A SANE AND LOGICAL EXISTENCE

It’s okay not to make everything political all the time. It’s better to have deep conversations about life in general. It’s okay to be able to zone out with a good book. It’s okay to sit and just be with your family. It’s okay to let go of the “Yeah, buts,” and let go of the anger.

It’s not okay to lie, berate others and generally be mean to each other. It’s time to banish the lies and conspiracies from your lives and treat people with kindness once again regardless of their views. It’s not okay to be obnoxious just because you are young or old.

I don’t hate anyone; I just don’t like people who are bullies. We have to believe in consequences. We have to believe that the people who are bullying the most, spreading hate and lies will truly be held accountable in the future. It’s time to stop the hate and anger and get back to work. Let’s get down to living our lives. Let’s get back to democracy—not being democrat or republican—just democratic in our behavior! Now is the time to save our future. There is more opportunity now than ever before. It is time to bring back love for each other for our sameness as well as our differences. Stop yelling at each other. Bring back patience and kindness once again. Thank the servers that are trying to help you even though they may not be fast enough for you. Thank the teachers for putting up with your children. Tell the store managers how much you appreciate the kind workers who have helped you. Stop shooting and killing each other. Seek outside help before you get so depressed to the point of going out and shooting people.

Do something good every day, something that would make your mother proud. Turn off the news. The world will get back to the new normal if we let go and do what is good for everyone. We just have to be patient. We must be willing to live each day and not worry about some perceived slight, or what we think our future will become. We need to embrace change and move on from this day forward. We are ready to move on. We can do this!

Summer is almost over and school will be in session in a few weeks. Embrace teachers and knowledge seekers. Realize that you can go back to school no matter how old you are. Community colleges offer a myriad of programs for everyone – from high school students, working moms to seniors. For the first time in a very long time, I am going back to college and learn something that I want to learn. I got my degree a long time ago, and it helped my career. Nevertheless, for now, I want to go for learning’s sake. I may not get another degree, but my brain craves learning and contact with others who are just starting out in life. It will be good to see what young people think the future will hold for them. It will be good to see what a senior citizen really is to them. Most people in their teens and twenties tend to ignore anyone over forty. It is my hope to change their attitudes and broaden their way of thinking about aging and how they want to be when they are my age. It is my hope that I also learn from their lives up to this point. We can all learn to embrace a future in which we can age into and enjoy.

So for the next few months, let us all take a step back and breathe. Stop the negativity and seek a peaceful solution no matter what the consequence. Moreover, Florida people! Go home and leave the teachers alone. Your children are looking at your behavior and you are embarrassing them! So don’t be surprised if your kids turn out like you (and I don’t mean this in a good way!) Just take the vaccine. Just wear a mask! How hard is that? If you can’t abide by the rules, then keep your children home! You can teach them!

 Let’s create a year that only gets better and better without all the negativity.

FIRE IT UP! READY TO GO!

During former President Obama’s campaign, he spoke at a gymnasium in Greenwood, South Carolina. As he walked into the venue, and stood on the sidelines, waiting to be introduced, he heard someone shouting: “Fire it up! Ready to go!” Thanks to Edith Childs, a local activist and politician, this became a campaign slogan for him and he changed the nation with his presidency, even if the change was short-lived.

Now President Biden is attempting to do same thing, getting the nation on the road to recovery while experiencing the same tremendous opposition. I believe it is time for us to step up as citizens and vote the craziest of the opposition out of office. Those who still believe in the orange-haired blustery one with all of his drama need to take a long and hard look at their lives. They need to determine a more reasonable path to the truth. Power has corrupted him and now its insidious hand is gripping those that believe in his legacy. The fair and balanced system needs to return.

Over half of the nation’s citizens are stepping up and changing their old ways of thinking. They are helping at a local level, helping each other work through all of their struggles and learning to release their prejudices. It is now time for this to translate to Washington. The people in power need to embrace the changes their own people have made and do the same for each one of their states. They need to listen to the majority of their citizens from their states and strive to make change. They need to let go of those who don’t believe in science and the how the real world should work. Magical things happen when the worldview is big and full of promise. People need to change for the better. People need to take the vaccine and live. People who have hate in their hearts need to become kind once again. It is only then that they make a difference.

