Category: Intro

Questions of ethics and responsibility…

Questions of ethics and responsibility…

In just the last few days, we have had a number of troubling breakout stories hit the news which might call into question the ethics of Republicans running for office. It saddens me that even in the face of these troubling news items, the race is still too close to call in states.

Let me share a story. I promise it will have some meaning in the larger sense, but for now I’m going to give you the small picture. It’s one that bears on today’s political issues and on our appearance in light of the world we share.

When I was a child, of some now-unremembered, relatively young age, I had specific tastes in food that might seem odd (or maybe not). Two of my deepest desires, for fresh, sweet butter and for the cream filling inside Oreo cookies, got me into a world of trouble with my father. It wasn’t the first time and I’m sure it wasn’t the last time he got angry at me for my behavior, but I sure remember his reaction, all these years later.

The Butter Incident started out innocently enough with my taking the opportunity on occasion to dip my index finger across the top of the butter stick in the fridge. Over time, my finger wore down the top of the stick so that it sloped slowly down to about half an inch shorter than either end. Quite obviously, something was happening to the butter. When Dad called me on it, I lied, even though he must have known I was the culprit. Having observed young children, the level of oblivious that goes into “I didn’t do it” when the clear evidence shows otherwise is simply stunning.

Dad sent me to my room for lying. I suppose I must have been angrier for having been caught than contrite at having done the deed, but as I know for a fact that I was the guilty party, with a clear recollection of the taste of Land O’Lakes often recalled as I hunt for comfort food. Besides, there were clear fingerprints as evidence.

The Oreo Incident was much worse, in the long run.

Dad built a nice wood storage box for our fireplace, sat it on the floor next to the mantle, and filled it with wood for the fire. Rochester weather being was it was, we had fires going much of the winter, and he didn’t want to haul the wood in every time he wanted to light a fire. I found it a convenient hiding place to hold the chocolate cookie parts when I was too young to figure out the “peas in the trash” method of disposal. I recall disposing of half a bag of Oreos by eating the cream out of the centers and dumping the remains in the wood box.

I’d have gotten away with it, too, if Dad hadn’t discovered the parade of ants leading from the outside to the wood box and back. Dad’s discovery led to a violent outburst, which ultimately resulted in a kicked-in hole in my bedroom door. (Fortunately, I wasn’t harmed in the incident.)

I learned quickly that the truth was the best method to avoid such outbursts. If I got in trouble, for the most part, I tried to own up to it.

These days, it seems no matter how nasty the retribution might be, some people just feel there is nothing large enough to keep them from doing harm, on a level far uglier than taking a little cream out of a cookie or swiping a little butter off the top of the stick.

On the brink of our next election, with several states already accepting early votes, stories are coming to light that we should have seen far, far earlier.

I have in mind Donald Trump’s fizzled-out bombshell of a smokescreen:

 

Aside from making himself an instant laughingstock, it appears Trump had something of his own to hide. This ill-conceived, inept stunt, timed as it was, also failed to take attention away from a damaging report of his inability to do the job. In a fit of glorious irony, the news has broken that the condo association for his own building, Trump Tower, fired the Donald. Better than any spanking, I say.

But that’s not all.

A few days ago I suggested a link between Delphi and Bainport, and that this might be the smoking gun to which Ann Romney referred when she said there would be no more tax reports because she didn’t want to give the press any more ammunition. It was odd timing that at around the same time these issues were percolating to the top, Ryan got caught with his hands up to the elbows in an ad hoc photo-op that cost the soup kitchen far more than Ryan’s campaign.

A little over 48 hours ago, news has broken that a 20-year-old divorce case that set Mitt Romney and his associate Tom Stemberg (founder of Staples) against Stemberg’s ex-wife in a nasty court case which left Maureen Stemberg Sullivan essentially destitute might have included lies from Romney that indicated Stemberg had a lower real net worth than court records indicated. Earlier today, Stemberg Sullivan appeared in court and later this afternoon the court approved the unsealing of Romney’s testimony. She will file a separate motion to lift the gag order shortly, though not necessarily in time for the election.

Getting one’s hand caught in the cookie jar used to mean something. Children learned that truth and honesty were always the best methods. I am sad that this rule appears to apply only to those who aren’t rich enough to hide their lies. When will we learn that the same rules apply to everyone?

Casting the Seeds of Doubt…

Casting the Seeds of Doubt…

Creedless: The lack of any system, doctrine, or formula of religious belief…  (See http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/creedless)

As a result of my mother’s incapacitating long-term illness (Multiple Sclerosis), my father raised my sister and me as a single parent, at a time when such things were very far from the norm. Dad, not interested in organized religion, nevertheless instilled in me a wish to understand ethics and live by the Golden Rule as a basis for conduct.

