Sharing with you things that are on my mind...Maybe yours too. Come back to Wrights Lane for a visit anytime!

31 January, 2017

DRESDEN'S TREVOR THOMPSON A DETROIT BROADCASTING STAR

The perils of a big league sports reporter, part of the job for Trevor Thompson.
When someone from your home town reaches the pinnacle of a chosen field of endeavor, one cannot help but feel a natural sense of pride.  Such is the case for me in following the remarkable career of Detroit sports broadcaster Trevor Thompson who just happens to be a native of Dresden, ON.

In fact, the very personable Trevor has become as much a celebrity in the Motor City as most of the athletes he covers in his reports and commentaries.  He follows in the footsteps of such Detroit broadcasting greats as Harry Heilmann, Ty Tyson, Ernie Harwell, Van Patrick, Bud Lynch, Paul Carey, Ray Lane and George Kell, to name but a few.
Trevor Thompson doing rinkside interview.

Consider for a moment that soon after receiving the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association "Ty Tyson Award" for Excellence in Sports Broadcasting in June, 2015, he actually became president of the association. He has been a member of Fox Sports Net and Fox Sports Detroit’s on-air broadcast team since June, 2000.  A four-time Emmy winner, he has served as a network reporter and host in Detroit for the past 15 years.

Trevor's list of sports journalism credits include in-depth coverage of the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings and MLB’s Detroit Tigers, serving as a host and reporter on programs like “Red Wings Live” and “Wingspan”, as well as taking a leading role in the network’s post-game coverage of the Stanley Cup playoffs.  He exudes enthusiasm and has built strong personal relationships with players, managers and media counterparts alike.  (For a sample of his work and style, click on the attached video clip featuring an on-ice interview with Detroit Red Wings defenceman, Nik Lidstrom.)   He is as much at home on the ice and in a dugout as he is during an interview and behind a studio microphone.

Not bad for this son of Sandra and Al Thompson who graduated from Lambton-Kent District High School in Dresden and went on to attend Ryerson University in Toronto.

Make no mistake about it, "Trev" is no johnny-come-lately to the sports broadcasting scene...having spent several years with CTV Sportsnet and another three years with Orca Bay Sports and Entertainment in Vancouver before landing his job with Fox in Detroit.

Trevor Thompson is truly a class act and a guy who has fun doing the job he loves.  He also makes his job fun for his viewers and listeners.  Ya gotta love him!

30 January, 2017

WRITER H. L. MENCKEN HAD A CRYSTAL BALL BACK IN 1920

The following was written by H. L. Mencken in the Baltimore Evening Sun, 97 years ago. It eerily forecasts the results of the recent presidential election in the United State, especially the last paragraph as depicted in the above image.

"All of us, if we are of reflective habit, like and admire men whose fundamental beliefs differ radically from our own. But when a candidate for public office faces the voters he does not face men of sense; he faces a mob of men whose chief distinguishing mark is the fact that they are quite incapable of weighing idea, or even of comprehending any save the most elemental — men whose whole thinking is done in terms of motion, and whose dominant emotion is dread of what they cannot understand. So confronted, the candidate must either bark with the pack or count himself lost. All the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre — the man who can most adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum.

"The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folk of the land will reach their heart's desired at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."          
-- Baltimore Sun (26 July 1920)

Mencken (September 12, 1880 – January 29, 1956), a life-long resident of Baltimore, was an American journalist, satirist, cultural critic and scholar of  American English. Known as the "Sage of Baltimore", he is regarded as one of the most influential American writers and prose stylists of the first half of the 20th century. He commented widely on the social scene, literature, music, prominent politicians and contemporary movements.

As a scholar, Mencken is known for The American Language, a multi-volume study of how the English language is spoken in the United States. As an admirer of the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzche, he was a detractor of religion, populism and representative democracy, which he believed was a system in which inferior men dominated their superiors. Mencken was a supporter of scientific progress, skeptical of economic theories and, oddly enough critical of osteopathic and chiropractic medicine.

It is too bad he was born 60 years too soon. He would have a field day with today's American politics. One thing for sure, he would not be invited to any Donald Trump press conference.

26 January, 2017

SOMETHING TO BE LEARNED FROM ORWELL WHEN DEALING WITH TRUMP

STRANGE BUT TRUE FACTS: 

1) I have been sucked in by the unusual essence of the man Donald Trump. Try as I may I cannot pass up any news story, commentary or video clip involving this controversial 45th President of the United States of America.


