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Is anyone even listening anymore?

Frugalista Blog Is Anyone Even Listening Anymore?

photo from Google images via brandisre-designed.blogspot

I love social media. I do. I admit. I am on my Instagram all the time. I’m checking out what people are commenting on my Facebook page, I definitely check my comments on my YouTube channel often! But it’s pretty self serving. I want to see what people are saying to me, or about me. Did they read this post or that? Did they click ‘like’ on my picture?

Then I scroll through Facebook and the news several times a day. It’s all rather depressing. I thought the country was pretty divided back in ’04 when Bush first sent us into Iraq and folks were pissed off about that. You either were for the war and patriotic, or against it and treasonous. Or so it seemed. Social media barely existed back then.

Now we’re no different. We squabble about gun control and civil rights. I scratch my head and look at the calendar. Yep, 2015. And we haven’t evolved.

In fact, it’s worse. And I’m probably guilty of it too. Here’s how it works: You hear something awful happened. You post the news articles about it. Then a few days pass and the bloggers start writing their opinions and trying to get clicks on their site. There’s always a ‘this’ side and a ‘that’ side. You’re either on ‘this’ side, or you’re on ‘that’ side.

Something as straight forward as a church shooting in South Carolina has divided people. An evil act committed by a white person against black people, for the sole reason that they were black, and nothing more, is still bringing about argument. How is there any arguing? What is there to argue?!

Then there’s the Confederate Flag. Well, I guess by geography and ideology, I’m a Yankee. So what do I know about the Confederate Flag? When I was a kid, I just thought it’s what decorated the General Lee, the car driven by Bo and Luke Duke in the Dukes of Hazard. When I grew up, I knew it represented the South in the Civil War. But I didn’t put much thought into it.

Not until this week. The more and more I read about the history of that flag upsets me that it’s 2015, and states IN OUR UNITED States of America, still fly that flag high and are PROUD of it. What are you proud of?

The indentured servitude of a race of people that worked for free to for the success of the white plantation owner? Oh well, there were some nice plantation owners, and gosh darn, they housed and fed these people, so you know, how bad could it be? **bangs head against desk.

There’s this period of history called World War 2. Remember that? This guy Hitler invaded most of Europe and killed more than 6 million Jews in the attempt to rid this world of non blue-eyed white people (more or less). They flew a flag called a Swastika. If you think the Swastika and the Confederate flag are different, then you clearly haven’t read enough history.

Sorry. I got side tracked on my opinion of things. I realize that. I just feel an oppression of any race or religion is something that doesn’t need to be argued or defended. There’s right and there’s wrong, and that’s wrong.

So back to my original title of this blog post. Is anyone even listening anymore?

And it’s not even the Charleston tragedy that makes for debate. Let’s talk about Obamacare, gun control, immigration, gay marriage, transgenders, trophy hunting, vegan diets, police brutality….

How many things do you see in the news and your Facebook feed a day? How many come from headlines that are trying to make you read and feel something? What’s the source of the story?

You see the headline, click on the story and feel your blood rise. Your pulse quickens. It strikes to the very base of what you believe either for it or against it. When you share the article on your own news feed, are you telling people, “this is how I feel, take it or leave it”, or are you saying “I hope you read this and gain a new perspective”?

Everyone is talking, but no one is listening.

You can get people riled up over sunscreen. Yeah. Sunscreen. Mention you are wearing SPF at the beach and people are either for you because they have had a bout with a sketchy mole, or you get the folks telling you that you need Vitamin D and sunscreen is toxic. Want to mention you brought your kids to the doctor and had them vaccinated? Or forget that. It’s just going to start an argument that vaccines cause developmental delays or Autism. Big pharma can’t be trusted. I mean, come on. They’re just LETTING us die of cancer to make money. Everyone knows hemp and carrot juice cures cancer.

