Tag Archives: president

Up Here on My High Horse

“Look at you up there on your high horse.”

I’ve been hearing this a lot lately.

Have you?

Seems like any time I engage in a debate on Facebook about the recent women’s march, or just about scientific facts in general, I get told to “get down off of my high horse.” I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard this, and more often than not it has come from other local women in my small town.

I couldn’t seem to get that phrase off of my mind, so I decided to research it a bit. (For those who aren’t aware, “research” is a thing you do when you don’t understand something. It’s preferably done before you start speaking about a particular subject. I’ll wait if you need to go write that down.)

Okay.

I found a site called phrases.org.uk. Kind of a fun little site that helps you find out where certain terms originated from. This is what it had to say about being “on a high horse:”

“When we now say that people are on their high horse we are implying a criticism of their haughtiness. The first riders of high horses didn’t see it that way; they were very ready to assume a proud and commanding position, indeed that was the very reason they had mounted the said horse in the first place. The first references to high horses were literal ones; ‘high’ horses were large or, as they were often known in mediaeval England, ‘great’ horses.”

Okay, so let’s break that down. What is now used as a term of insult, actually didn’t used to be that way. It was almost a term of honor. It was used to refer to the people who were in a “proud and commanding position.”

A proud and commanding position.

Well.

So, how do I respond to that?  Am I actually up on a high horse like I’ve been accused of being?

I only know one way to answer that.

Hell yes I am!

And here’s why.

During the Women’s March last weekend in Washington, D.C., my friend Cassondra and I were literally smashed between thousands of people. We could not see anything other than the backs of the person in front of us. Sometimes we managed to squeeze ourselves into a position behind a person shorter than us and, in those rare moments of being able to breathe, were actually able to see the speaker on the television screen who happened to be talking at the time.  We couldn’t really hear them, mind you, but we could at least see them for a split second before our view and breath was obstructed yet again.

At one point amidst the ‘standing room only’ crowd, my claustrophobic and exhausted friend started showing signs bordering on a panic attack. I asked around to see if anyone knew of a place we could go to get out of the crowd and, while that was practically impossible, one person did point out that there was a long tunnel-like alley leading down to a locked underground passageway beneath a nearby building. At this point (this would change later, mind you), not many people were down there because of the sight restrictions. The crowd parted in what little way it could to let us make a small path to this spot to give my friend some breathing room.

When we got there, while she could breathe easier and we felt less struggle, we couldn’t quite forget what we were missing up there. Above us, history was being made. We were there to document it, photograph it, write about it – and yet here we were hiding in an alley.

Why were we doing that?

I’ll tell you why

Because it was hard up there.

It was, man. It was hard.

It was terrifying even.

It is a scary thing to put yourself in a situation that you’re not sure you can get out of. We were both asking ourselves why we were there. Why we had subjected ourselves to this flood of people. How were our two little faces in the crowd even going to matter?  Why hadn’t we just stayed home?

And then suddenly, I had an idea.

Our little alley was positioned behind a row of portajohns, and behind that row of portajohns was a metal railing. After studying it for a few minutes, I wondered if it might just be possible to climb up there and snap a photo from up above. It wasn’t going to be easy, I knew that, and we might even hurt ourselves (or her fancy camera) in the process.  But how were we going to let people know what we saw if we weren’t even seeing it ourselves?

We had a job to do.

And by god, we were going to do it.

So, between the two of us and some awkward maneuvering, we managed to ‘scale the wall’ (take that however you’d like) and rise above it.

And when we got there, this is what we saw:

hats

Photo by Cassondra G. Photography

From up there at my vantage point – on my “high horse” if you will – I could see what I couldn’t see while I was down in that pit. I could see hundreds of thousands of people in every direction you look. A sea of pink hats representing a common goal. Men, women, black, white, Hispanic, Christian, Muslim…you name it. They were there.

And what a sight it was to behold.

Here’s the thing about climbing out of a pit and seeing what you couldn’t see before. It’s addictive. You get up there and you realize that is where you want to be. You realize that hiding down in the pit is not going to get you anywhere. You’re missing it. You might feel like you have room to move down there, but the truth is – you don’t. You’re stuck.

You have to climb out. You have to get up on that high horse and take a look around. Be proud. Be commanding.

Make a difference.

And then come back to tell people about it.

“Birds born in a cage think flying is an illness.”
– Alejandro Jodorowsky

Don’t be like that, okay? Don’t think that flying is an illness. Don’t think that rising above the situation that surrounds you is going to be a bad thing. Are people going to talk about you up there? Sure they are! Why? Oh, I don’t know. Maybe they think it’s not fair that you got to be up there and they didn’t. Maybe they think that you’re trying to be better than them because you took the time and initiative to climb out of the status quo.

And you know what?

