Tag Archives: President Obama

Living in An American Fairy-tale? Time To Grow Up

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“The hardest part about growing up is letting go of what you were used to, and moving on with something you’re not.” – Lyrikal

Growing up is hard. Things are never what they seem. You can kind of  live in a fairy tale, seeing life the way your parents kind of want you to. But as you get older you realize things are not as they seem.

Everyone is not your friend nor do they have your best interest at heart. Your parents aren’t the worse thing ever or vice versa, they are not the perfect people you thought they were. The realizations aren’t all bad. Like learning that those vegetables you used to hate actually taste pretty good and you really do need to eat more of them. Your parents weren’t lying to you.

Growing up was something I always wanted to do before I was ready. My mother reminded me often to not rush growing up. As I grew older, I learned that she was right. More importantly, while I was rushing to grow up, I learned is that I got to live in my fairy tale much longer than most.

Some kids don’t get to live in this fairy tale ever or very long. They come from very traumatic and abusive backgrounds. They get a tough reality check from almost birth. These kids have to grow-up fast, and it’s sink or swim.  They don’t get to complain, because what’s the point? They have to accept their pain and punishment, because who knows when the next traumatic event happens.

So, how does this relate to America?

For many Americans, they are finally growing up as it relates to America. Seeing America for what it is. It’s always been the same, but how it manifest itself is always changing.

The ones in power get to make the rules. We’ve had a few shiny moments. But often those in power are preying on the weaker, abusing natural resources for personal gain, and using that power to push their ideals forward with no consideration of certain people.

The Republican Party, of late, always seem to be quite aware of this and in national politics are a little more vocal about ensuring their best interests happen against all odds, and to some extent, can you blame them? Since they live in this reality, the last 8 years would have been hard on them. 8 years of Barack Obama where ACA was passed, gay marriage was legalized, and the economy improved under a non-Republican. Holy mother of WTF?

If liberals were less idealistic at times and awake to how America truly works they would have been getting their knives ready, because the GOP, no matter who the candidate was going to be, Trump or not, they were coming for the jugular.

Now, this is hard for me to say as someone who used to be in love with all things America (told you I lived in a fairy-tale). It is still a noble thing to be an American, to be born American, but how we go about life in politics is no longer noble.

We really have to start the conversation there.

We have to grow up and get it back to being noble. People still believe that most politicians go into politics from a good place. This could be true, but the system consumes you and spit you out a different person. I don’t care what anyone says about Hillary. I think people fail by talking about her like she was this young, wide-eyed law graduate with ideals of making this country better. At one point in time, she probably did. But after 30 years of being involved in the political game, she couldn’t help but be tainted by it.

And somewhere along the way, enough Americans convinced themselves that Donald Trump, who was not a seasoned politician, wasn’t tainted by the system. But he comes from the system, business, that majorly taints the political system. Dollar dollar bills ya’ll.

At first, I didn’t really get what “Make America great again” meant for Trump. People always assume that he is talking about when people of color, liberties for women were oppressed. Sometimes I believe he’s referring to era of American monopolies when one person completely controlled the market and working conditions and treatment of employees was poor. Trump and Rockefeller would’ve been best friends. That is the America Trump wants. But I digress.

Back to seeing America for what it is.

Since the election, I have been surrounded by people who were truly traumatized by Trump’s election and people who were not surprised. Now, this is my experience so hear me out.

The people who were traumatized, all white. Caucasian. Not one single black friend or family member was truly surprised or traumatized by the election (that I know of).  Yes, black people are like those children who grow up in trauma. Even black people who are born with a better station in life feel the pains of race (unless they are rich enough to lie to themselves). We aren’t complaining about Trump, because anything can happen when it comes to us in America.  When you’ve spent years seeing things happen unfairly right before your eyes or receive mistreatment simply because the color of your skin, it isn’t surprising a man could win on divisive rhetoric.

So it was no surprise that my Facebook timeline was full of people of color commenting on all the white woman who finally woke up to what America is. It has ALWAYS been this way. Listen to when I say this, it is nothing new. But here’s the thing, we can’t get upset at people who are in the ivory tower and they didn’t know they were up there. Once they recognize it, do we want them to stay up in the tower? No, we want them to come on down and join us.

The need for solidarity was important for many people this past weekend who have finally grown up to see what America is. But just like Trump can’t make America great again and turn back the clocks, every one whose eyes have been open can’t want the America that it was, because you were wrong. When people say they are fighting back, let’s be sure we understand what we are talking about.