Climate change is fake. It’s Al Gore’s mission to take over the world with Leonardo DiCaprio and other Prius driving celebrities. Forget about category 5 hurricanes and drought. We don’t need to worry about Florida falling in the ocean in 100 years. Go on. Burn those fossil fuels. But wait, I drive a 12 year old minivan. Is that bad?

I don’t eat meat but I like Doritos. Am I contributing to the destruction of society by supporting Frito Lay?

I feel like anything I do or say is going to be argued against. And sure, I speak up and spout off about things I care about. And I’m sure the person arguing with me cares about their perspective too. We all have a story, we all have a point of view.

The kids and I met President Obama last year. Pretty cool. But not everyone thought it was cool. I get that. But hey, be happy for us because we were happy. I don’t care what you think of the guy (well, I kind of do. I would think you would respect his office and his position, but well… I’ve seen a lot of the opposite lately.) at least scroll on by, or just be polite. It’s one of those things we do as grown ups.

But if you disagree with something on Facebook, or anywhere for that matter, do you have to say anything really? What if you just ignored it? Conversation and discourse is great. But it’s only productive when it’s done with sensitivity, compassion, and intelligence. Lately, I’ve done a lot of scrolling!

You’re never going to bring a person to Jesus by banging them on the head with a Bible. Right? So switch it up. Think for the other side once in awhile.

Maybe this blog today isn’t making a lot of sense. Maybe it’s rambling and whiny. I guess I’m just tired. Tired of no one listening.

My America. Your America.

Are you a Republican? A Democrat? Maybe you’re an Independent. Maybe you’re apathetic and seem to just ignore politics and those public figures.

Are you Christian? A Jew? Athiest?

What I’m getting at is, it doesn’t matter. Regardless of your beliefs or ideals, some things are just a big deal and really cool to experience.

Yesterday, I got to do something with my children that we will never forget. It was something only a handful of people get the opportunity to do.

We greeted Air Force One and shook President Obama’s hand!

Yeah! Pretty freaking amazing!!

Have you shaken a standing president’s hand before?

Have you been [this close] to Secret Service? It’s pretty cool.

We have a lot of crap going on in the world. A lot of ills and worries. But there’s also lots and lots of cool and wonderful things. I like to focus on the wonderful. But that doesn’t mean I’m not helping or trying to help the ill or ailing as well.

We took the kids to Washington D.C. in 2010. Seeing the Smithsonian monuments and hearing all the history was a banquet of memories and emotions for the kids and us. We love history. We love this country.

I watch documentaries on presidents all the time. I have a fascination with the Kennedy’s. I modeled my wedding dress after Jackie’s gown. And then I got to see it at the Kennedy Library on our honeymoon, but only by coincidence. I didn’t plan things THAT well!

Politics and politicians can be incredibly divisive. We have a tendency of hearing things on 24 hour news channels and either wanting to believe them because they fit with our ideals, not having the energy to disbelieve because ‘ain’t nobody got time for that’, OR, wondering if everything you hear you need to take with a grain of salt.

I respect the office of the presidency of the United States of America. And whether or not you voted for that particular president that comes to your town, doesn’t matter. The president is in town! How cool is that?

We have a lot to be grateful for. I am grateful for my rights as a citizen and enjoying the freedom to shake a president’s hand, go to my church, and love who I want.

Oh, and I asked about your religion earlier because, had I met the Dalai Lama or Pope Francis, would you spew your religious inclinations my way? Your grievances with the Catholic church or Tibet? I hope not. I would hope that you can understand that it’s awesome and fabulous, and an experience that should be respected.

My kids got to do something they will tell their kids about one day.

So here you go. Our pics with the president.

Frugalista blog with Air Force One

The kids and I  pose in front of Air Force One in Seattle.

 

President Obama with Owen

President Obama chatting with Owen, and Emma’s head in the foreground.

 

The money shot and Owen shaking Obama’s hand.



Just another post election blog

I wasn’t going to write about the outcome of the election. But then after all the stuff on Facebook and the news channels afterwards, this girl couldn’t keep her mouth shut.