They’re right.

You are better than them.

You took the time to look around for yourself. You took the time to break out of that cage and see what flying really feels like. And when you got there, you realized you weren’t alone. There was a whole sea of people out there waiting to fly with you.

In conclusion, to the next person that tells me I’m up on my high horse, I’d like to thank you. Thank you for the reminder that yes, I am up here. And I’m not coming back down because I can’t.

Can you possibly understand that?

I just can’t.

The view is way too nice from up here. I can’t imagine climbing back down.

But you know what?

There’s plenty of room up here. I’ll slide over and let you on too if you want.  I promise.

All you have to do is ask.

***

“Where there is an open mind, there will always be a frontier.”
– Dorothea Brande

womens-march

 

Let Us Grieve

“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.”
– Bryant H. McGill

***

So, here’s the thing. I have a little favor to ask of you, my fellow Americans. It’s not much. Just a tiny little thing you might be able to do for me.

STOP MINIMIZING OTHER PEOPLE’S FEELINGS.

Okay?

Seriously, y’all. Stop it.  Now.

What does that mean? you ask.  “Minimizing other people’s feelings?” Valid question. So here, let me give you a few examples:

“Stop whining.”

“It’s not that big of a deal.”

“Calm down.”

“Get over it.”

If I had a dollar for every variation of those I’ve seen in the past 24 hours, I’d have enough money to advance to the presidency myself.

Here’s the deal. I’m going to let you in on a little secret, okay? Ready?

We don’t give a shit who the president of the United States is.

Yup, there it is. I said it.

Is that not very patriotic of me? Eh, maybe not. But it’s the friggin truth. Are we going to be inviting him over for dinner? Is he going to be babysitting our kids? Giving us marriage advice?  Exchanging presents with us on Christmas Eve?

No. He is nothing to us.

WE DON’T CARE.

But here’s what we do care about.

How the rhetoric and example of the person in the highest, utmost position of honor in our country is going to trickle down to the people we are around every day.

Think it doesn’t really matter?

Think again.

Yesterday, kids all over America asked to stay home from school. I know, because mine was one of them. Were they overreacting? Making a big deal out of nothing?  I don’t know. You tell me.

“I turned out the lights on my third graders at 7:38. They come in my room at 7:35. They were arguing about the election within minutes of walking in my room. I turned out the lights and told them that the election was not going to change how we treated each other and we would not be discussing it. They are eight years old. My class doesn’t fight. They were yelling at each other. If kids are acting this way, how far will adults go?”

These are the words from a THIRD GRADE teacher in our small, rural town in North Carolina today.

Third graders.

A facebook status from a concerned friend of adoptive parents:

“So, I’ve been holding this in all day but would like to share it with you now. A friend of mine and his wife have an adopted son from Central America. He came home scared and confused from school yesterday and said that some kid told him that if Trump wins the election then would be sent back to Mexico. My friends had not discussed Trumps policies with their son so this idea was coming straight from others. Connect the dots. This is simple and basic and real. It’s not some media pundit taking up air time. This is our America and it pisses me off. If you think this a problem in our society and would like to discuss how we can fix it then I welcome your thoughts. If you don’t recognize this as a problem then you are part of the problem…”

Again. Right here in Nowhere, North Carolina.

Or better yet.  Here.  How about this one?

“’Yes, sweet boy, God loves you. I love you too.”’

A co-worker whispered these words in answer to a sobbing student today. A student who was born in America, just like my girls. A student who takes care of his siblings and takes on more responsibility on his shoulders than my girls have ever known.

This student walked into his school today to taunting, “You’re going to be sent back to Mexico.” He buried his scared, hurt face in his teacher’s shoulder, and we found a safe place for him to cry. Through my own tears I said, “Find the good people to hang out with today. There is bad, but there are always good people.” And I prayed in my heart, please God, keep letting the good show up.”

That was a middle-school teacher in our same little rural town.

“Please God, keep letting the good show up.”

We are in the middle of nowhere, people. Obama, Trump, Hillary…those people are never going to step foot in this little town that is so far off of an interstate we barely know how to tell people to get to one. We don’t care which one of them is sitting in the oval office at any given time. We really don’t.

THIS is what we care about.

Each other.

If you think this election doesn’t affect every single person walking across this land we call home, you are sadly mistaken. If you are one that can just shrug it off and go about your business and not let it affect you – hallelujah. Good for you. I’d trade places with you in a heartbeat.

But I’m not.

These parents aren’t.

These teachers aren’t.

These students aren’t.

We are in pain, people. Our country is broken. Our hearts are broken. For lack of a more eloquent term, we are treating each other like shit.

And that hurts.

Some of us cry. Some of us rage. Some of us become smartasses. Some of us hide, some of us fight. We all have different ways of dealing with our emotions, but the underlying emotion remains the same.