Citizen participation

Citizen participation is necessary …. but it has always been and will always be, not just because you are unhappy with what’s going on at the moment. Understanding different perspectives and keeping them in the forefront is important. Speaking about your thoughts and beliefs so someone can correct you, and this goes for all people, is important. Each of us has a weak spot or bias. Lately, I have allowed myself to listen and be educated by Liberals on their ideals, their hesitations and frustrations. I don’t always like or agree with what they have to say, but I am not acting like a child with my fingers stuck in my ears. I am adulting. It’s not going to be easy, but that is the only way to push America forward. I am ready. Are you?

Being Unapologetic: How America Transferred this Privilege from the Presidency to the Candidacy

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“Never apologize, mister, it’s a sign of weakness.”  ― John Wayne

So have you heard about this thing… its called being “unapologetic” … it’s a new trend, a new hashtag… In 2015, it was considered the Top Beauty Trend… “ be Unapologetically you” …*rolls eyes*  and it’s definitely bled into 2016, and everyone is basically saying “be unapologetically [enter any word]”. So yeah, it’s definitely a thing. But it’s not really a new trend.

Despite the recent focus on it, being “unapologetically” anything is probably one of the hardest things to do. There are a few things that I do unapologetically, and because too much of anything can always turn into a negative.

One area I consider myself unapologetic is that I wear my heart on my sleeve and my passion on my chest.  At times, people find my openness disingenuous, and there always comes a time when someone thinks I am lying or not being “real” , that I’m just saying it when in fact they learn, oh, no, she’s serious, that’s how I really feel, and I am telling the truth. That’s just who I am.

And that’s what I want to talk about today.

When you’re living unapologetically sometimes people really never believe you. But if you prove that you are unapologetic, and your yes is yes, and your no is no, people are mesmerized. Because most people can’t do it.

We all know that as humans we are imperfect, so of course, we will make a mistakes at some point, and go off our path, and we will be remorseful and apologize. Although I think I am unapologetically open almost 100% of the time that would probably be a lie, realistically, I am probably at 95%, but I am okay with that.

But as I mentioned earlier, too much of one thing, brings about a negative. With this trend of being unapologetic all the time, another camp has also arisen, and in mainstream media, not to mention with the help of social media, the policing of ideals has happened. So you have:

  1. People who apologize for every action that isn’t socially acceptable
  2. People who stand behind their actions no matter what

I mean let’s take a step back and give a shout out to Ted Cruz who unapologetically got up on the GOP Convention stage, and did not endorse Trump. People thought he would cave in. And most people, Republicans, Democrats, Independents, enjoyed every moment of it. And to be honest, I don’t think Trump would’ve had it any other way. Do you think Trump would’ve endorsed anyone else if he hadn’t won the nomination?

No one likes the person always apologizing and caving into external pressure. (Ironic though that Hillary doesn’t cave in and people don’t like that, but I will give you one guess why it’s different for her – read more here) . It’s pretty clear, we don’t want an apologizer for President, but do we want that quality in our candidates? Before they take on the hardest job in America?

In this new state of Politics, we see Trump accept the Republican nomination being one of the most unapologetic persons running for a political office and people are eating it up.

In a Vox.com article called, “How Donald Trump Won” , the writers outline perfectly how the blunders of the Republican establishment have really contributed to the success of Donald Trump. If you look at their first reason in which Trump was able to open the door to his current candidacy it is the emergence of being unafraid to say whatever, no matter the facts.

Donald Trump was unapologetically focused on the authenticity of President Obama’s birth certificate. Despite all of the subsequent evidence and information that was revealed because of the stink Trump made, he never retreated, asked or forgiveness, nothing… he was truly unapologetic. Fast-forward 5 years and very few things have changed. Trump has to go back on very little such as not using anyone’s money for his campaign as he enters into the main election. But that’s understandable, right? Why use your own money, when you could use someone else’s? Makes sense to me. Except he’s been talking about self-funding as a main pillar in his speeches and that he can’t be controlled. But he unapologetically created a reason for the change:

“I mean, do I want to sell a couple of buildings and self-fund? I don’t know that I want to do that necessarily, but I really won’t be asking for money for myself, I’ll be asking money for the party.” (source) 

And his supporters are okay with it according to an Associated Press poll that determined “Trump Supporters Unfazed by Reversal on Self-Funding”.

Hook. Line. and Sinker.

Although, it would be unfair if I left out that it was released, that he did in fact self-fund his primary campaign. (source).  But he still changed his tune, but he didn’t miss a beat. For the most part, he continues to not ask for forgiveness even when he has contradicted himself, and he continues to speak from his mind and heart.

