Can You See Both Sides?

I spend much of my time at work drowning my ears in podcasts. I like my mind to be busy while my hands are busy packing wheel bearings, inspecting control cables and changing engine components (that stuff gets boring after a while). I mostly listen to political shows, news, history and some entertainment thrown in there as well. Oddly enough, an entertainment podcast totally changed the way I look for and consume information. Particularly when it comes to news, politics and social issues.

The host of the podcast was talking about what we see in our Facebook newsfeed, twitter feeds, any kind of social media outlet. We see only what we want to see.

As we scroll through our newsfeed in the morning we “like” posts. Posts we agree with, posts that make us happy and all fuzzy inside, posts that make us laugh and post that dont offend us. Those likes affect what comes up on our page. I get suggested posts all the time from stuff that I liked or clicked on. Here is the point.

At some point in all our liking and blocking (yes I have blocked certain things from coming up on my page. Most people probably have.) we can drown out the opposite view point to where we are completely out of touch with others and their reality. We only see posts from people we agree with and what makes us feel comfortable in our already established opinion. There is no daily opposition to our view point and so therefore when we encounter it we cant handle it. We can’t imagine how in the world someone could hold a different opinion from our own. Its very easy. They liked different posts on there news feed, had different parents then you and have had different life experiences.

The podcasts host explained all this better then I think I just did but that’s my summary. It impacted my thinking and I did something about it. What? You may ask… Well I downloaded more podcasts and followed more people on twitter…

I followed Milo and The Young Turks. I followed Fox News and CNN. I subscribed to Ben Shapiro and Dave Rubin. I followed our President and our President elect. And let me tell you… I get so much conflicting information sometimes I question if anyone truly knows whats true and whats going on in our society.

So what I have decided is this. The information coming at me is divided up into information that has a little truth, some truth, a lot of truth and all truth. But I have to be able to make an educated choice on whats what. If your only getting information on one side of an issue its impossible to make an educated decision about whats true and whats not.

My point in this little rant is not to sway anyone to a specific mind set or ideology. Its to make the point that in order to think for our selves in an educated way we need to be exposed to different thoughts, mind sets, experiences and facts that we may not like. I do not agree 100% or even 75% percent with any of the people or news organizations I listed above. But I do know what they are talking about, what their opinion is and some even list their sources which I can double check for myself. I know I can confidently make a choice on what to believe and think since I have a pretty good grip on both sides of whatever issue might be at hand.

Its much better for two people to be able to have a discussion about social issues that goes something like “I can see where you are coming from and I know that (insert fact that they agree with and are bringing up) is a concern or positive but we should also take into consideration (insert other fact).” Then to have 2 people yelling left or right wing propaganda at each other from across the room when neither has no idea what the other is talking about much less where the information came from.

There are always 2 sides (or 3 or 10) and we need to know what the other side is in order to adequately discuss and solve problems.

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Is the Electoral College Necessary?

It never made sense to me. This whole electoral college thing. It didn’t make sense to me as a 10 year old, 14 year old, 18 year old or even a 22 year old. But today it does. Let me tell you why.

I recently moved to a relatively small town in Iowa from the pacific northwest. On our way east we drove through Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Nebraska. I am not kidding you when I say we drove through a town in Wyoming where the population was 12. 12 people! That’s it! I grew up in the DC metro area and my husband grew up in Chicago. It blew our minds driving through towns in the heart land of our country consisting of 1000 people. And 12!?! We could not identify with that.

Those 12 people. Those 1000 people. That is why the electoral college exists.

If we elected a president by popular vote the coasts of the country would basically decide who was elected. Always. Simply because the coasts have the biggest percent of the population (with some obvious exception like Chicago). I have heard a lot about our votes not counting this election cycle. Without the electoral college, everyone who lived in the middle of the country would be voiceless. There vote truly would not matter. If you live on the coast or in a major city, your vote counts. It counts for popularity and electorally.  If you live in Torrington WY, the Electoral College is your only hope of being heard.

