Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Has a psychologist diagnosed this depression?

I need someone from the psychological community to validate my growing depression. Very rarely are things so clear in my view that I cannot comprehend another view. In fact, my best friend and partner has completely different views politically - so I'm well versed in debate (heated argument), and I benefit by always seeing the other side.

But this election is different for me. Though I've disagreed with policies of candidates in the past, and I've worried about losing personal liberties through Supreme Court appointments, I've never felt the despair about the possibilities of a single person being elected. Our government was designed to be stronger than one individual, no matter how close to demagogue he leans.

But this election is different for me.

I'm increasingly depressed by the embracing of bigotry, self-promotion, and rhetoric over reasoned argument. I can't stand that so many - including people in my circle - equate the awfulness of two candidates, and support one who stands for nothing but personal gain. 

There is no question which person is better prepared, who speaks Presidentially, who can lead our country as a good force on this Earth.

Why don't we, still the most influential nation in the world, want to be a force of good? Look at the preparation and the experience.

Why do we want to be a bully? Why do so many embrace this perspective? Look at the preparation and experience.

To be clear, I do not think ANYONE, public individual or private, lives a perfect life. I actually think most people don't take ownership of the mistakes we make.  Politicians in general have these two issues magnified in our social media world. So compare the mistakes. Compare the ability to take ownership. And then compare the ability to treat others as you would want to be treated. Who works for individual gain? Both. But who works predominantly for the greater good. Only one.

I have, for the most part, stopped trying to change opinions, because I've realized most people don't care about evidence.

But I continue to read, and each time I read the "other" view, I'm struck by the vitriol, rather than the reason, by the hate, rather than the help. I just don't understand, and  I'm growing more depressed.

I want to make my world smaller, shake my head while having a drink with those who commiserate. 

But I can't.  Because this is my life, and no matter what happens, I need to teach my children how to be kind, compassionate people who think beyond their personal gain - despite the "role models" we put before them. 

So I've continued to read, and I try with open mind and heart to understand those who support him. But I can't.

I'm with her.

Because her record shows she works for the common good.

Because she fights for her constituents (see her efforts for NYC after 9/11).

Because she has experience negotiating international waters with success and respect.

Because the non-demagogues of the world would vote for her as an ally.

Because she respects all humans.

Because she knows how to negotiate and compromise.

Because she has had to work more than twice as hard to get where she is, thus showing she has the stamina.

Because she prepares, and it shows.

Because she can accept feedback and change.

Because she speaks coherently.

Because she cares about the children of this country.

Because, quite frankly, she is smart.

These are the qualities I want in the leader of the FREE world because these are the qualities that fight for good. Is it always perfect? No. But it's so clear to me who doesn't fight for good in this election. It's clear that one candidate doesn't respect anyone but himself. 

I do not understand, and I'm struggling, as a teacher, a thinker...and most of all a mother.

PS-I don't think this would be an issue if a white man were running against him.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Growing up football

I love football. Not in the way people from Texas love football, but I love the atmosphere of Friday night lights. I grew up in a place where high school games were THE social event and midget football sucked us into the culture.

In fact, I was a cheerleader for many years until I hung up my poms for a basketball -- and then I joined the varsity football team as the statistician.

So I get it. I love the games, and I get the culture. 

For the last few years I've been watching youth football through the lens of a cheer parent. It's hard for this feminist to watch traditional gender roles develop. Yet this is what I do every week.

I listen as a football dad points out the segregation between the cheer parents, sitting at one end of the field, and the football parents, sitting at the other.

I watch my daughter performing, not learning the game or engaging in it as a member of the "boy" team.

I watch the boys grunting as they run, full force, through a banner held by the girls and cheer coaches discussing making the banner larger so the girls don't get hurt.

I wonder about the culture where boys are yelled at to "kill someone" in the same space where girls are admonished to have "smiles on lips and hands on hips."

I can't help but remember lifetime movies where cheerleaders are abused by football players.

And I hope, beyond hope, that our generation isn't perpetuating the gender roles that make this kind of behavior acceptable.

I grew up "football," and I love the game. And I wonder how we can do better beyond the game for both our boys and our girls.