2) While I have not always sided with him, I have long-held respect for the intelligence of Bob Rae who was elected 11 times to the federal House of Commons and the Ontario legislature between 1978 and 2013. He was NDP leader and Ontario’s 21st Premier from 1990 to 1995.


3) I have an ongoing fascination with George Orwell, the English novelist, essayist and critic, most famous for his sharp satirical fiction of the 20th century. 


You can imagine then my interest in an op-ed item penned by the aforementioned Bob Rae in the January 26 edition of the Toronto Star.  He contends that Orwell's insights into politics, propaganda and the uses of abuse of power have never been so apt as they are today and on reflection, I tend to concur.
Bob Rae

"Were the possible consequences not so serious, one could enjoy a good laugh," Rae suggests while adding that the ugly face of European populism after WW2 did too much irreparable damage for anyone to just walk away from the conceits and exaggerations that dot the landscape of current U.S. presidential utterances."

The underlying premise of  Donald Trump's rhetoric is that he alone understands the interests of The People, and that The People are a single unit to which he has a unique pipeline.  As The Leader, he alone knows how to communicate with The People.  A government which allegedly for the first time in history, has been returned to The People will be run by a cabinet dominated by millionaire businessmen and he sees nothing ironic with that, because the only humor he understands is sarcasm and character assassination.

Donald Trump
Rae points out that the dark, grim nature of Trump's views can be found in his book Crippled America, and in that extraordinary dark rift in his inaugural address where he described the "carnage" that had come to America, and which single-handedly he would bring to an end.  Threats to The People are perceived as threats to The Nation, which leads to a Mexican wall and anti-Muslim policies as well as the appeal to protectionism.  The media, meantime, is expected to support the president in his role as Unifier of The People.  Transgressors will be punished.

The first press conference of Trump's new official spokesman, Sean Spicer, presented an outline of the administration's attitude to dissent or differences of opinion and in a follow-up, another spokesman/woman for the administration passed off Spicer's inflated estimate of the inaugural crowd in Washington as "alternative facts," giving rise to a new phrase "alt-facts" to match the "alt-right" catchword.
George Orwell

The art of propaganda that Orwell taught the world, is not just to lie, but to repeat it over and over again, so that it will enter the lexicon as arguably true.  And, as he put it so aptly, there are times when simply telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.

The central experience in Orwell's life was his exposure to the Spanish Civil War.  He learned that the propaganda and lies of the Stalinists could only be countered by the bitter tonic of reality.  All courageous people could do in the face of the totalitarian lie was to tell the truth.

"But it is also a reality that the U.S. government leads the largest economy in the world," states Rae. "It is the one with which we (Canada) do the most trade.  Since the end of the Second World War Canada has been committed to building a world base on the rule of law, not just because we're good guys, but because a rules-based trading system works for us better than one dictated solely by power."

It is clear from his speech that Trump's vision is a world system dominated by American self interest, and every president before him has completely failed to protect American jobs and values.  He attacks companies that do business in other countries.  He thinks that trade and investment are zero sum games.

Rae's conviction is that Canada has to do what it can to weather the storm south of the border, but it should be under no illusions.  "We shouldn't worry so much if Theresa May (UK Prime Minister, known to be soft on Trump) is the first in line to make the journey to Washington...We should be more self-confident in our values and the wisdom we can bring to the table.  We need to be working with other countries to see how to bring more perspective to these discussions," he adds.

In all of this, our Canadian government has to remember that rationality will not necessarily be on its side in future talks with the U.S. because the president operates under a different logic.

And remember Bob Rae's words:  "The first things a bully smells are fear and uncertainty."

Over to you, young Mr. Justin Trudeau!  Why not give Mr. Rae a call before your first sit-down with
The Donald...A nation is in your hands and you will need all the help you can get in the crucial days ahead!

23 January, 2017

ON TURNING WISHES INTO ACTION

As you get along in life you spend a lot of time wishing -- wishing that you'd accomplished more, wishing that you'd done some things differently, wishing that the world was a better place...At least I do.

But you know what?  Wishing alone never accomplishes anything.  It is what you do with those wishes that counts for something in life...and it is never too late to start doing your small part to make the world, at least, a better place.

The following poem "Wishing" by Ella Wheeler Wilcox was recently brought to my attention and I could not help but "wish" that I had written it myself.  I'll simply do the next best thing by sharing it here for the edification of my friends and others who may stumble upon it.

