Friday, November 24, 2017

Legacy - Family Traditions

One of the traditions that I started with my children many years ago has now been passed on to my grandchildren - cutting down the family Christmas tree the weekend after Thanksgiving. It all started when after a couple of years of getting trees from a local produce store, I decided that a family building excursion and having a tree that was fresh and capable of lasting through the long holiday season was a must. (The last time I cut down a tree with my daughters was Christmas 2004.) Within a couple days of having the tree in our house the needles began to fall off of it with the slightest touch. So my daughter Elyssa and I set out to find an artificial replacement. From that moment the Christmas tree village was born. (It was also that time that I discovered that I was allergic to pine and it explained why I lost my voice or developed bronchitis every Christmas season.) Since then the tradition is to put up my many trees and decorate each of them with a special theme and as a result, my new tradition was born.
At Thanksgiving dinner yesterday my granddaughter asked me if I cut down my Christmas tree. I had to explain to her that I no longer do because I am allergic to pine. I would love to be able to witness her selecting her special tree and sharing in her family's tradition. As much as I wish that I could continue on with the tradition that I started 32 years ago I realize that sometimes life happens and while you may no longer be able to be a part of a tradition that you put in motion, you can rejoice in the realization that that tradition was strong; that it continues and lives on through in joy through your offspring and their offspring, and quite possibly will extend on through their offspring. Creating a legacy is not always about you being forever a part of that legacy, but it is about the beautiful reality that your legacy lives on no matter what! #lovemydaughters #lovemygrandbabies#legacybuilding #futuregenerations 

Monday, March 14, 2016

Have We Lost Our Minds? Trump, The Media and Manipulation

"If you tell a lie often enough it becomes accepted as truth." Goebbels

Over the past two days I have spent a great deal of time listening, reading and discussing our current Presidential primary campaign. It has become a feeding frenzy. There has been an intensive discussion about the silent majority and a rise in the social activist’s voice. Discussions about violations of the 1st Amendment have been misrepresented and overstated. Just who was silenced at the Trump rally in Chicago? Not the protesters. They were heard loud and clear and they had their chance to impact the populous. But, why were they so angry? Why are they so angry with Trump and his supporters? They got what they came for. However those who came to hear Trump were silenced, right?

Increasingly there has been a movement away from discussing issues and the problems that continue to plague America and sadly, there are many. Obama’s trying to convince Americans that things are better now than when he first ran for president in 08’ is a stretch and being sarcastic and flip about it does not provide comfort to the millions who are disenfranchised. 

Anger erupts when one group’s voice becomes louder than another’s. When one group’s fears are ignored and others are elevated then we lose our sense of reason. People are hurting. The media and special interest groups spin tales, tell lies, and perpetrate hate in very subversive ways. They intentionally protect and cover up facts in stories.  The disparaging rhetoric that is coming from Cruz, Rubio, Kasich, Trump, Sanders and Clinton is all very real, it is wrong. The attempt to politicize via political correctness is damaging the psyche of the American people. On both sides of the aisle there are victimizers and they are telling the victims that the way they feel is wrong. “You are not being abused, you need to go give Uncle Willie a hug – just ignore him while he molests you.”

While Trump is openly speaking and sharing with the world the fears, concerns and giving a voice to the (like it or not) people who have been speaking to him for the past 14 years, other cowards are using PC to paint a picture that is in keeping with the “dialogue of the times.” Truth is he is listening. He saw firsthand the destruction of 911. He saw the city that he was deeply entrenched in rebuilt. It is no accident that the debt that we currently have is close to matching that of what it cost to rebuild the US after 911. That is why even though I do not approve of Obama I do not blame him exclusively for the 19 trillion dollar debt.

What bothered me in a huge way are the talking points that were restated over and over and over again. It is as if the media gave the candidates all the same exact things to say. When interviewing Mr. Trump the same comments were stated over and over again. Regardless of what Trump said they spoke over him and refused to listen to anything he actually was saying. I won’t attempt to defend Trump because you the reader will immediately stop reading, label me a hater and accuse me of being complicit in…what exactly I am not sure. Needless to say this is the chaos that the Democratic Party lives for. It fits perfectly into their agenda and into the groups that they are pandering to in order to maintain control over Washington. I really wish I could believe that it is about my well-being and that of my grandchildren. But, it isn’t.

It is about Hillary Clinton keeping us from focusing on her long litany of inappropriate action. It is about Sanders keeping us from focusing in on his vitriolic commentary against anything that smells like capitalism. For Cruz, Rubio and Kasich, they are scrambling for anything that they can possible grab so as to shut down their opponent. Cruz has been one of the most outspoken bigots in the race but as long as he plays the Trump card he could possibly be the golden boy. Rubio can play his cards in a way that suggests that he is experienced enough, compassionate enough and capable of rising if not this election cycle than one in the future. Kasich he is equally riding the Trump wave so as to garner at least some sort of win so as to not feel completely defeated. The other candidates such as Christie and Carson have tried in their own campaigns to discuss what the majority of Americans have been saying but have been shouted over. Imagine every time you open your mouth to speak that you are immediately denounced as being a bigot, racist and/or hater.

