Sound Bites, Instant Insults, and Double Agents

I have felt weighed down recently. Not necessarily by anything in particular, but by the world in general. Over the last few weeks I have found that it is more difficult to move beyond the negativity that seems to be causing the plague. Instead of shaking it off and moving forward, I find myself stuck in the quicksand. I’m baffled by it really.

It’s no secret that my little family is going through an unprecedented hardship. Justin has been through treatment protocols before, four to be exact, but never one as grandiose, and unpredictable as this. It’s taking a toll, on both of us, but sticking together has kept us both from surrendering to the circumstances. I always give myself a reality check when I find myself falling down the negativity rabbit hole, to identify the root cause. Wallowing in the depression that comes with this kind of medical issue is not productive, I can snap myself back to reality rather quickly. It’s that ability to snap out of it that makes me certain in the fact that the weight I’m feeling has little to do with our current norm.

I watch politics for fun, I engage in social media, I push the status quo in my professional career, the things that I do to find motivation are things that seem to be drowning in negativity.

I am looming near my capacity for the current presidential election. The absurdity of the things we spend our time talking about has reached an all time low. Instead of engaging in a dialog and sharing insight, we are listening to politicians, and I use that term loosely, point fingers at each other in an effort to illustrate who is the lesser of two evils. Pundits no longer have the ability to control their shock. Our legislative and judicial leaders are laying low until November 8th passes. In the age of social media, millennials, and instant gratification it seems an election that had the potential to engage record-breaking numbers of citizens has instead forced people to question if their voice actually matters. Unless, of course, they are able to use it from behind a computer screen and anonymous social media account.

We are constantly in touch with social media. 24 hours a day, seven days a week, people are getting their information in 140 characters or less. Feedback, opinions, and comebacks are instantaneous. Everyone’s an expert, and just like how every kid gets a participation trophy in baseball, everyone has the right to post their opinion on social media. No knowledge or understanding required. We have morphed into a society that fights by typing on keyboards or with our thumbs. We no longer have productive conversations, we yell at each other, in shouty capitals, refusing to accept that someone else may have a differing opinion. We refuse to recognize just how amazingly diverse our society can be. At some point, the constant information, communication, and ignorance becomes exhausting, and unnatural.

I consider myself a logical and strategic person. I have made a career for myself that is built on my ability to look at a situation, see the working pieces, and then articulate how we can use those pieces to build something new. I like to push the status quo, move beyond compliance and expectation, and reach for the next big idea. Sometimes that is a lonely place to operate from. Inevitably, someone will not be willing to look for the next big idea, and instead of embracing a new path, I find that I have to weave my way through the land mines that are created just to spite progress. I struggle with this daily. Not with the idea that some people cannot see the path, but that they refuse to open their eyes to look for it. Something that seems so clear and exciting to me, can be the worst-case scenario for others that don’t see the vision. That’s acceptable, unless an opposing super-secret task force is formed, aimed at blocking progress at every turn. The catch: the super-secret task force, is made up of individuals are also allies that are imperative to the success in finding the new path, I just don’t know it.

Absurd Presidential candidate sound bites, 140 character insults, and double agents. It’s surprising any of us have the energy to process our own lives, the things that actually matter.

every-time-you-are-tempted-to-in-the-same-old-way-ask-if-you-want-to-be-a-prisoner-of-the-past-or-a-pioneer-of-the-future

Gravity has been strong lately. The negativity is pulling me downward and I am trying to keep my head above water, grasping at the little things that help me move forward in positivity, rather than negativity. I strive to share these little things with you, in the hopes that they might help you too, whether you need it or not.

Today’s spark of positivity is brought to you by:

  • Nathan Reich’s album: All Night Pharmacy
  • A newly organized office, stocked with pictures that make me happy
  • A friend that made the last hour of the work day bearable
  • This TED Talk with Adam Grant 
  • The motivation to clean the kitchen, organize the living room, and sit down at the computer to write this post before going to bed.

Is the Pivot Enough?

The Corner office (2)To my surprise, my morning with my favorite pundits has so far been spent listening about yet another pivot in the Trump Presidential Campaign. Apparently, in the last 24 hour Donald Trump has hired two additional staff members, one of which is someone to travel with him across the country as Campaign Manager. Word on the street, his Campaign Chairman, Paul Manafort, will remain in his position, however he will have a diminished role after the downward spiral that Trumps image has been on since becoming the Republican Nominee. All of this just days before his first ad buy hits television screens.

It’s happened before, Trump hires a new operative, sings their praises, gives a relatively decent speech, soaks up the praise from the media, and then he goes out and calls the President the founder of ISIS. It never fails, eventually, Trump goes back to who he is, trusting his intuition and ego to guide the direction of his campaign.