People living in LA, Seattle, New York city, D.C. and Chicago live completely different lives then those living in Pullman, Priest River, Independence, Moose or CedarFalls (Yes those are all towns in our country and I have been to all of them). The people farming in Pullman should not be subject to LA’s ideas on how farming should be done. Chances are most people in LA are not farming. They are getting up going to an office everyday not driving a tractor and haying.

Lets say for kicks and giggles that the president was running on some kind of platform that had to do with farming. He wanted to make some kinda regulation that sounded really good to the city of LA (where no one farms) but the people in Pullman (the farmers) thought it was a terrible idea. We go about this vote in a democratic fashion and what do you know?? The regulation goes into place because LA was the popular vote.

Obviously this was a kinda silly and extreme example but the electoral college exists so crap like that doesn’t happen. It exists so that the voices of the people in Idaho, Wyoming and Kansas are not drowned out by the city of Chicago.

To drive the point home lets talk about the electoral votes assigned to the states. The amount of electoral votes a state receives come from their population count. California has 55 (large population) Iowa has 6 (smaller population). California still gets more votes for more people. It just doesn’t get a million more votes. Iowa has to have several other states in its corner to combat California. Possibly as many as ten depending on which states. If you think of the states as people, the majority vote won. Just looking at a map of the final count from this weeks election Trump won more states then Clinton. The reason Clinton won the popular vote is because she won the entire west coast and a large portion of the east coast.

In this election the electoral college setup did exactly what it was supposed to do. It made sure that the big cities didn’t out yell the people in rural areas. People that live in different locations live very different lives and if enough of the rural communities in Montana thought that Hillary Clinton represented them she would have won both the popular and the electoral college. The people in the center of the country didn’t identify with her and that matters. They matter. That’s why she lost.

Obviously I’m not an expert on this subject. But this is how I understand it and I thought maybe it might make sense to someone else presented this way. There have been a handful of other election cycles where the same thing panned out and the electoral vote was not the same as the popular vote. The electoral college served its purpose there too.

We can argue the fairness of this all day long and whether or not its the correct way to elect a president. Since the whole electoral vote was invented to make things more fair for those disadvantaged by numbers I don’t see the argument but I know everyone has different opinions.

Here is another explanation from the New York times that I thought was helpful. To read the article you can click here

Just stop it (opinion)

Today my Facebook news feed was filled with sorrowful posts consisting of basically “the country is doomed because Donald trump won.” Didn’t see much from the other side in terms of gloating (not to say its not happening and celebrating is different from gloating). From my news feed you would have thought aliens had elected Donald Trump because no American would actually vote for him. The fact is 59 million of us voted for him. So where are they all ? Where did they come from? I”m going to tell you (in my humble opinion) exactly where they came from.

My favorite post I came across this morning was a tweet and I quote “If you vote for trump today, make sure to explain to your lgbt+, female, black, latino/a, muslim friends why they don’t matter to you.” This literally made me LOL. The absurdness of this statement was so infuriating that it was hilarious. To all the groups named in that post, (trigger warning) it isn’t all about you.

Is it any wonder that there seemed to be Trump supporters hiding all over the nation? No one wants to be called a racist, islamiphobic or xenophobic. I would not be stupid enough to say that the groups mentioned above never experience any type of discrimination. However, I would place money on the fact that most people that voted for Trump are not any of these things. What are they?

Maybe they are people that want obamacare overturned cause it cost them 100s of dollars a month and they still don’t get good health care. Maybe its someone who has lost there job to illegal immigrants (it happens). Maybe its someone voting the republican platform cause they do not agree with abortion. Maybe its people who have seen the welfare system abused. Maybe its people who don’t think global warming is a thing. Whatever! There are MANY reasons why a person would have voted for Trump and it has NOTHING to do with there transgender co worker!