Sanders began his campaign by talking about the economic injustice and rightly so. Hillary, we aren’t sure what she is focusing on other than she wants to be the first female president. That isn’t enough to run on, so she is doing what HRC does best. Hide and cover. Sanders rather than attacking his actual opponent, HRC is choosing to deflect away from the sins of the party and perpetrate exaggerations of reality in order eke out a win.

While I agree that Trump has said some really ignorant comments at his rallies, the reality behind his comments should not be ignored. We are seeing a whole new generation lost and confused. Rather than blaming themselves or their parents for their failures they are blaming the generations before them. Rather than looking deep into their own neighborhoods and identifying the wrong and how they have given in as consumers to the hate, disenfranchisement via social networks, failed economy and loss of the American values that kept us on the straight and narrow for the past century they are actually ignorant to the social history of our nation. Intentionally the Sanders and Clintons of the world are manipulating the youth into a mindset that could quite possibly result in a new modern-day witch trials. Where has Clinton and Sanders been for the past 20 years as we watched student debt grow to an out of control level? Where were they when they watched Wall Street become a monster? Where have they been as they watched regular saving’s accounts go from 5.75% return on savings to .01%? Where were you Sanders and Clinton?

It is a sad reality when you wake up and realize that those who do not believe exclusively as they do are in fact being silenced with intimidation, harassment and threats.

I saw a seasoned Black woman chastising a young Black man on a video that surfaced as a Trump rally. She was screaming in his face to wake up, wake up, and wake up! He was merely saying that he doesn’t understand who the protesters can be saying that Black America is still enslaved. He said that he is college educated, his parents both obtained their Master degrees in the 70’s and the more he tried to talk the louder she got. From there the feeding frenzy began. No one was listening to his discourse, or his understanding of the world. He wanted to tell them to look beyond their understanding all they cared about was that they shut him up. They only wanted him to know he was wrong. How can he be wrong if it is his understanding of his world? While they were shouting in his face that he is wrong, all he wanted to do was to explain his side of the argument. For anyone to immediately call you ignorant because you do not agree is inane and counter-productive. I truly felt the young man’s frustration.

So, instead of continuing the feeding frenzy here is my suggestion:
 • Hillary let’s talk about those damned emails and while we are at it the immense discrepancies in your time as First Lady of Arkansas, First Lady of the US, and most recently your abysmal job as a Secretary of State. Or should we call it a pat on the head and place holder because you acquiesced to your boss?
 • Sanders, let’s focus on how you intend to make this nation a fair and just economic one. Tell us how you intend to protect us from enemies, bolster up a military, pay off our 19 trillion dollar debt and provide an economic social structure that is fair for all. 
• Cruz, how about you focus on your anti-gay rhetoric and tell us what you really intend to do with making America moral.
 • Kasich, you have great ideas but I don’t see how you intend to pull off all that you wish to. Focus on you and ask what can you bring to the next administration should you not get elected. Standing in the sidelines and suddenly pouncing when you see an opening is not good leadership it is very weasel like and unbecoming. (I think people call that passive-aggressive)
 • Rubio, you are in over your head. You start the bullying and like Kasich engage in passive-aggressive behavior so that you can get a piece of the big guy. It reminds me of the cartoon where the little dog suddenly grabs ahold of the tail of a big dog and refuses to let go all the while the big dog is just enjoying the game of chase. Go home, raise your kids, impact your state and come back when you are ready to be a leader.
 • Trump, you have the attention of your voters. While I do not believe you should stop telling your truths and what you have observed as an international businessman I do believe you might just be what this nation needs at this time.

I am not sure that you can move away from your commentaries, as truthful as you may believe them to be any more than John Lennon could ever move away from his innocent comment about Jesus Christ. Yes, today that comment still haunts his legacy despite the truthful reality of such and his attempt to explain his rationale. You see the DJ who got kids to file into the streets and burn their records used the same tactics that the media, the Trump opponents, BLM, Moveon, and every other activist group is using – hype, hyperbole. Trump it is just like what you have done over the past 30 years in an attempt to become famous (successfully so);they are all vying for their 15 minutes of fame.

In the immortal words of Tupac Shakur “Don't believe everything you hear: Real eyes, Realize, Real lies”

Monday, November 9, 2015

Walk In My Shoes = Empathy

There is an old wisdom that paraphrased says: “You cannot really understand another person's experience until you've walked a mile in their shoes."