The reality is that we like this idea of being unapologetic. Even though it’s an unattainable goal, we, the American people, are slightly in awe, good or bad, with the notion of saying what you mean, feel, and sticking to it even if it’s changing along the way. I say this because I am learning that I know a lot more people who are Trump supporters than I would’ve ever imagined, and I am truly amazed by the people who are truly glossing over his racist and xenophobic remarks, as if you can separate those comments from who he is.

He’s unapologetic.

If you think about it, The President of the United States, in the past, didn’t publicly apologize. It’s almost Presidential to be unapologetic, it’s not a new trend for that role. However, our generation has seen President Obama and President George W. Bush admit mistakes and missteps sooner than any Presidents ever before, because our technology and media holds them to a different fire or standard, and I think that America has pushed back unconsciously to the point we yearn for candidates and politicians who are unapologetic.

With the exception of LBJ, who had to grapple with the realities of the Vietnam War in such a public way, Presidents have never been apologetic for their actions, they have to make tough decisions during terms of office, and none of us really envy that responsibility. Being seen as weak is not really a good look.

So I guess I wrote this piece to add a little blame across the country, Heavy is the head who wears the crown. But it continues to get heavier and heavier. I recently enjoyed discussing the secrecy that JFK was able to operate under with the Cuban Missile Crisis or the Bay of Pigs. That could never happen in this day and age it feels like.

To further this point, I personally never liked how everyone was mad at President Bush for continuing to read a book to kids when Hurricane Katrina hit just as much as people are STILL debating the true events surrounding the death of Osama Bin Laden. The insinuation that Obama waited until election time to allow it to happen is so interesting to me. I hope he never apologizes or admits to that, because we will have someone much worse than Trump making his way to the nomination.

Being unapologetic for tough decisions is something that Presidents must do when faced with a difficult decision for the nation, but it’s not cool to be unapologetic just for the heck of it. Presidential candidates should be concerned as they run for office about the hearts and minds of the entire country. There will come a day for each President to make a tough decision and be unapologetic, but it’s a privilege that shouldn’t be given too soon or to the wrong person.

Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls… Well, Maybe Just a Little Bit (The Monday Fits)

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What is a waterfall? It is a beautiful flow of water over a cliff, and generally, waterfalls are located in the most beautiful parts of the world. But anyone familiar with popular culture may also think of waterfalls as referred by the 1995 single by the R&B trio, TLC.

“Don’t go chasing waterfalls, please stick to your rivers and your lakes that you’re used to, I know that you’re going to have it your way or nothing at all, but I think you’re moving to fast”(Click for Video)

So in popular culture, waterfalls have come to describe a crazy, tumultuous dream, goal, lifestyle or ambition that is out of reach, and as you move towards it, you can place yourself in more danger, because you can’t handle it. It is too strong.  Now, in most instances, we should avoid waterfalls. The obstacles that they bring us are too strong, the pain they cause can be too great. But I always wondered how can you truly tell if you’re going down a river that leads to a waterfall; if the decisions that you make are good or bad? You just can’t.

So you’re GOING to go down waterfalls in life, that is inevitable, why not chase one?  Yes, I’m saying we should chase waterfalls. And will chasing waterfalls produce a positive result. Maybe. Maybe Not.  But the process of chasing what you don’t  know may have a positive result for you. This idea of chasing waterfalls really vibes with my methodology towards life, and I promise that I am not exactly a risky type of person, but there’s a reason to this madness in my mind.

People talk a lot about career advancement with millennials. We are young, and still have plenty of time to change, alter, and improve the direction in which we want to go. If we’re unhappy, they tell us to change it. And we love to hear from people who have found a job that they love, or have turned their passion into a career and become the coveted entrepreneur. I would argue that the latter is mostly supported, even if people don’t like or understand the idea, most people like the idea of starting something new and innovative. But for the former, if you’re unhappy, change it, my experience has not quite been that way in my career.

Academically and professionally, I have had some really amazing experiences. They haven’t always felt the best at the time being, but through all my experiences I have always learned a great deal for the next step in life. But even more so, I have a certain standard for what environment I want to work and thrive in. Recently, I was in a situation where I was unhappy, rarely did I feel supported in my frustrations from other co-workers who were in the exact same situation. We all were upset, but rarely was anyone willing to do anything about the situation. And as the only millennial (unfortunately) in the whole department, my constant approach to identify and change the situation was seen as a sign of immaturity.  Often times, people would “understand” my frustrations, but rarely were any of my suggestions good ideas or pursuing the path for change  seen as necessary.

