Monday, October 12, 2009

Hate-Mongers . . .

So guess what, or rather who, this blog is about?

Up until last week, believe it or not, I had never seen Glenn Beck in action. I watch little TV and when I do it’s rarely FOX News. And when I listen to the radio, it’s rarely talk radio (well except for “Car Talk with Click and Clack” on Saturday mornings at 10 a.m. on NPR - These guys, and their callers, are hilarious! Even if you’re not into cars, this show is SO much fun to listen to!). But I’m not so out-of-touch that I hadn’t heard about Beck. I just didn’t know what he looked like until the day I was waiting for a Roman Burger (like McDonald’s Big Macs, I eat them faithfully - once, maybe twice, a year).

Anyway, so I’m in the waiting room and the TV is blaring with this seemingly crazed man ranting, raving—and in a horribly irritating tone—spewing about Obama this, Obama that. And while I’m all for free speech and such, this guy was annoying (to use my teen daughter’s favorite word) as hell.
In fact, he was acting just like I'd picture a devil would. This guy was so bent on trying to convince people that we are all in grave danger if we didn’t believe in what he was saying (he even showed a video which he continually pointed to in a seemingly desperate effort to prove his point but which only made him look like some bully kid who insists that he is right in his convictions, and that his bad behavior is directly caused by someone else. “He made me do it!” And “See, Seeeeee?." "Now do you believe me, huh? Just look at this!!”

For the first time I realized we Americans really are in grave danger. The hate spewing from this guy (the man next to me shaking his head at the TV told me this talking head was THE Glenn Beck) is indeed a huge danger to all our well beings as Americans.

This is not about whether you are Right, Left or Sideways (I tend toward the latter), it’s about trying to get people on your side in a vengeful, hateful, vile manner that can only bring about more vengeful, hateful, and vile (and bile) behavior. Even if you believe everything that comes out of this guy’s bitter mouth, it’s his mean-spirited delivery that should offend you. It sure does me. After all, the truly smart people who are passionate about their cause are also compassionate about others and can wisely make a point without coming across like a school yard bully.
I don’t like this guy and I don’t like what he’s doing to Americans.

Like Obama or not, whatever happened to the days when we at least respected the office of the Presidency of our United (remember THAT word?) States? Isn’t that part of being a true American?
And while none of us are always going to agree on the same issue – there is something in which I think we all can concur:
Glenn Beck will never get awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

But I believe there’s still hope for Click and Clack. . . .


Friday, October 2, 2009

Life, and Death, Lessons

There are many life lessons one can glean from the Wizard of Oz movie but my all-time favorite is this:
As the Tin Man receives his “heart” from the Wizard, he is told, “Remember my sentimental friend, a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others.” Which of course means you need to be a good person—lovable enough to earn the affection and admiration of others.
I think it’s the best legacy we can leave, and is certainly a good path toward world peace. Obviously, if you are not a peaceful person who is kind and thoughtful of others, it does nothing but create bad energy in the world. And we sure don’t need any more of that.

My brother Dennis, who died suddenly last month from a brain aneurysm, was obviously loved by many—based on the turnout and testimonies at his Celebration of Life that took place last Sunday.(More than 100 people attended.)And while that alone did my heart good, I acquired yet another real life lesson while preparing for that occasion.
While collecting photographs and materials for Sunday, Dennis’s fiancĂ© told me about many things he was involved in that I either didn’t know about or had long forgotten. I knew he had 6 Black Belts in Karate, and that he was an avid sailor, and talented musician, but I have learned much more in these past few weeks and I regret not telling him how proud I was of his accomplishments. I am saddened that I failed to pay enough attention to all that he was involved in through his 58 years in this life.
Of course I was his sister, and I could use that as an excuse. After all, it’s natural to take for granted those closest to us, especially a sibling. But the excuse doesn’t make the truth any easier to swallow. . . .

I believe that with every life experience, there is a lesson to be learned, although sometimes it takes us a long time to learn it. So let me share this lesson in hopes that you won’t have to learn it when it’s too late to change things.
It is simply this:
My mother, who was actually quite the conversationalist, often told me, you learn more by listening than talking.
And once again, mother was right. You’ll be surprised what you can learn about others and from others that can really enrich your life, even your career. Rather than focus on what you want to say about yourself, let someone else do the talking, and pay attention.

Next time you’re at a party or any event, remember to ask the person in front of you about their interests, their lives. Then really listen to what they are saying.
Especially at that next family reunion or get-together. You might be surprised by what you learn about who your brother, sister,cousin,is really all about, and how they really feel about things. (Oftentimes lack of communication breeds much misinformation). As you listen, you may even find yourself smiling with pride that you are related to that person.
And that, my friends, feels a whole lot better than assuming what you know about them. You might even feel the desire to tell them how proud you are of them.
Talk about a good day! For both of you! Sure wish I'd done that.
Life lessons can truly be eye-opening--and life enriching.

So live, love, laugh – and listen!
Now go tell a friend.