I went to the polls yesterday and voted what was important to me. What is important to me? Right now in my little family it happens to be jobs and healthcare. So I voted for what I thought was best. I did not have to come home and explain to my husband that he didn’t matter to me (he is an immigrant from South America).

I could have made a terrible mistake at the polls. Time will tell. But one thing is for sure. I am not a racist. I have no problem with the LGBT+ community. I happen to think Latino’s are pretty fantastic and I don’t think all Muslims want to blow up buildings. I would bet that most of the closet trump supporters are like me. Generally speaking kind, hardworking people who are tired of the system and wanted a change. It appeared that the change they wanted might come through Donald Trump. So they jumped in hoping for the best.

59 million people didn’t get up Tuesday morning to vote to hurt peoples feelings. They voted what they thought was best for their country. Now we can argue all freaking day long if it really is best. But stop telling people who voted differently from you that their racist. They aren’t and thats a baseless childish argument.

Free Tampons but no Depends

I spent my early 20s on the west coast in Washington state. I made frequent trips to Seattle because one, pikes place and two, my sister moved out there to attend the University of Washington. Let me tell you. That city is FILLED with homeless people.

I am no longer on the west coast but my sister still is and today she called my mom to tell her a most disturbing and blood boiling story (ok at least it made my blood boil).

My sister was on her way to the symphony (she is a music major) in down town Seattle when she heard some one calling out trying to get her attention.  She turned around to see an elderly homeless women and so my sister stopped and asked her what was wrong and if she could help her. This poor women asked my sister if she would help her buy Depends. DEPENDS! ADULT DIAPERS! Why!? Because! In hipster central its against the law for a homeless individual to use a public bathroom. Thats right! These poor people are not permitted to pee in a toilet.

My sister told me that this woman had been walking in her own urine and feces for 60 blocks asking some one to help her by some depends. My sister was the first person to acknowledge that she even existed. Needless to say. My sister handed over everything in her wallet and bought the lady some diapers, clean clothes, food and coffee (cause everyone needs coffee).

Here is what really baffled me and launched this post. The woman told my sister that she had a space in the homeless shelter for the night. My sister asked if they could provide her with some depends at the shelter. She said they don’t provide you with any thing like that. Its just a roof over your head for the night.So this woman would have had a roof but still sleeping in her stained dirty clothes.

And yet we have states and cities all over the country that have made it mandatory to provide free tampons ? Because periods? Because free tampons are a womens rights issue? This woman wasn’t permitted to go to the bathroom! And no one was giving her free diapers! Guys! There is a problem here!

I did a quick google search on what the welfare programs are like in Seattle. It wasn’t hard to find that they have multiple programs for many different areas where people are struggling (or in my opinion people perceive that its a struggle). Oh except homelessness. On that topic I found this. (<- Yea. click it.)

Pretty eye opening if you ask me. Here is my point at the end of this rant (thanks for hanging with me)

Seattle was one of the first cities to raise minimum wage to 15 an hour  (just one example of how human rights focused they claim to be) yet homeless people are breaking the law if they relieve themselves in a restroom or outside in the open.

Someone missed something. Someone missed a basic human right. To me that isn’t just a mistake. Its hypocrisy.

One More Voice

This is my 3rd blog attempt. Yup. That sounds pathetic but true. There are literally millions of voices screaming to be heard on social media. Some educated, some not so much. I didn’t think my opinion needed to be added to the sea of voices. But the more I have listened to all the voices, the more I have realized something. None of these voices represent me. None of them represent what I think about issues of mom life, marriage, jobs, politics, social issues and religion.

If none of the voices represent what I think, what are the chances that there are others like me. What are the chances there are others like me that just read the comments on Facebook looking for someone that shares their view. What if when I throw my voice into the void of the internet it actually represents someone else that has gone unnoticed and voiceless? What if it represents 1000’s ? What if it represents no one but me? What if it represents just 10 people?

Whatever. I don’t think I have anything to lose… except possibly my record of not getting a nasty comment on a social media page.