“Oh, it  is not that bad”, “There are worse work situations out there” (which was true), “You’re young, you have to be patient”

That’s right, just wait your turn. The idea that I should wait. That things will change eventually. Wrong. Wrong. And more wrong. Unless, I am waiting for my Heavenly Father to lead the way, the idea of waiting on someone else or something to get better, isn’t for me. But I will say that every step I took to change my situation, or pursue a different recourse, I often felt like I was going down a river toward a waterfall. There were difficult days , because trying to change things while being very upset is a bad combination. There were uneasy times, and job safety is always in the back of your head when you’re challenging the status quo. But change wasn’t coming to that position, that department, so I started fighting differently. I started pursuing new positions that everyone told me I wouldn’t get (people love to tell you what you can’t do). But I knew this was the right fight.

I was able to get a new job, and not just any new job, but a better job, a job that many were surprised that I got, because it was a significant promotion for a person who had only worked with the organization for a year. But I wasn’t surprised, not because I’m amazing, but sometimes you have to step out, especially professionally, when everyone is telling you no.

Why do I tell this story? Because when I was feeling like I was on a fast track to a waterfall (because I was so close to blowing that place up). It was very lonely. I had family and friends who were trying to be supportive, but they were not here and couldn’t really know the exact situation. At times, the people who were in it, didn’t have the same need or desire to fight, but I did. I only felt supported when the fighting was over, and sometimes it feels that way, but heading towards what could’ve been waterfall was definitely worth it. You can’t focus on the end, you have to be able to muddle through the water. My river didn’t lead to a waterfall but it could’ve, but it was worth the ride. So you have to fight for what you believe (even if you’re wrong at times) is my philosophy.

Here’s two examples in popular culture,were taking a bet, one with public support and the other with a public lashing: At the Oscars, last night, Patricia Arquette lit it up, and social media by simply telling women, that we have fought for equal rights for others, but the time is now, for us to fight for equal pay for women. Those words couldn’t have been said on a better stage, with the best part followed by Meryl Streep overly animated concurrence. Positive Words. Great Stage. Almost Full Acceptance. (I’m sure there is someone out there disagreeing somewhere)

Conversely, look at the past week for former Mayor Giuliani is having. At a fundraiser for the presidential hopeful Gov. Scott Walker, Giuliani took the spotlight off of Walker, and put the bullseye over his entire body. Mayor Giuliani bluntly said that President Obama does not love America. Yep, that’s right. Just that plainly. In his Wall Street Journal op-ed that followed this past Sunday, he said he wasn’t questioning the President’s heart or mind, but that the President actually has criticized this country more than any other President in history. Now a lot of people didn’t like what he had to say, including a lot of the other Republican presidential hopefuls, and they tried to distance themselves as fast as lightning. Did I mention Giuliani wasn’t invited, and he sure as heck wasn’t supposed to speak.

Negative Words. Wrong Stage. Much less acceptance of his words. (Because you know Rush Limbaugh praised every single word).

My question should either of their voices be stopped. In my mind, they both could be going down a path to a waterfall. Patricia Arquette took a stand, that could’ve been rejected, and so did Rudy Giuliani. Just because Patricia had a 90% chance of acceptance, and Giuliani had a 30% chance, do we only take the safe bets?

I challenge us all, especially millennials, to not always taking the safe bets, chase the waterfall. The waterfall isn’t always a new thing, business, or something uber aggressive. It can just be a new project, requesting more responsibility, or asking for a mentor who is going to challenge you and not just puff up your ego. So go chase a waterfall, just a little bit, because standing in the lake will get you nowhere.

The Monday Fits: The Wannabe SuperHero Syndrome

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“The lies we tell other people are nothing to the lies we tell ourselves.”

Derek Landy, Death Bringer

Superheroes are not real. Tragic heroes are not real. Yet, we love them. It’s as if there is a new superhero movie rolling out every month. But why do we love them? Is it because we want the power, or are their inner battles compelling to the human spirit? To be super in one area, but completely devoid in another. Often a superhero, is really just a tragic hero, and in that moment of weakness, that brush of defeat, we are just like them, we can relate to the superhero, but ultimately they win. Our desire to overcome, is that it?

Maybe.