A sampling of what was all over the interwebs on election night-

Yes, there was celebration. There were tears. There was jubilation for the re-election of President Obama. There was disappointment, frustration, dismay.

But really? The end of the world? It is clear how polarized our country is. Folks still think we are being ruled by some communist Muslim who was born in Kenya. Thanks Donald Trump for beating that dead horse.

People commenting on how stupid half the country is. People saying Romney can fuck off now.

Have we forgotten that America isn’t about how Republican you are? Or how God-fearing you are. It isn’t about Ohio, or the Latino vote. It’s about everyone getting to say their mind. Sure the electoral college is weird and confusing. It feels useless sometimes. BUT, I like knowing that I contributed in the popular vote. That I had an input in my local elections. Those can be decided sometimes by just a few thousand votes.

People died for our right to vote. Women were tortured and starved for my right to vote. Black people died to vote. They were beaten on their way to polls. White people were beaten for helping them.

We are better than that now. But don’t slay each other electronically. We do not need to degrade each other over Facebook or Twitter.

I am not a lesser person because of who I voted for. I’m not stupid for liking one candidate over another.

I’m tired of feeling uneasy to express how I feel, to wonder what scrutiny or hailstorm of comments will ensue after I’ve expressed my opinion. Usually by folks taking something out of context, something personally that was meant as a generalization or as an experience I had.

Don’t you think that someone’s opinions were formed by their struggles, by their burdens? Do you know their story? Maybe it’s more similar to your own than you think.

Why be so quick to judge?

Politics is tiresome. It can be frustrating. But in the end, it is a process that got us here. Elections matter.

I believe that we are going to be okay. I do have hope. I do see change. It’s slow. It takes time.

Romney said he believes in America. And I do too. I believe in it whether I’m a Democrat or a Republican.

I know that a party affiliation doesn’t prove your belief in America or God, more or less than anything else.

Let’s shake hands and get to work.

That’s just my hippy dippy optimism for now. I hope you can join me. Kum ba ya.

Namaste.

Frugalistablog for President?

It’s time we had a woman in office.

But I don’t think that gal is me.

The fancy state dinners and meeting the Olympic champions and winners of the Superbowl would be fun. I’d love being in the balcony at the Kennedy Center Honors. But holy shit. The scrutiny of public office would put me in a state of the runs. There’s not enough pepto and chamomile tea to comfort that twisted feeling deep down in that lower intestine of mine.

This is what being President would be like for me: I would come up with great ideas and policies. And then they would always have a flip side of how they wouldn’t work.

Every 3rd Friday of the month is free lip gloss day at Sephora.

This just in- the Council of Shoe Addicts is concerned that you didn’t give their platform a voice. (see what I did there? Platform?? Nevermind.)

Oh crap. You just can’t please everyone.

How about this one-

Whenever you file your taxes early you get a kitten.

This just in- Dog lovers aren’t pleased.

Christ on a bike!!

This just in- Roller bladers that like Jesus feel left out.

Oh for the love of cheese, I can’t win!

 

How about let’s have International High Tea day! All the countries of the world will join in tea and scones for everyone!

This is a good id… WHAT NOW???

Forget it.

Don’t even get me started on the criticism. The comments on my hair and clothes would be relentless.

But here’s the thing. I want rainbows, puppies and cupcakes for everyone. I want children to not go hungry. Animals to have warm, safe homes. I want veterans to have employment. I want world peace. I want fabulous schools and education for all.

Call me an optimist, call me an idiot. I always want the best for people. What I want, isn’t what everyone wants. So the means to an end doesn’t always match everyone’s ideals.

This is why I would suck at politics. I would spend nights crying in my pillow wondering why people didn’t like my ideas. My feelings would be hurt by the jokes the late night television hosts would use to slay my personality quirks and make fun of my Drew Barrymore-ish lisp. The pundits would have a field day with my policies.

I have to believe that Jon Stewart would have something nice to say about me.

So, luckily, you don’t have to vote for me.  But do vote, please. Someone fought for that.