So here I am. One more voice. One more opinion (hopefully an educated one). One more mom. One more wife. One more millennial wondering why the heck we work so hard and still can’t afford date night.  One more constitutionalist (yes that is a political party). One more believer in Jesus Christ. One more woman trying to figure out life with a very large cup of coffee.

 

How my life ended when my son arrived

Yes. You read that correctly. My life ended when I had my son. Please note that I did not say my life is miserable, I am depressed, I have no purpose or that my husband and I don’t have great chemistry. I said my life ended. Emphasis on the word MY. Life continues. But mine as I have known it is over.

A few weeks ago I had a friend from out of town drop by for a few hours as she was passing through visiting people. We sat on the floor in my living room drinking coffee, discussing her plans for graduate school and possible careers as well as my 8 month old sons adorableness. As I sat helping my son stack colored cups and tubber ware on top of each other my dear friend looked at me and asked a very appreciated and profound question. “Do you enjoy this?”

This… This meaning stacking cups and sorting shapes in a shape sorter. This meaning making baby food for 3 hours every other day. This meaning devoting my entire life to another human being instead of pursuing my dreams, my happiness my desires. My life.

What did I say? I said no. There is no part of me that enjoys and longs to clean poop out of my sons crib, listen to yelling and screaming every time I say no you can’t play with the scissors (how he always manages to get a hold of those still stupefies me) or stack the same blocks on top of each other for 3 hours. I said no. I said “No I don’t enjoy this. But I don’t want anyone else to do it.”

I don’t enjoy changing diapers but I don’t want anyone else to be the one to get my son to say mama. I don’t like waking up every 2 hours but I don’t want anyone else to cuddle my little boy when he is sick. I don’t like having to deal with a tantrum whenever my son is tired but I don’t want to miss his first step.

I want to have a career! I want to look good in my clothes! I want to shower when ever I feel like it! I want to have a social life and it would be amazing to drink my coffee when its hot. I also want to color, spend all day at the park, cuddle while having story time and take care not to miss anything about my baby boys life. I can not have all of these things.

Now before anyone starts thinking that I think moms that work are short changing their kids let me drop this-I work. Every day I get up, wave good bye to my little treasure at 7:30 in the morning and don’t see him again until 2:30. It kills me. And Im not even taking him to daycare! He is with his Dad! It kills me because I miss going to the park. I miss 2 meal times with him. I have missed little miles stones in his life. Instead of being concerned about my mile stones, I want to see him take his first steps. Before he arrived there is no way you could have convinced me that I would care more about playing on the slide then pursuing a career as and avionics tech with Garmin. But I do. I care more about the slide.

As a working mom I miss things. I have to share my child. I share him with his dad but some of you moms have to share your treasure with a teacher or a nanny. I get it. Some of us work so there is enough money to eat at dinner (thats me). Some of us work cause we truly love it. Some of us work because our children drive us nuts (thats also me sometimes). And its all ok. Here is my point.

Whether you stay home part time, full time or never. Your children are part of your decision. Your children factor into almost every choice you make. After I became a mom I was no longer able to make any choices or decision based on me only. My little guy factors into every thing. I am not free to pursue a masters degree and go on an archeological dig this summer like my friend who came to visit me. Could I do it? Sure. Am I free to do that without a thought of how it would affect me son? No. There is a difference.

Every mom is different. Life is different. We make different choices for our kids and our families. Work, stay at home, join the circus whatever… But any mom who thinks she can have a baby and still pursue her life as she did before that child arrived is grossly mistaken. They invade our life and hearts. I don’t know about you but having a child to me is like having your heart right out there on that little persons sleeve instead of your own. I wouldn’t change it for the world.

*** I wrote this almost a year ago when I was really struggling with my place in life as a mom. It has sat on my computer until now when I finally decided to share it as my first post. Will some people disagree with my opinion and experience? Sure. (However it does baffle me that people actually try to disagree with someones life experience.) Will others feel the same as I did a year ago? Sure. That is who I hope to encourage.***