What this hearkens to is empathy. What is difficult about empathy, compassion, etc., is that it is in the end a two way street. If at anytime you believe your shoes are more important than anyone else's, that is when there is a breach in the empathetic circle of understanding. That is when their is chaos. That is when their is a break. That is when people's understanding of the world changes. To continue to assume that one's path is more difficult than another's, is to abandon empathy and move towards a conditional expectation, and a feeling of failure.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Meet Me At the Beijing International Book Fair!

I am so excited that my book "Flower and Stone: An essay on life" will be one of the many amazing books and authors that will be present at the Beijing International Book Fair.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Michigan City Lake a poem by Mary E.

An original poem by Mary E. Rapier
a memory

In bright golden afternoon sun
I laid my wearies down
Imagined that I could run
and jump and be
as 5 or 6 again
No time to feel the pain of growing older
No time, but now to feel
the presence
of time as it ticks, ticks, ticks
nothing but splashes
of love and laughter
Dancing sunsets upon the waves
hands firmly clutching as if to say
please, don’t let go, never go away
dune scapes scaling,
dragon flies darting
mountain climbers climbing,
reaching up to
brand new heights, towering above
soaring, gliding like a dove
as the ruby red sun sets
and disappears,
but never lets
the world grow colder
so it, as my love goes.
As the circle ever grows
And now the room is empty
and summer silence falls
in golden streams upon my walls
I seek to make sense of it all
by capturing wordscapes of
water color landscapes held by
magnets firmly to my heart
reminding me that never
are we completely apart
as tears slowly trace the place
where only hours before
sweet angel kisses
touched my face.

watercolor pastel by 6 year old Bella

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Returning Me to Me

Returning Me to Me, a poem by Mary E. Rapier 
I’m returning back to me, 
the same ole girl I use to know, 
The one I used to be, 

not much has really changed 
it is just the last step in letting you go 

letting you know 
that you never earned 
the right to share a name 
letting go of the pain 
the pain 
the pain 
a name is a name 
and labels seek to define 
no more losing, no more 
wasting my time 
we aren’t connected, 
we never really were, 
the children that my womb bore 
are mere cellular connections 
and nothing more, 
 mine to determine, 
mine to share, 
mine to grieve, 
 I am returning back to me, 
 the same ole girl 
I used to know, 
the one I used to be 
not much has really changed 
Just the last step in letting you go, 
letting you know that 
you never had what you never cared 
for you are not my kin, 
not my birthright 
not my home, 
my sister said it, 
I am she, 
I’m returning back to me 
and taking back my dignity, 
all you stole from me, 
taking me down off the shelf, 
reclaiming familial place. 
No worries, 
the same My face, 
No longer a stepchild 
in a borrowed world 
in foreign terrain, 
letting go of the pain, 
the pain, 
the pain 
you’re so disconnected 
from my reality. 
I’m returning me to me, 
finally this hummingbird 
is free. 


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A Few Thoughts to Ponder On Marriage Equality

Okay, so here is the many people are using up good energy on arguing about marriage equality. You see, it isn't about you, or is it? You see, people love as they love. They live as they choose to live. It is not your responsibility to try to change people into the way you believe they should be. That is not your responsibility. People who are taxpaying law-abiding citizens of the USA or any country that they are citizens of have the right to love as they wish, live as they wish, and if it involves marriage, then marry who they wish to marry. It is a legal contract. One that ensures quality of life afforded two people and their potential offspring. Don't give me the, but, they cannot produce children, and God produced man and woman to produce children...well, sorry to tell you there are a lot of people who because of a variety of reasons cannot produce children biologically. If they want a family, then they will seek adoption, or yes, sperm donors, or whatever else they can in order to raise children in a family surrounded with love. So, are you suggesting that a woman past child-bearing age should not be allowed to marry? Should marriage only be afforded those who can produce children biologically? Yes, in the Christian church there is a belief that man and woman shall marry, and produce offspring, yada, yada...But, we are not talking about the church, we are talking about the constitution, the law, the citizenry, taxpayers, people who are afforded equal rights. All men are created equal...(I am still waiting for clarification on the womanhood aspect of that quote!) and yes, the legal rights of two people who choose to share a life together with all the trappings of marriage. Please do not waste another election year arguing that which is not arguable. The Jewish do not eat pork and the United States trades in pork should the United States force Jewish people to eat pork, Should the Jewish faith fight to have pork removed from the stores? If you go to some restaurants they do not serve pork, so, shall we force them to serve pork? No, if i want pork, I will go to a restaurant that will give me my fill of bacon! Because we have a nation that is founded on the separation of church and state. Let's find common ground, but, let's get focused on those things that really do impact the entire nation, like the debt crisis, children with no food, shelter adequate schooling. Let's focus on elimination of the student debt crisis, housing crisis, domestic terrorism, racism. Personally, we have joined together with 20+ other countries who support marriage equality. Let's learn from them. I appreciate the right lo live and love as I choose, I think everyone should...