As an American citizen, eligible to vote in November, I have whiplash. Trying to keep up with this campaign season has been exhausting. My solution? I’ve offered to run several Presidential campaigns myself over the last few weeks – so far I’ve got offers out to my boss, a three year old, and the Chief Operations Officer of the organization I work for. I’ll let you know when we announce our campaign.

In the event that Trump doesn’t immediately pivot back to his usual mode of operation, is it enough? Is this shift to more structured speeches and messaging enough to erase all of the things he has said in the past? Does it make it okay? And if it is enough, then we are in trouble.

I have no idea what is in store for the rest of this campaign, I don’t think anyone knows. I highly doubt that we will merge into this traditional season in the next couple of months and will be looking back on election day thinking “Gee, that was all very silly, I’m so glad we finally got back to normal.” This is a circus and it will be a circus until the last votes are cast on November 7th, 2016.

The first Presidential Nominee Debate is scheduled for September, 26th. Knowing how Hillary dominates a debate stage, I am curious how Donald is preparing for this first showing against her. It will be a milestone for both campaigns, an opportunity to break apart from the other and gain some momentum. It’s a toss up as to which candidate will walk away from the stage gaining ground. Perhaps it will be my three-year old candidate that walks away with the votes that night. Stay tuned.

Chaos in the RNC

The Corner office (2)Beware, I’m writing on the fly this morning as I watch Morning Joe’s review of the opening night of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. I have never seen any coverage for a convention before, unless you count President Bartlet or President Santos in The West Wing, but let’s assume you don’t.

I did not watch more than five minutes of the convention last night, I came in about an hour into it and quite frankly, I didn’t have much interest because I don’t understand the concept or  procedures. I knew it would be the entire focus for my pals on Morning Joe so I waited to get the commentary. What I’m gathering is the Convention was a shit show.

Coverage so far this morning includes interviews with people that were threatened with death for not supporting Trump, hypocritical statements in response to the biggest offense of all: Melania Trump’s speech that included a section that is almost verbatim of a speech that Michelle Obama made in 2008. Watching the video comparing the two speeches, I literally sat, stunned, with my mouth hanging open. It seems, Trump’s philosophy of not using speech writers or political advisors on his team is catching up to him. Today, no one is talking about his words, they are talking about hers (well, Michelle’s) and it’s not good.

Regardless of my feelings for either candidate, especially considering I wrote, just a couple of days ago about who I will be supporting, come November, the lack of political professionalism in this convention is staggering. I can’t imagine this is helping the legitimacy of his candidacy with the GOP. Everyone, Republicans and Democrats alike, seem to be appalled by how this happened and that the response they received was that the observers and critics are “absurd”. Yikes.

The larger issue for this campaign, in my amateur opinion, is that Donald Trump continues to insist that he does not have to follow the norms of a presidential campaign. He states that his best advisor is himself, that he doesn’t need speech writers – or speeches for that matter, or traditional campaign structure. His continual dependence on his own skills has started to stall his progress. He got far by speaking directly to the people of our nation, but is now ignoring the other political operatives that he needs to push forward. The same people he will NEED in the event that he becomes President. He cannot lead alone. No one can.

There are three more days of the GOP COnvention, if this was the kick off, I can’t imagine how this will end.

 

We are Broken

Our world is under attack. It has been a heartbreaking first half of 2016 for most of the world, including the United States. For most of the year I have had no, or few, words to describe the unrest, the heartbreak, and the terror that has been taking over across the globe.

For the second Friday in a row, I have woken up to news of an overnight mass casualty attack, first in Dallas and now in Nice, France. Images of people, civilians, running for their lives away from terror have become the standard morning news backdrop. I can’t explain it, I can’t rationalize it, I can’t understand it, I’m scared.

Our country is in the process of beginning the final stages of a Presidential campaign, someone will inherit a new world, one that is continually broken and will be responsible for securing our safety  by creating and mending relationships across the world. The major issues in this impending general election campaign has shifted, foreign policy, national security, and immigration are going to move to the forefront for our two candidates.

For months I have been quiet about this campaign. I was disappointed about the turn that it had taken. While watching Donald Trump in the early stages of his candidacy, almost a year ago, was entertaining, but no one thought he would break through the GOP to the other side and solidify the nomination. No one. For the first time in my adult life, there was no democratic candidate that I was interested in supporting, I was lost and looking for someone I could trust to get things done as the next President of the United States, even if that meant I crossed the aisle to support a Republican. While the sixteen other Republican candidates were being plucked off one by one, Hillary and Bernie fought the good fight and, inevitably, regardless of the growing support for her opponent – Hillary came out on top. The worst case scenario had happened.