We have been debating a long time and now we need to move forward. Start a local movement and make it happen. Leave violence behind and promote the good things in life. Let’s all get back to work. It’s time. Rethinking time is over. Let’s be productive once again. Help the economy out. Encourage the passing of a wealth tax. We need to believe that it’s okay to have those people whose salary is over $50 million to pay an extra 2% tax. After all, the majority of people pay at least 25% of their total income in taxes. This is the tax on all of us who make under $50,000.00 a year! Why is that not fair to tax the multi-millionaires the same? President Biden reiterated what we all believe and refused to admit the truth to ourselves: “Trickle down economy doesn’t work. It has never worked.” Why should those with the vast majority of wealth pay so little? If you don’t believe me, check out the Marketplace.org broadcast from March 12, 2021 with Senator Elizabeth Warren.

https://www.marketplace.org/2021/03/12/sen-elizabeth-warren-on-her-new-wealth-tax-bill-and-how-to-enforce-it/

In 2020, while millions of Americans struggled with job loss and economic turmoil due to the coronavirus pandemic, the richest 100 Americans’ fortunes grew by $598 billion. This is the backdrop for the wealth tax introduced by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. In this article, the Ultra-Millionaire Tax Act would impose a 2% tax on individual net worth above $50 million and an additional 1% surtax on net worth above $1 billion. Only two percent! Payments would begin in 2023 based on wealth in 2022. This bill would only affect people who make over $400,000.00 a year. We must embrace the fact that this is not us! The average person makes far less than that. Wealthy people will find a way to hide their money and that is not right. We have to create legislation to require those who make in the millions put their money back into their companies and people who work there. We have to close the tax loopholes where they hide their wealth. Everyone has to pay his or her share. Why do lawmakers continue to let them get away with this?

Now is the time to ask individuals to be grateful for the life they have lived. Now is the time to give to the future generations. Now is the time to stop beating up and shooting anyone who is different from us. It is time to stop and breathe. It is time to find out what are the real underlying problems. It is time to self-reflect and come up with a plan. It is time to respect each other for our differences. It is time to turn off the TV and get back to work.

It is time to stop the intellectual bashing. Go out and learn something different today. Continue to question your motives and your reasoning. Try to work through what is bothering you. Everyone deserves a better way to live. Money is not the complete answer to all of our problems, but good-paying jobs where we make a difference are necessary for us to believe in ourselves and our country once again. We can do this as individuals and as a nation. I believe in all of you. You should believe in yourselves. Your children and grandchildren are depending on you to make it better.

THE WORLD DOES NOT REVOLVE AROUND YOU – BUT YOU CAN

Colorado is like no other place in the world. The rain has brought us a beautiful spring greening up in the land. Things are starting to look up. People are starting back to work. Jobs are being posted. Pay is going up. Spring has finally sprung.

Having said that, there are still a myriad of big problems to work on this year. Our beloved President Joe Biden is so hopeful, amidst all the negative behaviors among the crazies, and we want to keep his hopes up. We want to support him because he is doing things for us, the underdogs, the little people, people like you and me. He is asking all of the “fat cats” to step up and pay their share, unlike the past administration. He said what we all believe: “The ‘Trickle Down’ theory of economy doesn’t work.” IT NEVER DID! The middle class gets the burden, and now it’s time to ask those who make millions to share that burden. It’s time to have them pay up, and bring businesses back to the states. It’s asking them to pay their share. What’s wrong with that? They will still have plenty of money to buy their yachts, have big parties and whatever else rich people do. It’s a tiny, tiny tax for them. If we can look beyond ourselves for a moment, we will help create good paying jobs in a world that needs us. We will have opportunities to create new businesses and make more money, if America invests in all of the “little people.” Again, I ask, “What’s wrong with that?”

Therefore, Republicans, we are going to pass the Transportation and Infrastructure bill with or without your help. I ask all Republican voters, especially in the red states, to think about whom you are voting for in the mid-year elections next year. Think about what the Democrats have done so far to help us, even you people. Remember: NOT A SINGLE REPUBLICAN VOTED FOR THE COVID RELIEF BILL, even though they are taking credit for it. Furthermore, they are not voting for the Transportation bill. Wouldn’t it be great if you remembered that fact? Democrats are a better answer to help you solve all of your problems. I know you hate to think that is true. But, you can make things happen. You can revolve around you, and help others in the world if you choose to make a difference.

Memorial Day is a time of remembrance, so let’s remember all of those who served, but let’s also remember that tomorrow is another day. We need to strive to make changes in the way we think and behave. We need to pass on what is good in our lives to the younger generation. We need to help each other every day by being decent and kind people. Happy Memorial Day!

NOTES OF ENCOURAGEMENT

Dear Graduating Seniors everywhere:

This is the week for celebration and taking the big leap into adulthood. This is the time for reflection on where you go from here.