Fear.

We are scared. We are petrified. We don’t know what is happening to us because most of us haven’t lived through something like this. This is new to us. Those of us under a certain age don’t remember segregation. Stories of the Holocaust are just stories in a history book. Same with stories of the misplaced Indians (well, unless you’re paying attention to the non-front-page headlines these days). We read those stories and we try to empathize but we weren’t there. We don’t understand it.

But when we see a little Mexican boy crying because his peers are telling him he’s going to be deported to a country he has never even seen?

Yeah. Suddenly, it’s real. We feel that.

If you don’t feel it, if you don’t have to experience it, if you’re not around the people who are acting like this – good for you. Really, good for you. I’m happy for you. I hope the rest of the world catches up to the utopia you’re surrounded by.

But for the rest of us out here?

This is very real.

We are hurting. We are scared.

And we deserve your respect.

americacry

Vote for Me! (No, don’t.)

 

Just sitting here thinking about how much I have in common with Trump.

– I’m orange-ish. (My hair anyway.)
– I have a horrible temper.
– I don’t take criticism very well.
– I tend to run my mouth about things I don’t fully understand.
– I love attention.
– I’m writing a book that I’m probably going to have to get someone else to actually write because I don’t know what I’m doing.
– I’ve been married three times.
– I say inappropriate things.
– I post too much on social media.

And, finally, for all of those reasons and more,

– I should NOT be President of the United States.

(Well, except the hair thing. #GingerForPrez2024)

 

noprez

 

***

If one morning I walked on top of the water across the Potomac River, the headline that afternoon would read: ‘President Can’t Swim.’
– Lyndon B. Johnson

Where’s the Respect?

“We don’t need to share the same opinions as others, but we need to be respectful.”
– Taylor Swift

Respect, Respect, whereforart thou, Respect?

Cue the moans and groans.

We sit around typing away on our phones and computers about how the youth of today have totally lost respect for their elders. We rant and we rave about how this country has “gone to hell” and how this new generation has no morals or ethics. We wonder what has happened and we cast blame, blame, blame. [Thanks, Obama.]

But ladies and gentlemen, guess what? I’ve single-handedly figured it all out! I know whose fault it is and I’m here to tell you the answer once and for all. You ready?

YOU.

It’s your own damn fault.

And here’s why.

web1_KeanTriplettBarackObama-1

Photo from Jefferson Post 5/30/2016

An article was just posted in our tiny little town’s newspaper about a local teacher, Keana Triplett, who was named North Carolina’s Teacher of the Year. As part of this major honor, she was given the opportunity to meet President Obama. (Read the article here.) The article had only been posted online for about 10 whole minutes when the negativity started rolling in.

“I feel sorry for her.”

“He’s not my president!”

“I would have passed on meeting Obama – I’ve got better things to do with my time.”

“The president and his family sure haven’t been respectful to America, why should we respect them?” [Note: His family?? What did those little girls ever to do to you??]

What in the hell?

Okay, tell me what on Earth these comments have to do with Keana Triplett, North Carolina’s Teacher of the Year? You know that lack of respect you’re bemoaning in your children? Well, right here is where they learn it, folks.

Right here.

Where is the congratulations for this insanely huge distinction given to a woman who is teaching your children? Where is the admiration for the honor of a small-town hero being afforded the opportunity to meet the leader of our country?

YOU are teaching your children not to have respect.

Yes, YOU.

The next time you go blaming Obama or “the gays” or whoever else is on your radar at any given time, take a look at yourself, okay? Look at how you’re acting. Look at what you’re saying. Look at how you’ve totally twisted a news story about our small-town hero into your own personal political agenda. Look at how full of yourself you are and how much more important you think your opinion is over the intention of this story.

And hey, while you’re at it – take a good long look at how you’re treating the man who runs this country.

You want to know where our country’s morals and ethics and RESPECT have gone? Take a look in the mirror, people. Take a look in the mirror.

You’ll find your culprit staring you right in the face.

***

 

 

Curtsy

“Embarrassment is a villain to be crushed.”
– Robert B. Cialdini

So, have you heard about Stefanie Dolson?

Stefanie, bless her heart, had something happen to her earlier this week that would absolutely mortify most of us.  As a member of the UConn women’s basketball team who had made a trip to the white house to be honored by the President himself for their NCAA national championship, Stefanie had … um … well, let’s just call it a little mishap.  Oh heck, here, let me just let you see for yourself:

Yikes!

AP OBAMA A BKC BKW USA DC

(AP Photos/Susan Walsh)

And as if it happening weren’t bad enough…of course, it had to happen on national TV.  And, of course, newscasters everywhere had to run it on their news segments.  And you can see the reporters’ reactions in the lower left corner of the screen in the video – cameras clicking, flashes everywhere, etc.  Whew.  If Stefanie was going to embarrass herself, by golly she was going to do it right.  Get it, girl.