Do you wish the world were better?
Let me tell what to do ...
Set a watch upon your actions,
Keep them always straight and true.
Rid your mind of selfish motives,
Let your thoughts be clean and high.
You can make a little Eden
Of the sphere you occupy.

Do you wish the world were wiser?
Well, suppose you make a start,
By accumulating wisdom
In the scrapbook of your heart;
Do not waste one page on folly;
Live to learn ... and learn to live.
If you want to give men knowledge
You must get it, ere you give.

Do you wish the world were happy?
Then remember day by day
Just to scatter seeds of kindness
As you pass along the way,
For the pleasures of the many
May be ofttimes traced to one.
As the hand that plants an acorn
Shelters armies from the sun.

I strongly believe that we all tend to begin our reforms too far away from home. The persons who wish improvement strongly enough to first set to work on themselves are the persons who will achieve results.

22 January, 2017

HILLYBILLY WRITER'S BOOK INFLUENCED U.S. PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

"I don’t know if J. D. Vance attended Friday’s Inauguration (in Washington). I don’t even know if this best-selling author even voted for the 45th American President. I do know his recent book, Hillbilly Elegy (HarperCollins, 2016) is purported to explain one major reason why Donald Trump is now making himself at home this weekend in the White House," writes Bob Johnston in the Saugeen Times.

Rev. Bob always impresses me with the amount of reading and research that he does and I found his reference to Vance and Trump to be particularly fascinating.

You can justifiably say a lot of negative things about Donald Trump, but he is no dummy.  He secured unexpectedly strong Presidential support among the so-called forgotten Americans, those most affected by the loss of well-paying factory jobs right across the “Rust Belt” states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio. He shoots from the hip; he’s not constantly afraid of offending someone; he’ll get angry; he’ll call someone a liar or a fraud. This is how a lot of people in the white working class actually talk about politics and politicians. Trump set himself up as a champion of the underdog, got their attention and eventually their vote.
J.D. Vance is the man of the hour,
maybe the year. His memoir 

Hillbilly Elegy  is a New York
Times bestseller, acclaimed for
its colorful and at times moving
account of life in a dysfunctional
clan of eastern Kentucky natives.
It has received positive reviews
across the board, with The Times
calling it “a compassionate and
discerning sociological analysis
of the white underclass.” In the
rise of Donald Trump, it has
become a kind of Rosetta Stone
for blue America to interpret that
most mysterious of species: the
economically precarious white
voter.

To her peril, in taking the high road, Hillary Clinton did not listen, or chose to ignore, this under-estimated and forgotten segment of the American population.

It should be explained that J.D. Vance is a self-described “hillbilly” whose grandparents migrated from Kentucky Appalachia country to Middletown, Ohio. Their goal was to secure a better economic future for children and grandchildren. These were the descendants of the millions of Scots-Irish immigrants who came to the United States in the eighteenth century and, finding the seaboard already occupied by earlier immigrants, pushed on to the vast backwoods, that mountainous hinterland from Georgia and Alabama and northward to New York State and Ohio.

Vance defines this sub-culture as fiercely loyal to family, faith and country. They are the “poor whites,” lacking a college degree and mostly left behind by massive manufacturing job losses in today’s American economy.

Vance’s grandparents, his beloved Papaw and Mamaw, escaped the poverty of Jackson, Kentucky, in 1946 to find better-paying work in the industrial town of Middletown, Ohio. Papaw was 16 and his new bride was 13 and pregnant.

Hill people like the Vance family were actively recruited by Ohio factories and the young father quickly found work at Armco, a thriving steel company, one of four major local factory employers. Gaining employment proved easier than finding social acceptance among the urban, more educated, already established white population. These reluctant 'now-neighbours' looked askance at the unsophisticated thousands of newcomers descending into their cities and towns.

Two generations later, the transplanted 'hillbillies' have fallen on hard times. Drug use is rampant. (The exciting new reality show, Southern Justice, documents this widespread use of meth, heroin and other illegal chemicals. On camera, the local police spend most of their shifts chasing drug dealers.) Family life has become fractured. Those good jobs in Middletown have moved off shore. The “blue collar economy” has never recovered following the recent Great recession, leaving Vance’s sub-culture pessimistic but also angry.