You have had one of the weirdest years and, hopefully, the last one like this in your generation. Things have changed drastically, and global movements happened. So many of you wanted to retreat, but you did not do it. You came out of it with pride and stepped up to help so many people. You made your families proud. You learned how to connect and help people in more ways than we would have ever thought. You put aside selfishness and blame and created positive change.

You set an example for all of us, and we want you to continue to do so. It will be very hard, I know, but you have to be better than the rest of us. You have to continue on this path and make life better for all. This is your task. This is your future.

We hope you run for political office and quell the crazies, the misogynists, the haters, and make positive change. We hope you get to space and observe from above what we past generations did to the earth and the people you left behind. We hope you make changes, for the better, for your children, grandchildren and all future generations. We are depending on you. We hope you will willingly undertake this overwhelming task. It is hard to grasp how much we need you to make a change for the better. We are depending on you. Our parents and grandparents took too much from this world, and now you have to help give it back, and not be mad about it. We can work together. We have prepared you the best we know how. We hope it is enough.

As we age, we will depend more on more on your good deeds and common sense attitudes. We will depend on you to take care of seniors and those in need. We will depend on you to step away from you screen time, set better examples, and get out in the world to interact with all people. We hope you will stop the hate and continue on a better path than we did. We hope your movements will make a difference for our future. We hope you never give up. 

Congratulations and Good Luck!

A PLEA FOR ACTION

This is the letter I sent to Governor Polis, Senator Hickenlooper, and Congressman Neguse today. Hopefully, it will help them make some decisions.

Just like President Biden told us: No more prayers-time for some Action!

April 9, 2021

Dear Governor Polis,

I am writing you today because of the impact the shootings at the Table Mesa King Soopers in Boulder had on all of our lives. It is still hard for all of us to believe that this happened so close to home. I live in a small town just east of Boulder and know that area well. When I moved up from Colorado Springs many years ago, I attended school at the University of Colorado, and there were many times when I stopped in that store. I also worked for the City of Boulder at the City Attorney’s office and the Boulder Police Department.

I worked in law enforcement and government most of my life. In the law enforcement field, I was a patrol officer, a crime analyst, a paralegal, and a records clerk. Before working in Boulder, I was a crime analyst in Colorado Springs, and became an expert in my field as well as an expert profiler. My job was to identify the serious and habitual juvenile offenders who lived in the City in order to create an information tracking system to help solve crimes. We received grant funding and this was one of the first databases created on a computer to help track their crimes, and pass on the information to the prosecution and social services when intervention was necessary. The computer systems were limited at the time, and an analyst had to rely on all of those relationships developed for an inter-agency approach to not only help police, but also help these young offenders.

Violent juveniles or adults cannot be identified as a juvenile habitual offender or adult career criminal until after they commit many, many crimes. There is a threshold of crimes before they come “onto the radar” for police. These offenders have many predictors in the school system and the mental health field, but these reports are not easily accessible for police. Early intervention is not easily studied outside of the social services realm, and information is not often passed on to the police until it is too late. Spree killers don’t necessarily fit the profile of a career criminal because they don’t usually have a large number of arrests. It is not something police can easily make predictions and proactively solve the problem.

Although we weren’t highly publicized, Colorado Springs took great strides to prevent gun violence back in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Laws were enacted, and grant money became available for us to study the issues. Many of these laws went away in 1997, and as a result, this money dried up. Recently, money has become available through the CDC for mental health grants, but researchers are just now seeking out this money. To my knowledge, no money has been put into police efforts to help solve the myriad of problems to study and reduce gun violence since the 1990’s.

In Boulder, I worked in records and saw how the incomplete data led to many lapses in what had been collected over the years. Many reports were in a handwritten format, and there was no software to collect data from them, and they came into records in many different formats. As computer scanning became more prevalent, any changes in upgrading to new formats or changes to the systems caused data loss—because of how the data was collected. Additionally, the laws at the time prevented most data to be collected in a meaningful way. Each department differed in how they collected their information, and most records continued to be purged after ten years with few exceptions, such as unsolved homicides. As detectives and records personnel left and/or retired, the “brain trust” depleted.

According to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) from 2018 to 2019, there was a 19% decline in reported serious crimes, with 880,000 fewer people victimized in 2019. While the data that has been collected over the years shows a decrease in violent crimes, crimes using weapons are not being collected in a meaningful way. It is hard to know if this decrease is a realistic statistic.

To date, there is no national registry that links you to a firearm. The FBI, ATF, USPS, NSA, IRS, CIA, or Forest Service can’t just punch your name into a system and see what guns you own. A realistic figure of gun violence is speculative at best since the collection is incomplete.