For the first 40+ years of my life, my experience with organized religion came mostly in sound bites, in the form of weddings, funerals, holidays and other special occasions. Most of my friends were Catholic (mainly Italian) or Lutheran. As a child I attended a few services, mostly weddings or confirmations. Occasionally we would attend Passover Seders.

During the summer for more than ten years, we traveled throughout the US and Canada, until my father tired of driving and settled on a summer-house near Garden City, on the shore of Bear Lake, a beautiful spot at the very top of  Utah near the borders of Idaho and Wyoming.

In our travels, Dad took us to Anasazi sites like Canyon de Chelly, Taos, and Santa Fe, all the way west to the Spokane World’s Fair, Eureka, CA and Seattle, north as far as Jasper, AB and south just close enough to Mexico to walk across the border one afternoon. There’s much to tell about those trips, but that’s not the point of this article and I’ll come back to them eventually.

With an architect’s help, Dad designed and built the Utah house on the hill overlooking Sweetwater, the local timeshare where I got my first job (working as a sitter). We visited Salt Lake City about once a year, along with trips to Logan, up to the Grand Tetons and once to Yellowstone and to the Salt Lake Tabernacle’s Temple Square. I traveled out to the house every summer with my sister and Dad until my Junior year of college, when I decided to stay for the Summer Repertory theatre program.

As an adult, my religious exposure ranged from liberal to orthodox in Catholic, Jewish, Baptist, African Methodist Episcopal, Pagan (several forms), United Methodist and Born-Again Christian traditions, among others.

I visited several UU congregations as part of an ongoing attempt at understanding faith and the Bible, but until 2005, the year I lost eight people in my circle of friends and family (some by association and some directly connected to me), I was not committed to any one religion.

After that terrible year, I sought to make some sense out of the platitudes and sermons or a way to interpret the losses and how people perceived them. I was already experimenting with the idea of committing to a congregation when we attended our first service at what I now consider my spiritual home, in January, 2006.

In the spring of that year, I signed the Membership book and became an official member of our Unitarian Universalist congregation. Since then I have worked hard to better understand other faiths in their context. I suppose that’s part of what makes the story below so horrifying to me.

From MetroActive come two stories of the internal life of Mitt Romney, not known until recently because there is pressure to keep such things private, within the confines of the faith.

Based on these stories, it seems that Romney talks a good Moderate game when coached to do so, but even through coaching his true opinions often leak out through the cracks, causing his campaign staff to “walk back” the things he has said.

Witness the flak caused by his “Binder full of women” comment. The men in my circle of friends have generally not understood what the fuss was about, but the women, especially those in the workforce, understand all too well.

These two related articles are well worth the read:

Mitt Romney’s Pregnancy Problem: Mormon women’s recollections of Bishop Romney’s advice raise questions about how moderate he really is

and

A Mormon Woman’s Manifesto: It Is a Moral Imperative to Treat Women as if They Truly Mattered

Reading these two articles brought me to this profile of Judy Dushku on The Mormon Women Project (http://www.mormonwomen.com/). Her profile raises questions for me of what the Mormon Church thinks of these women. I would call them pioneers for a new age. I suspect Gov. Romney would call them something else: Boat-rockers who belong in the kitchen, not in public.

Despite his protestations of moderation, Romney’s condescending remarks at the second Presidential debate about filling key positions in his gubernatorial staff with qualified women helps to expose an underlying story that paints a different picture of his views on women and their value in society.

President Obama’s sudden adoption of the term Romnesia comes closest to describing Romney’s convenient inability to remember the facts as they come to light. That these facts are damning is no less true, whether he admits to them or not.

My world and welcome to it.

My world and welcome to it.

I’ve been blogging since August, 2004 and posting on Facebook since August, 2007. In all that time, I’ve tried to figure out why I should write. Of course, the answer is obvious: Because I can’t stop myself.

My career as an author began in high school with the publication Liberated Perspectives, a semi-regular school newsletter. When LP stopped publication at the end of my junior year, I helped launch Spectrum, an attempt at a literary magazine for those of us who still wanted to write and be read. We only put out four issues, but that’s respectable for a handful of kids who had other things to do in school at the same time.

A product of early attempts at Magnet school programs, I began the shift from traditional schools in the middle of fifth grade, during a teachers’ strike in our home school district. Because of my family life, I have a relatively unique perspective on the way schools work (and don’t), and on how current events shape our lives. I’m fascinated with social sciences, the arts and mythology; hence the title of this blog.

I intend to use this space to collect the commentary I see elsewhere, combined with my own personal observations on what things work and why, and when things have broken. Consider this a logical expansion of my observations on Facebook and elsewhere.

I don’t mince words. If you have something to say, best show your sources and make sure they pass muster. I will check your facts and call you on them if I think you haven’t done a good job.

Enjoy the ride!

Theme: Elation by Kaira.
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