But you want to know my favorite part of this whole ordeal?  The reason why I’m blogging about the incident?  It’s what happens just after the above video clip ends – the part that most video clips I have found on the subject have managed to leave out.  After the initial embarrassment, after the nervous laughter, after being helped up by the friggin President of the United States for Heaven’s sakes, you know what Stefanie did?

She composed herself, looked right out at one of the cameras and…ready for this?…she curtsied.  Yep.  Curtsied.

Check her out.

AP OBAMA UCONN NCAA A S USA DC

(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

After facing what was probably the most embarrassing thing to have happened to her thus far in her life, she got herself together, looked the embarrassment right in the face, and basically bowed to it.  That curtsy said, “Yep. There ya go. I’m human, and I just proved it. You’re welcome. Carry on.”

It’s pretty safe to say that Stefanie Dolson is one of my favorite people in the world right now.  What a lesson there is to learn from this awesome lady.  I don’t know about you, but I think I’m going to be thinking about that Dolson curtsy for many years to come.  The next time life knocks you down?  Hey, just get right back up, and give life the ol’ Dolson curtsy.  You know?  You can either be remembered for the embarrassment you felt while you were stumbling, or you can be remembered for the classy way you carried yourself after you regained your balance.  It’s that simple.

Really.  It’s just that simple.

(And another little secret – you’re actually probably the only one that’s really going to remember anyway. Unless of course you were on national TV… But isn’t what you remember about yourself the most important thing anyway?)

Remember the curtsy, people – not the stumble.

Got it?

***

“Relax; the world’s not watching that closely. It’s too busy contemplating itself in the mirror.”
– Richelle E. Goodrich

 

Authority

authority

This blog is kind of about politics.  And kind of not.

Mostly, it’s about respect.

I’ll start by admitting that I am not into politics.  I’m just not.  I may be the most “not into” politics of anyone you’ll ever know.  I know myself, and I know to stay out of it to avoid a full-on high-blood-pressure-induced heart attack.  So I steer clear of the subject.

Well, most of the time.

So, while it’s true that I’m not “into” politics, the thing that I am most definitely “into” is people.  Humanity.  Love for your fellow human.  You know, that whole “do unto others as you’d have them do unto you” stuff.

Well, something ‘political’ that I saw yesterday just absolutely pissed me off.

I’m not going to lower myself to post it here for you to see.  It disgusts me and I’m not going to spread it any further than it has to go.  But basically, there’s a picture going around comparing the two Boston marathon bombing terrorist suspects to our president and vice-president.  Saying that both are taking our ‘rights’ away (it’s some BS about gun rights) and therefore implying that they should be grouped in the same category.

Did I mention that this pissed me off?

Again, I’m not political.  I don’t have a strong opinion about gun rights or any other topic that whoever created that picture was attempting to address.  But what I do have is this: respect for authority.

Let me tell you a story.

When my son Jeffrey was 3 years old, he despised his pre-school teacher.  And to be quite honest, I wasn’t too thrilled with her myself.  Well, Jeffrey, in his 3-year-old glory, decided that he would take action to show his teacher how much he disliked her.  He somehow discovered which car in the parking lot was hers (unfortunately for her, it was one that was parked closest to the fence at the playground), and then proceeded to do what a 3-year-old deemed an appropriate way to show contempt – he threw rocks at it.

Of course, his dad and I got called into the school.  And, of course, he got in trouble for it.  But during that incident, and in other incidents to come over the years, I tried to instill something into Jeffrey.  Whether or not you like someone or whether or not you agree with them, one thing has to exist at all times.  And that is respect.  Respect for each other, yes.  But especially a respect for authority.  They are there for a reason.  You don’t have to like it. You don’t have to like them.  But you have to respect them for the role that they play.

As Jeffrey gets older and more mature, I see this respect growing in leaps and bounds.  He still gets angry, as we all do, but he has learned to keep that anger in check and not blow up every time he feels the urge.  Basically, he has learned to ‘stop throwing rocks’ so to speak.

Now, if some adults could just learn that.

Can’t we just stop it?  Just stop it.  Agree with him, disagree with him, like him, hate him – I don’t care.  But remember that he is the president of our country.  This country that gives you the freedom to run your mouth?  Yeah, he runs it.  If you don’t like him, vote him out.  Isn’t it great that you have that option?  Until then, respect the man and allow him to do his job.  If you have issues you disagree on – great.  Voice your opinion.  About the issues.  Not the person.  There is a big difference between feeling strongly enough to voice your opinion about a subject and choosing to bash another human being.

Put your rocks down and grow up.

***

“Men are respectable only as they respect.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson