Archive for June, 2011

Gender Neutrality, Prince and You

Two seemingly unrelated news stories caught my eye. The first, concerns the “entertainer” Prince praising the virtues of countries run under Sharia law, especially the “order” and “simplicity” of having women wear burqas.  The second is about a gender neutral approach to everything from education to child rearing.

Where’s the connection?  Well, that’s the first question.

The second is “Where’s the real harm?”

The obvious answer to the first question is that both stories speak to how we perceive and respond to sexuality.  While that is certainly a big topic that deserves its own post, we need to be much more concerned with the answer to the second question.

For several thousand years, male dominated governments, religions and societies in general, have institutionalized the marginalization, even the near obliteration, of the Divine Feminine aspect of Creation.  It isn’t necessary to go much farther than Genesis 1:26, “And God said, Let us make man in our image after our likeness…” (emphasis added). Everywhere you look in Nature, you find the interaction and cooperation between polarities… the necessary, and dare I say equally important contributions, of what those polarized aspects bring to the perpetuation of all things natural.

Not so mankind.

Man, literally man, has spent thousands of years and squandered countless resources in efforts to deny the Divine Feminine role in Creation and to imprison the female in one of three roles: mother, whore or object (a/k/a property).  We need not look very far beyond this perversion of Natural Law to explain thousands of years of aggression, war, and imbalance.

This is not a feminist rant.  This is a call to mankind to awaken to the reality that the Divine Feminine is resurrected and, undaunted, has embarked upon a return to Her rightful place alongside the masculine aspect of Creator.

It is through this re-balancing of male and female energies that the world will be set right and by no other means.  No secular legislation or religious dictate will end this breech until the hearts of men are open to the love and inherent value of all living beings… a lesson learned only through recognizing, accepting and acknowledging the Wisdom that is the Divine Feminine role in Creation.


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Is Capitalism Evil?

The key to living well is balance. It doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about personal nutrition or the economy.  Hydration is good… but even too much water can kill you.  Capitalism is good… but greed and excessive materialism can kill a society.

Beware of extremes for they are found at the dead end of roads leading to destruction.

Having said that, and not to mix metaphors, the voices clamoring for the end of capitalism are mistakenly trying to throw the baby out with the bath water.  It isn’t capitalism that has brought us to the economic morass in which we now find ourselves. Capitalism, like the internet and guns, is content neutral.  By that I mean none of those have any effect until humans decide how to use and/or apply them.

It has been the evolution of capitalism, lacking necessary ethical and moral underpinnings, that has caused the system to rampage so out of balance as to bring the Republic to the brink of economic collapse. The insatiable and unchecked desire to acquire more money, power and material possessions has fueled the engine of unlimited spending and the corresponding accumulation of obscene debt.

It’s a critical moment.  The knee-jerk reaction is to blame the system rather than examine the motives and actions of the people who ran it.  To do the latter means to take a long, hard look at ourselves, our priorities and what we value.  To not take such a look, and thereby bring the system back into balance, is to abdicate responsibility for the inevitable and tragic end to the most remarkable experiment in personal liberty and freedom ever attempted on planet Earth.

A Republic such as that established by the U.S. Constitution combined with free market enterprise is a brilliant construct if accompanied, and therefore balanced, by such values as compassion, integrity, moderation, charity and personal responsibility.

Without that balance, the abyss is but a few steps away from where we now stand.

In your own life, immediately take charge of your personal decisions and re-balance your priorities.  Reevaluate what you value and be determined to stand up for those things you know to originate from your highest self.

At some point in that process, when enough of us take this approach, we will reach the tipping point that establishes a more holistic and supportive existence… and escape the need to destroy all that is good for lack of balance.

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Teens Who Defy The Odds

As a former undergraduate Sociology major at Villanova University, I know something about gathering and compiling statistics.  As a former lawyer, I also know something about making an effective argument that presents the facts in a light most favorable to support your point of view.  While the combination and resulting conclusion of these two skills can be highly compelling and persuasive, it does not mean they are necessarily true.

There is a difference between effective presentation and truth.

Juan Williams, in a opinion piece praising President Obama as a “national treasure and role model” for good parenting, quotes Roland Warren of the National Fatherhood Initiative. “Research shows that kids with absent fathers are two to three times more likely to be poor, to fail in school, to be teen parents and become involved with the criminal justice system” said Warren.  Warren has an agenda and so he is using one of many possible statistical gatherings to support it.

I take issue with Juan Williams’ opinion of the President as role model.  Further, I take issue with the statistics Warren cites in supporting his own agenda.

As for Warren’s statistics, it’s not a numbers game. One parent is perfectly capable of doing that job.  Is it harder alone? Yes. Would having both a father and a mother present be an improvement?  Maybe.  It would if it’s not a dysfunctional couple with all sorts of ongoing problems.  But if the choice is between an emotionally healthy single parent able and willing to be an involved positive role model or two people who are miserable together then “no.”

As for the President being a national treasure and role model because he is an involved father, as a parent I can assure you it’s about much more than just showing up.  As a single mother of an 18-year-old daughter, I can also tell you that it’s entirely possible to raise a teenager who is not failing in school, pregnant or involved with the criminal justice system. You do that by not becoming a parent until you are ready to be one,  living the principles and values that you hope to teach and by being involved enough in your child’s life to know when and where they are off track.

Regardless of his politics, President Obama did not work for the job he now has. Not in the traditional sense. He had no relevant experience. He played a political game and through his connections he got there.  He deceived the voters as to the direction he intended to take the country, and he has isolated and removed himself from the issues that are of most concern to the people he governs. National treasure and role model? Really? Or is just showing up enough?

We have many social problems in this country and admittedly the breakdown of family life is high on the list.  But I am certain that I could take up this blog, and a few more, listing remarkable individuals who have made positive and significant contributions to history who did not have the benefit of two a parent household.

It’s too simplistic to say that two are better than one… or that showing up is all that needs be done.  What is needed first and foremost is an ever-present and engaged parental role model who teaches by example truthfulness, respect, compassion, personal responsibility, diligence and patience.

If you can times that by two…great.  If not, no harm done.

My 18-year-old got all A’s, isn’t pregnant, doesn’t use alcohol or drugs, and is headed off to an international program that is part academic courses and part community service.

She’s my statistic.


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Intentional Mortgage Defaults: Right or Wrong?

Today, Conservative talk radio host Mike Gallagher posed the question of whether it was right or wrong for people to deliberately default on their mortgages simply because the value of the house had decreased since purchase, and was now “underwater”… meaning the outstanding mortgage balance is greater than the market value of the house. Mr. Gallagher made it known at the outset that he thought it was ethically and legally wrong to do so.

A horrified, and truly shocked, Mr. Gallagher discovered that 99% of his callers disagreed with him. Putting forth various reasons and rationales (some might say “justifications”) the callers saw nothing wrong with deliberate default.

While I may be as dismayed as Mr. Gallagher, I am not shocked.

When people have been frustrated, lied to and make to feel powerless long enough, anger and vengefulness become the retaliatory means of choice.  Add to this almost an entire generation bent on materialism at the expense of ethics, values and spirituality and you’ve got a recipe for disaster… and perhaps violent revolution.

Such is the precipice upon which we as a nation now gaze.

I have no desire or intention to laud people who knowingly and willingly violate the law. After all, I’m a former lawyer. However, because I will not condone such behavior doesn’t mean I don’t understand it.

When Ivan Boesky told a Stanford graduating class in1987 that “Greed is good” he started (or significantly accelerated) the downward slide towards an abyss we are rapidly approaching.  You simply cannot make materialism, acquisition and power your sole benchmarks for success without destroying all that is good in humanity.

We are not human beings.  The term connotes a noun…a static thing.  We are, instead “Being human”… constantly in a state of change and evolution. As such, we are known by our choices.  We are known by how we choose to Be human.  If our choices are no more complex than to satisfy our every material and carnal need with total disregard for others, or the long term effect of our behavior, then we wind up where we are:  Ruled (not led) by leaders and institutions that have been corrupted by default as we failed to concern ourselves with who they really were or what they really aspired to because we were too busy tending to our own material and carnal needs without giving thought or energy to ethical, moral and spiritual considerations.

Are we too late?  No.

Not if you hurry.

Start today.  In your home, in your office, at the supermarket… wherever.   Demand of yourself in every moment honesty, compassion and humility.  Leave who you were yesterday behind you for that is, in fact, where it is.  You are new today, defined anew by your choices.  You have never mattered so much nor have you ever had less time to realize that simple fact.

Is it wrong to deliberately default on your mortgage?  Yes.

Do we understand the frustration and anger? Yes.

Are those people crying out from frustration and anger? Yes.

Is there an irreversible storm on the horizon? Maybe

Can you do something to turn it around? Yes.

Will you?  ____.


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Limbaugh and Shipman: Two Wrongs

A word to Rush Limbaugh. Baloney.

After listening to his tirade blaming feminists and women generally for Anthony Weiner’s poor choices, he has now affirmed for me what I have always suspected. He is a mean-spirited, ideologue jock with a gift for gab and business.  Kudos to him for the latter and shame on him for the former.

Yes, I know he was responding to Claire Shipman’s comments on This Week with Christiana Anampour, and yes I know the This Week segment seemed to say that if more women were in positions of public and private sector authority the world would be a better place, but really…. do two wrongs make a right?

It’s not about male versus female.  Isn’t it time we got past the “us or them” mentality that has brought humanity to the brink of its own destruction?  Just how much havoc do we have to wreak before we get it?

Like everything else in life it’s about balance.

Limbaugh is stuck in the 70’s. Consequently, his reaction is understandable.   Feminism was a reaction to 5000+ years of what author Riane Eisler calls in her book The Chalice and The Blade “dominator social systems.” Dominator systems are based on aggression, domination and exploitation.  They are maintained through fear.  Think subjugation, slavery, slaughter, Inquisition, crucifixion, burning at the stake, gas ovens, atomic bombs, and terrorism. The list is, sadly, endless.

We’ve had 5000+ years of dominator driven advice and rule because men have done the advising and the ruling.  Are they inherently bad? No. Do they need to be more in balance? Yes.  Is partnership with women the answer? Partly.

You see, it’s not a simple as gender.  If women rise to positions of power, only to act like men when they get there, then women will be part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

The solution is social systems wherein both women and men contribute their inherently unique characteristics, and God-given gifts, so that together they are able to achieve something greater than either could achieve on their own.

Getting to this realization and then exhibiting an openness to explore the possibilities is the key here.  Both genders have some hurdles to jump if they hope to be successful.  Men will have to moderate their propensity for aggression (testosterone driven) and women will have to moderate their propensity for emotionalism (estrogen).

But think of it.  If these two forces of Nature can first bring themselves into balance, then join with the other in a balanced union and effort, imagine the possibilities. I think we have to imagine the possibilities.

At this point, imagining the alternative is just too scary.


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Glenn Beck and Anthony Weiner: The Takeaway

If you can’t see this one… you are likely overdue for an eye exam.

Within the last year, recently disgraced Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY) made it his mission to lead a personal assault against Glenn Beck in an attempt to destroy Mr. Beck’s career by undermining his sponsors.  In particular, Congressman Weiner accused Beck of an “unholy alliance” with Goldline, alleging the company was a “multimedia rip off” and that Beck was using his radio and television shows to manipulate listeners into investing with the company.

Weiner’s attack was designed to destroy Beck by raising questions, through innuendo, about Beck’s integrity, truthfulness and motives.  It turned out there was no factual basis for the Congressman’s allegations and he likely knew there was no such basis when he made them.  The charges faded into oblivion.

The Congressman himself was not so fortunate.

With the now infamous photos of Congressman Weiner and his shameful “sexting” revelations, he has become what he set out inflict upon Beck: a pariah whose integrity is revealed to be nonexistent.

(If you cannot see the Divine aspect and irony of this reversal you need to stop reading and call your optometrist to schedule that eye exam).

I have been listening to Glenn Beck for several years and am certain of a few things as a result.  He loves his country, does his homework, is sincere, and is the bearer of Light in a darkened world.  I call such people “Lightworkers.”

It’s a fulltime job with no days off.

Congressman Weiner, by his actions, has demonstrated that he represents the antithesis of what Glenn Beck stands for.  The Congressman, it turns out, is a participant in, and therefore a promoter of, Darkness.  Now there’s the real “unholy alliance” in this story.

As with all darkness, the Light shining upon it reveals it for what it is.

Congressman Weiner has inadvertently served his country well.  He has, by his actions, given credibility and added strength to Glenn Beck’s purpose and thereby empowered the Light.

In the final analysis, this was a classic and eternal clash of opposing energies.  It has always been the case and always will be that Light reveals, and thereby transcends, all that is dark.



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Final Thoughts on Congressman Weiner et al

It’s the day after, so what can I say about Congressman Anthony Weiner that hasn’t already been said? Well, I’m not certain.  But I have a few “off the beaten track” remarks to make and so will try and put this sordid story to rest here by making them.

1.  Those women who participated with the Congressman in sexual references beyond that first “tweet” or Facebook exchange are as culpable as the Congressman, and for them to claim duplicity, victimization or embarrassment is its own shame.

2.  Predatory sexual practices, whether male-female (the most notorious), male-male (i.e. the Catholic Church); female-male; female-female or adult -child are reprehensible and speak to the emotional illness, moral depravity and lack of character of the perpetrator.

3.  Accepting responsibility for reprehensible behavior, absent a consequence, is an empty gesture with no redeeming value.

4.  As adolescent and perverse the Congressman’s sexual preferences and behavior may be, it is his willful and knowing decision to lie and deceive his friends, colleagues, and constituents that make him unfit to hold public office and thereby, public trust.

