makes children extremely self-conscious. As a result they get less communicative; scrutiny teaches them to bury their real feelings deeply. And most of all, self-consciousness removes the safety to be experimental and playful. “If every drawing is going to end up on your parents’ refrigerator, you’re not free to fool around, to goof up or make mistakes,” says Anderegg.

Parental hovering is why so many teenagers are so ironic, he notes. It’s a kind of detachment, “a way of hiding in plain sight. They just don’t want to be exposed to any more scrutiny.”

Infinite inspections, eternal examinations, possible detection did not necessarily stop Diane from engaging in the behaviors her mother feared.  Nor would a prohibition or possible penalty inhibit the lass .  Threats have no power.  As a toddler Dine realized the notion Scott Stewart, Vice President of Tactical Intelligence at the global foundation, Stratfor acknowledges.  The security expert advises; regardless of what type of technology is used at airports, or which techniques are employed by “protective parents, creative terrorists, just as tots, teens, and those at any age, will always find ways to get around it.

When asked if airport body scanners can stop terrorist attacks, he said, “Look at prison systems, where searches are far more invasive – they still can’t stop contraband from being smuggled into the system,”  Mister Stewart continues and cautions. Americans tend to rely on technology, “instead of human intelligence,”  

We might extrapolate.  Protective parents depend upon their ability to provide safety and security.  Rather than teach self-reliance, nervous caregivers coddle, cosset, and lavish “love” on their little ones.  Mothers and fathers create a culture cocooned from harm and believe this is good parenting.

John Portmann, Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia has observed, many students, such as Diane,  “There is a ritual every university administrator has come to fear.” He explains.  “Every fall, parents drop off their well-groomed freshmen and within two or three days many have consumed a dangerous amount of alcohol and placed themselves in harm’s way. These kids have been controlled for so long, they just go crazy.”

Professor Portmann feels the effects of overprotection are even more pernicious.  He suggests the whole fabric of society is feeble and fallible when we place our faith in our mother, father, or the Federal government. Portmann is very familiar with what he sees each semester.  Young people and their parents become weaker, “more responsive to the herd, too eager to fit in-less assertive  . . , unwilling to disagree with their peers, afraid to question authority, more willing to conform to the expectations of those on the next rung of power above them.”  

That is, perhaps, the greater threat to the persons who reside on this planet.  Most forfeit their personal power.  People presuppose someone will know what is best.  We trust the crowd or the Commander-In-chief.  Most think as the group does.  “Evil is everywhere.”  “There are enemies all about.”  “Terrorists want to kill us.”  These are considered conventional wisdoms or accepted assumptions.  However, the paradox is, presumptions become projections.  Self-fulfilling prophecies survive.  Frequently, these conjectures thrive, while, just as in all other wars, citizens die.

In counterterrorism circles, the standard response to questions about the possibility of future attacks is the terse one-liner: “Not if, but when.” This mantra supposedly conveys a realistic approach to the problem, but, as Joseba Zulaika argues in Terrorism, it functions as a self-fulfilling prophecy. By distorting reality to fit their own worldview, the architects of the War on Terror prompt the behavior they seek to prevent-a twisted logic that has already played out horrifically in Iraq. In short, Zulaika contends, counterterrorism has become pivotal in promoting terrorism.

Diane, her deeds, Mrs McMahon sense of doom, and the destructive practice of a protective philosophy affirm what scores of Americans dismiss in the abstract.  What we fear most has power.  As is oft-stated, what we conceive, and truly believe, will be achieved.  Ample research asserts, whether what we imagine is for good or the source of our grief, our conviction can be a cause and an effect.  Often we are too close to a situation to see what others easily discern.

To the countless who contemplate traumas such as terrorism and ask, “What next?” There are many possible prospects.  We can choose to cultivate a culture that cares rather than works to control or we can continue to rely on a reality that has never been.  Americans can have faith that the Commander-In-Chief  “Will Do Everything” or we can accept that, alas, the demon is our own dependency.

References for the reality of resentment, revolt, or insurgent rebels . . .