Or it could be much simpler than that. It is our urge to save, fix “things”. Whether we are saving people or fixing other people’s problems, we like to take something that is broken and make it better. DIY projects, self-help books, and the fascination with How-to YouTube videos. We even like just the “feeling” of trying to fix things, even if we ultimately can not. This obsession of fixing things has a created a fantasy, hence why superheroes, tragic heroes were ever born, right? To fix or handle impossible situations, that in our human form we are utterly incapable of fixing. The problem is when something is desperately in need of fixing, and IS in our reach, we say that we are going to fix it, over and over, but we do nothing…. enter the Wanna Be Superhero Generation (or pretty much Congress). ”

I find myself falling into this trap too. I tell myself, others, maybe even post on social media my intentions of getting so and so done and then I don’t meet the finish line. I desperately want to, but I lie. I lie to myself, and then to others. And I think that worst part of it all, I do it over and over again; to the point the attempt is addictive. And sometimes we reward ourselves for simply trying.  There are times that I AM successful, but more times than not, I bite off more than I can chew, and I still want a pat on the back for trying. I think this is no different than what happens to many of us. We have wants and desires, even if they are often unhealthy or irrational. It’s like Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player in history, who will likely never be surpassed, yet it’s not enough, he wants to save a franchise as a general manager/owner too.

But reaching for happiness, success is not a bad thing, but we need to be realistic in  our efforts. Because if we do not, there are things in our reach that we convince ourselves that we can not reach, when they totally are. The failures have convinced us that the attempt is good enough. At some point, we have to realize that things that are most important, and then DO them.

Enter tax reform.

Saying that we want tax reform has become good enough, the attempt, the talk of trying, has satisfied our desires. Tax reform, is one item that is always on the list of items that we need to fix, yet, we are not trying to fix it all. I mean, there are people who have tried to fix it, like previous legislators Dave Camp or Max Baucus, but most of them are lying to themselves, and most of all, to us, the electorate, and we believe the lie every time. I wish for 1 day, every American would care that they are lying to us about fixing the tax code; Republicans, Democrats, Independents, so then we can hold them accountable, but we don’t really want to do that now do we? We want them to stop lying to themselves, but then so would we.

Last week, President Obama, introduced tax policy that could do some good, but also showed the continual reality there will be no real discussion or compromise on tax policy; there were more items that Republicans will fight against; more of the same. Everyone is guilty of not getting it done, but I am just tired of us acting like it’s a top priority when that is a total lie. This quote explains that explains the U.S.’s approach the best, “Tax reform is dead—long live tax reform”.  We live in a perpetual paradox.

The last time we, America, enacted a comprehensive tax reform was 1986. Yet, many of America’s major competitors have been actively reforming their tax laws in recent years. Even our closest neighbors are getting ahead of us. Canada has already reformed its tax laws and Mexico is doing so right now. If Congress doesn’t take action, the U.S. risks falling further behind.(source) This was from a Wall Street article from Dave Camp who introduced legislation last session for comprehensive tax reform. So why do we give ourselves false hope? Why do we have good intentions, but not exactly execute?

“Policy wonks have long dreamed of simplifying America’s tax code. Hopes soared after 2012’s election, when Barack Obama and John Boehner, the Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, both suggested that tax reform could be part of a grand bargain that raised tax revenue, curbed spending and cut the deficit. (source) . Will the next two years be any different? Are will it be a huge part of the 2016 campaign fodder, again? The countries surrounding us are doing it, why are we failing?  If you just google the last five years of articles concerning tax reform, you get a million and one articles, about what it is the most important thing that needs to help the long term health of the economy and it is tax reform.

The reality is that we like to lie ourselves. The truth: “Congress lacked (and continues to lack) the willpower to take on such a behemoth task that required serious examination of many financial sacred cows – whether to trim the mortgage interest deduction, how to tax the earnings of private equity firms and hedge funds, what the the top income tax rate should be.” (source).

So we are ultimately unwilling to do the things that we need to do, to get where we need to be. I know that I lament about the lack consensus in most issues, and in areas where we have consensus, we still lack the ability to take action. Tax reform involves both of these components. There are items,  President Obama mentioned like expanding the earned income tax credit (EITC) for workers without children, because it will reduce poverty. (source). But there are other policy initiatives that are just going to cause legislators to get ready for the next campaign season and choose stances that is an advantages to one’s self.

And that’s the real lie, we are not superheroes, not even close, we are not going to engage in efforts that don’t benefit ourselves, so maybe we need to stop expecting people (politicians) who don’t have the same interests to do something about it, or if we choose to vote for them, we should hold them accountable and make them.