Vance outlines two options for America’s forgotten Appalachian workers: education or government-dependent welfare. He chose the former path, encouraged by his indomitable Mamaw who pushed school success as the ticket out of poverty and despair. After a stint in the Marines, Vance went on to study law at Yale. He has little sympathy for those able-bodied employables who have chosen the welfare route rather than work, describing how many have learned to scam the food stamp handouts.

One seeming purpose of Hillbilly Elegy is to provide a cathartic journal for Vance to publicly ventilate a mix of love, resentment, fears, sense of loss, anger and other deeply-held, troubling emotions. Emanating from his dysfunctional culture and disrupted family life---five “father figures,” Vance had carried these memories into adulthood.

A second thesis of Hillbilly Elegy is to explain how these “forgotten working class white Americans” gradually shifted their political allegiance, beginning with Ronald Reagan’s presidency, from Democrat to Republican. The Scots-Irish have always been fiercely independent, patriotic, pro-military and anti-establishment—a natural voting base harvest for Trump as it turned out.

Vance as an author is far more successful in achieving his former goal of catharsis than the latter one of socio-political interpretation. In Bob Johnston's view, a far better depiction of the Scots-Irish influence on the shaping of American culture is Born To Fight (Broadway Publisher, 2004), written by the former Virginia senator, Jim Webb. He illustrates how such diverse characters as Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett, Teddy Roosevelt and general George Patton were each from Scots-Irish stock.

With Trump’s presidency comes the revived hopes of those “hillbillies” whom Vance has described in his poignant and informative bestseller. In his inaugural address, the new president once again decried those closed American “factories scattered like tombstones across the land.” To the millions of forgotten ones, he thundered: “You will never be ignored again.”

Time will determine whether Donald Trump’s promises will be kept. He may not listen but his advisors will surely and gently remind him that many of those disappeared jobs were lost, not to China or Mexico, but to robots and better industrial technology. The Kentucky coal miner’s “enemy” was not Obama or the EPA. If and when off-shore jobs do return to the United States, it may happen not as a frightened response to Trumpian threats, but as a reaction to Chinese pollution, endemic corruption and frustrating red tape in many off-shore countries, rising wage demands by off-shore workers and escalating transportation costs to ship finished manufactured goods back to the USA.

In the interim, along with J. D. Vance’s transplanted Appalachians, the world anxiously awaits the dawning of this unprecedented new chapter in American history.

What my friend Rev. Bob did not realize when he wrote his piece for the Saugeen Times is that, surprise of all surprises, Vance did not vote for Trump (he voted for Evan McMullin, an independent candidate supported by anti-Trump conservatives) and he has a couple of reasons why..."He (Trump) used rhetoric that's not in the best interest of the party or country. I happen to think that conservatism, when properly applied to the 21st Century, could actually help everybody. And the message of Trump's campaign was obviously not super-appealing to Latino Americans, black Americans and so forth. That really bothered me," he explained in a recent interview. "In some ways even more importantly than that, while I think Trump had clearly diagnosed very real problems, I didn't see any real evidence that he had much in the way of positive solutions that would address a lot of these concerns...I'm sort of taking a wait-and-see approach, but if he doesn't [provide solutions], that's going to leave people in an even worse position than they were four years ago," he added.

I could not agree more, but isn't it ionic that a writer who undoubtedly strongly influenced Donald Trump's controversial election victory, is not convinced about the new president's ability to deliver on out-spoken election campaign rhetoric and chose not to vote for him?

Indeed a crazy time in American politics.  It will undoubtedly get crazier in the next four years and that is a frightening prospect even for those of us watching from a vantage point ever so close to the Canada-U.S. border.

I'm not sure I'm up for it!  Are you?

17 January, 2017

AN INTERESTING HISTORY BEHIND MY VINTAGE PIGGY-BANK

I have an old friend that I have been neglecting for a good 70 years and I recently thought that I should dust him off and feed him something just for old times sake.  I'm talking, of course, about my childhood piggy-bank that has held its age remarkably well considering the passage of time.  In fact the eight-inch tall, hand-painted, molded clay figure it is now considered "vintage" in the antique collector's world.
My 76-year-old piggy-bank.


To tell the truth, I do not recall when I first opened a bank savings account but I do remember saving quite a bit of money in my "piggy", a penny and nickel at a time starting from about three or four years of age. Regretfully, the savings habit of those formative years seemed to fall by the wayside as I grew older.

These days the piggy bank is taken for granted. Kids still love them, but where did they really come from? Why do people around the world stuff loose change into small plastic pigs? Research has revealed some interesting history.