Defeated, I remained silent about the direction the race was taking. I continued my morning routine of watching Morning Joe, I stayed as connected as I could on social media so that I could find some relatable or redeeming quality for either of these people that will become our Commander in Chief. In the wake of the Bastille Day attack coverage, MSNBC played two clips, both from last night, each of our candidates responded to the horror that has taken place while most of us were sleeping. Donald Trump, as usual responded with his gut “the world has got to straighten up” – a blunt, but broad statement that, once again, showed he had no answers, no plans, and no idea what it takes to address this kind of tragedy across the world. Hillary responded with information, details on what is happening in Iraq, she helped the viewers understand.

No one will ever understand how or why attacks like these happen. No amount of words will ever rationalize this kind of terrorism or ease the fear in the human race. I can’t expect any candidate to have the solution to that, but I do expect that our next President has the ability to strengthen our relationships around the world to increase security and peace, for all of us. Hillary is the only one that will be able to do that.

For better or worse, these are our options. This morning, both candidates said “This is War” and they’re right. People are dying and there is no longer any time to humor Donald Trump. I may not like everything Hillary stands for, but I will not watch our world continue to fall apart and trust Donald Trump to put the pieces back together with his broad platitudes and stump speech buzzwords.

Starting today, I stand with her.

Throwback Thursday: The Lesser of Evils

Throwback ThursdayMy new morning routine consists of a cup of coffee, my laptop, and Morning Joe. It has been a good two months since I have been paying close attention to what is happening in our race for President. I can tell you, after watching Morning Joe for the last few weeks, nothing has changed. People are just more entrenched in their hatred for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, despite their climbing delegate counts. Pundits are having the same conversations, the same words but with more frustration, disbelief, and disappointment in their voices and faces.

In March I found myself writing about our political climate as I had several times before and ended up with my own personal rant about where this Presidential campaign is headed and, alas, here we are almost three months later and our situation hasn’t changed. We are moving forward with the Lesser of Evils.

Lesser of Evils

Disclaimer: As I finished writing this post, it became glaringly obvious that this became more of a personal rant on our current political environment. It seems that I may be a little more peeved than I had originally anticipated.

I’ll admit, I have been pretty disengaged in the political climate over the last few weeks. Not only have I just not had the motivation to pay attention, but to say I am disappointed with our Presidential candidates is an understatement. Typically, I consider myself to align more with democratic values on the major issues that are of importance to me but during this entire process I have been more engaged with what is happening on the Republican side of the race. Maybe it was the circus that followed Donald Trump’s announcement of his candidacy that kept me engaged but as the field has narrowed on both sides I find myself underwhelmed.

I am a firm believer that you don’t have to agree with a candidate to believe they would make a good President. It’s pretty naive to think that you will find a nominee who completely aligns with your personal political agenda. What is most important to me is the trust that there is a sensible, intelligent, strong, leader in the Oval Office that can make the right decisions for the benefit of all Americans. I want to know that our President can work with members of Congress to get things done, regardless of their political party. I just want my President to be able to act like an adult. Who knew that would be so hard to come by in 2016?

Other than my underwhelmed reaction to our possible nominees, I was disgusted by the sudden turn this race seemed to take from an issue-based conversation to a schoolyard insult-slinging wrestling match.

jerry-garcia-quotes-19443No, I don’t care about the size of your hands, ears, or any other of your body parts, thank you very much.

I am sick of hearing about how awesome Donald Trump is that he only consults with HIMSELF on policy issues. Himself? Are you kidding me!?

Oh, you’re going to revoke my woman card for NOT voting for Hillary? Awesome. Delegates via threats. Congrats.

There’s not much I can say about Bernie. I think he is running a great issue-based campaign and I applaud him for that, however, if you think that he’s going to walk right into the White House and be able to get any of his agenda through Congress, you’re giving Congress a lot of credit.

It’s difficult for me to even comprehend how polarizing the general election will be if the two front-runners end up as our nominees. Excuse me as I throw up in my mouth a little bit. A polarizing general election will mean a lower voter turn out and who knows what kind of impact that will have on our House, Senate, and White House.

Maybe I’m wrong, maybe this is how all Presidential elections start out, but I doubt it. I can’t help but wonder what the history books will say 50 years from now when describing this campaign season. Hopefully it isn’t the story of how Donald Trump became the 44th President of the United States of America. Although, I hear from his trusted consultants that he would be FANTASTIC.