Every day, each of us is confronted with opportunities to confront or deny behavior in ourselves and others that is the basis for a degenerating society.  What we do in these moments is our personal contribution to the world in which we live.  If each of us is not ready, willing and able to stand and resist the perpetual lowering of the bar for acceptable behavior, then no politician or bumper sticker will save us from self-imposed and self-selected destruction.


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Congressman Weiner is A Symptom

New York Congressman Anthony Weiner apparently has no survival instinct.  He is patently self-destructive. Not only did he place at risk both his marriage and his career by blatantly pursuing perverse sexual behavior through the internet and social media sites, but having been exposed (no pun intended,) he exhibits neither remorse nor an inclination to admit to his behavior. He’s in denial… publically at least.  Personally, only his humiliated and presumably pained wife knows if he’s in denial privately as well.

Brooklyn Democratic Chairman and power broker Vito Lopez has been quoted as saying “Something like this better be put to rest. If it’s left outstanding, it could have damaging impact, even if it means the difference of 3 or 4 percent of the vote in a very competitive four-way or five-way race” regarding Weiner’s chances in a future mayoral contest.

Is that really the issue? Is the potential damage to Mr. Weiner’s political career what the media…what we… need to be focusing upon?

Given the dire economic straights the economy is suffering and the worldwide propensity for revolution, isn’t this a little reminiscent of how the country handled the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinski revelations?  Didn’t we learn anything from that sordid moment?  It’s not about the economy, political careers or even the wanton misuse of power.

It’s about how We The People continue to look the other way… in our personal lives and in the lives of public figures when its simply easier and more convenient to do that than confront the reality.

The reality is that as a culture and a society we have so lowered the bar that we barely blink… and are almost never heard…when behavior is demeaning, degrading and socially harmful.  So Weiner gets 15 minutes of media focus for his disgusting behavior and our kids are exposed to one more sexual deviant. So everyone laughs when the “F” word is used at the MTV awards and our children are watching and making a mental (even if subconscious) note.  So the likes of Schwarzenegger, Strauss-Kahn, and Edwards are momentarily exposed and perhaps embarrassed (I think that requires a conscience and I’m not sure these guys qualify) and then life goes on for us… and further downhill it goes as well.

It’s really up to each of us to begin to examine our own lives and hold not only public figures accountable but ourselves as well.  It’s time (actually its almost past available time) when we redefine and restructure our values, our priorities and our tolerance levels for what kind of world we want to create and live in.

Anthony Weiner and deviants like him are symptoms of an ailing culture. We are both the illness and the cure.  Which of those we end up cultivating will be determined by the our choices starting now… and the personal responsibility for those choices we are each willing and able to accept.


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I Set Before You This Day

Sometimes there’s just no way around the tough stuff.  While I realize my credibility will take a hit with the following statement, I none-the-less feel compelled to make it.

You are living in two simultaneous realities.  Both are quite real.

In Reality Number One, the world is experiencing unprecedented and widespread change.  Social unrest and faltering economies are breaking down and reorganizing for the good of all involved, even if the transition period is fraught with difficulty and endless challenges.  The outcome, however, is a proverbial giant step for humankind.

In Reality Number Two, the world is experiencing unprecedented and widespread change. Social unrest and faltering economies have created a dangerous global environment wherein opportunists, both political and economic, are exerting every effort, and seeking every means, to meld excessive governmental power to personal financial gain for the few at the expense of the many.  The outcome will be the destruction of the world as you have known it.

How can this be?  How can both be happening at the same time?

The answer is because this moment is a bellwether for the future of humanity. What is at stake is nothing less than personal freedom and rights granted every human being by our Creator.

There is the potential for either of these realities to prevail.  Who doesn’t viscerally feel the yearning for freedom by the Arab youth throughout the Middle Eastern countries manifested through various degrees of uprising? Who doesn’t also feel the violence boiling just below the surface of these uprisings… and the manipulation of those young people by persons with a sinister agenda?  Who does not know from human history that absent the presence of Light, darkness multiplies like cancer?

Will the result be harmony or subjugation?  Will it end in evolution or devolution?  What determines the outcome?

You do.

This is your moment to choose between darkness and Light. This is your moment to join with others of like mind and be heard. This is your chance to put fear to rest and break through the illusion of terror in order to show others who are less certain, the way.  This is your appointment with destiny.

You have always had this much power.  Never before have you been this close to a full awareness of that fact combined with the Will to act upon it.

The future of the world will literally be created this day by your choice and made manifest by your voice. You are the answer. Now is the time.

It has been set before you this day.



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