The origin of piggy banks dates back nearly 600 years, in a time before real banks even existed. Before the creation of modern-style banking institutions, people commonly stored their money at home -- not under the mattress (or hay rack), but in common kitchen jars. During The Middle Ages, metal was expensive and seldom used for household wares. Instead, dishes and pots were made of an economical orange-colored clay called pygg. Whenever folks could save an extra coin or two, they dropped it into one of their clay jars -- a pygg pot.

Vowels in early English had different sounds than they do today, so during the time of the Saxons the word pygg would have been pronounced “pug.” But as the pronunciation of “y” changed from a “u” to an “i,” pygg eventually came to be pronounced about like “pig.” Perhaps coincidentally, the Old English word for pigs (the farm animal) was “picga,” with the Middle English word evolving into “pigge,” possibly because of the fact that the animals rolled around in pygg mud and dirt.

Over the next two hundred to three hundred years, as the English language evolved, the clay (pygg) and the animal (pigge) came to be pronounced the same, and Europeans slowly forgot that pygg once referred to the earthenware pots, jars and cups of yesteryear. So in the 19th century when English potters received requests for pygg banks, they started producing banks shaped like pigs. This clever -- albeit accidental -- visual pun appealed to customers and delighted children.

Early models had no hole in the bottom, so the pig had to be broken to get money out. Some people say that’s where we get the expression “breaking the bank,” but serious academics disagree. The idiom “break the bank” means to ruin one financially, or to exhaust one’s resources. The term is believed to originate in gambling, where it means that a player has won more than the banker (the house) can pay.

So that explains where the “pig” part came from, but how about the word “bank.” Way back when, the word “bank” originally meant the same thing as “bench.” You see, when money first started changing hands in Northern Italy, lenders did business in open markets, working over a table. These Medieval Venetian banks were set up in main squares by men who both changed and lent money. Their benches would be laden with currencies from the different trading countries. The Italian word for bench or counter is “banco” from which the English word “bank” is derived. (Some argue this is where the term “broke the bank” comes from. The Italian expression “banca rotta” means “broken bench,” with a broken bench possibly symbolizing that a money lender was out of business.)

I readily admit that this is probably much more than you ever wanted to know about piggy-banks. Like every other tradition, there are those today that maintain that piggy banks are not an effective tool in teaching children wise money-handling habits.

This is where I bow out...I was never a good money handler, but I can't blame it on my vintage piggy-bank who served me well.  I just never earned enough folding money to handle properly after piggy retired!

06 January, 2017

UNDERSTANDING ECCENTRICS AND TODAY'S POLITICAL HOSTILITY

Even the most pragmatic and boringly practical among us, in moments of nostalgia, must confess to having done crazy things on a whim. Ironically, the realistic kind of people often romanticize about those moments in their lives where they followed their hearts and did things in the name of a craze, love or passion which they wouldn’t dream of doing now.

But an eccentric person, in the true sense of the word, is not one who follows his heart and does unusual stuff once in a while. Definition of the word is someone who deviates from an established or usual pattern or style and from conventional or accepted usage or conduct especially in odd or whimsical ways. Edith Sitwell says that geniuses and aristocrats are called eccentric because "they are entirely unafraid of and uninfluenced by the opinions and vagaries of the crowd."

Many of us wish we had courage and originality to be able to live life on our own terms. We may have creativity, but responsibilities and the fear of the consequences of non-conformity make us suppress that fantasy.

Psychological studies point towards certain signs of eccentricity. Some of these could be: a non-conforming attitude, idealistic, intense curiosity, happy obsession with hobbies, knowing very early in his or her childhood they are different from others, highly intelligent, opinionated and outspoken, unusual living or eating habits, not interested in the opinions or company of others, naughty sense of humour and being usually the eldest, or an only child.

Eccentricity is often associated with being unusually gifted. This could mean genius, intellectual giftedness, or creativity. The unusual behaviour could be an outward reflection of extraordinary intelligence, talent or passion. The minds of eccentrics are so original that they cannot conform to societal norms. Eccentricity is also believed to be associated with great wealth. Stories of wealthy business tycoons or celebrities with peculiar idiosyncrasies are legendary.

In this regard, U.S. president-elect Donald Trump, with his outrageous pronouncements, penchant for mistruths, disrespect and illusions of grandeur,  fits the "eccentric" bill perfectly.  Americans voted for The Donald because, down deep they saw a little of themselves in him.  In protest to the status quo in Washington, they made a statement by voting for change -- perhaps the most controversial and potentially dangerous change in political history, bringing with it a general increase in public aggression.  In was not as much a vote for Trump as it was a vote against Obama and his time in the Oval Office.

Closer to home, a still wet-behind-the-ears Justin Trudeau swept to an upset victory in last year's Canadian federal election because he represented a new direction and breath of fresh air.  Several months after the fact, Trudeau bashers are proving to be alive and well. The novelty is wearing off and hostile criticism of "the Trudeau government" is mounting, however warranted or unwarranted.

It is now clear to me that in North America we are increasingly stuck in a cycle of political hostility bordering on outright hatred. Political parties encourage citizens to “take a side,” and taking a side too often entails becoming irrationally defensive over that side, while ruthlessly bashing the other.

This aggression has ultimately resulted in a range of violence, from citizens being assaulted at political conventions for supporting a candidate of their choice, to students being ostracized in classrooms if they dare to share a political view that opposes the majority. Day after day, Facebook and Twitter newsfeeds are filled with one-sided political messages which fuel anger and polarization, while leaving no trace of collaborative solutions to pertinent issues.

How will defending a political party, mainly because it’s “your side,” and hating on the other side, make our country a better place to live? Bashing others, whether it be a person or a political party, does not lead to solutions.

This vicious cycle of aggression is serving as a barrier to collaborative solutions and rational compromise.  So what can you do?

The answer: Stop being a hater! Every citizen has the power to break this cycle of aggression, and to fuel a new cycle of collaboration. Here is how to start:

1) Recognize Defensiveness

We are all guilty. If we have chosen a political party, we have unfortunately become accustomed to being defensive of that party, even before we know the facts (not to mention that the “facts” are often difficult to come by). The first step to ending the cycle of aggression is to recognize our own defensiveness. Ask yourself these questions:

• Do I understand the wants and needs of both sides?
• Do I have all of the facts?
• Can I be sure that my “facts” are viable?
• Will being defensive of “my side” make this country a better place to live?

2) Stop Reacting, Start Listening

Once we recognize that we are being defensive, it is essential that we stop defending and start listening to what others have to say. Ask yourself these questions:

• What is the underlying want or need that is being argued for?
• Do I understand the want or need of all parties?
• Is that want or need a human right?
• Will that want or need cause harm?
• What might be a logical and fair compromise?

3) Recognize Flaws of political parties

Every political party is flawed, including our own. Every political party is guilty of repeatedly committing acts of hate and aggression. And every political party is failing at collaborating with one another in order to reach compromises and create positive change. It is essential that we choose to see and acknowledge these flaws, so that positive progression can be achieved.

Ask yourself these questions:
• Is my political party collaborating across the political spectrum to reach rational compromise and create positive change?
• Is my political party causing harm to anyone or anything?
• Is my political party discriminating against anyone or anything?
• Is my political party respecting human rights of all people?

4) Post Mindfully

What are you posting on social media? We are responsible for fueling the cycle of aggression. One-sided political posts often fuel anger and hate without providing opportunities for collaborative solutions. Instead of posting or sharing one-sided comments, problems or solutions, focus on the need and eliminate the bashing on others.

Before posting something to social media, ask yourself these questions:
• Will this post fuel anger, hate or defensiveness?  Will it offend (even some of my friends)?
• Will this post provide or deter an opportunity for collaborative solutions or rational compromise?
• Does this post bash anyone (a political party or a person)?
• Does this post focus on the need, or focus on the hate?

5) Choose Collaboration

The paradigm of “us versus them” serves as the greatest barrier to progress and solutions. Instead of focusing on the best interest of our political party, we need to focus on the best interest of all citizens, and the nation as a whole. We all have the power to choose collaboration by working to understand all sides of the want or need at hand, and by exploring and inviting compromises and solutions.

Political leaders, regardless of party affiliation, are failing to work together to understand all angles of issues in order to produce progressive solutions. Instead of commending the bashing between political leaders or candidates, ask for collaboration. Recognize that every time a political leader bashes another, they are perpetuating the cycle of aggression, and creating a barrier to collaboration.

Personally I am not impressed, yay I'm offended, by exposure to unsolicited opposition or criticism unaccompanied by the suggestion of a reasoned solution and note of conciliation.  Otherwise, please spare me!  I do not need the aggravation...I already have enough uninvited and unwelcomed negativity to last a lifetime.