The media’s coverage, and “rolling the footage” repeatedly—recapping the mass shootings, police making rash decisions, and unrest occurring after each incident—makes citizens become more disheartened, and believe that violent crimes have increased. Many have become more afraid, especially since the COVID-19 outbreak, and have great mistrust in the police and the System at large. Thus, the public makes rash decisions, and one of them is going out in huge numbers to buy weapons. A year of gun sales rising, and very limited gun safety education as well as background checks have put many people at risk in the future.

RAND has published studies in the past that has shown some promising results. Here are a few of their conclusions:

  • Available evidence supports the conclusion that child-access prevention laws, or safe storage laws, reduce self-inflicted fatal or nonfatal firearm injuries, including unintentional and intentional self-injuries, among youth.
  • There is supportive evidence that stand-your-ground laws are associated with increases in firearm homicides and moderate evidence that they increase the total number of homicides.
  • There is moderate evidence that state laws prohibiting gun ownership by individuals subject to domestic violence restraining orders decrease total and firearm-related intimate partner homicides.
  • There is moderate evidence that waiting periods reduce firearm suicides and total homicides and limited evidence that they reduce total suicides and firearm homicides.
  • No studies meeting the authors’ inclusion criteria have examined the effects of gun-free zones, laws allowing armed staff in kindergarten through grade 12 schools, or required reporting of lost or stolen firearms.

The RAND studies made recommendations for new policy. Here are a few of them:

  • States without child-access prevention laws should consider adopting them as a strategy to reduce firearm suicides and unintentional firearm injuries and deaths.
  • States with stand-your-ground laws should consider repealing them as a strategy for reducing firearm homicides.
  • States without laws prohibiting gun ownership while individuals are subject to domestic violence restraining orders should consider passing such laws as a strategy for reducing total and firearm-related intimate partner homicides.
  • States without waiting period laws should consider adopting them as a strategy for reducing suicides and homicides.

In addition, here were their recommendations for further research and policy from 2016:

  • To improve understanding of the real effects of gun policies, Congress should consider appropriating funds for a significant program of research on gun policy and gun violence reduction at levels comparable to the government’s current investment in other threats to public safety and health.
  • To improve understanding of outcomes of critical concern to many in gun policy debates, the U.S. government and private research sponsors should support research examining the effects of gun laws on a wider set of outcomes, including crime, defensive gun use, hunting and sport shooting, officer-involved shootings, and the gun industry.
  • To foster a more robust research program on gun policy, Congress should consider eliminating or loosening the restrictions, it has imposed on the use of gun trace data for research purposes.

The RAND Corporation launched the Gun Policy in America initiative in January 2016 with the goal of creating objective, factual resources for policymakers and the public on the effects of gun policies. Research in this area has often consisted of cross-sectional studies examining how firearm outcomes differ in a particular year across states with different policies. Many fewer studies have used more-powerful longitudinal research designs for evaluating the effects of gun laws, partly because longitudinal data on most state gun laws are not widely available and are difficult and time-consuming to construct. Therefore, as part of the Gun Policy in America initiative, RAND developed this longitudinal database of state firearm laws that is free to the public, including other researchers, to support improved analysis and understanding of the effects of various laws. RAND is making the RAND State Firearm Law Database available for use under the Open Data Commons Open Database License.

https://www.rand.org/pubs/tools/TLA243-2.html

Colorado has initiated more laws regarding gun purchases and background checks, but what about our surrounding States? Is it possible for you, as Governor, to encourage other Governors to pass similar legislation and work together to solve a growing problem? Without a workable federal database, law enforcement relies solely on the information they can gather locally or through their own contacts. If Governors in our surrounding states present these ideas to their legislatures, similar to what Colorado is trying to do, we could have a significant impact on gun violence in the western states.

It would also be logistically sound if the elected officials stop repeating the old adages to their constituents who are adamantly opposed to any gun laws. There are more people outside this group voice that believe some gun laws are necessary. They just don’t have as loud a voice. If leaders would be willing to step up and create legislation for law enforcement that is based on sound federal policy and laws, perhaps they could better protect the public from future mass shootings.

Currently, it is my understanding that based on the lack of legislative non-action, there is nothing in place requiring data to be collected in the long-term at the federal and state levels. If law enforcement is to be more effective in prevention, each law enforcement department needs to collect data, save it in a usable form and forward it to CBI who can then forward it to the ATF, and/or to Homeland, and the FBI. From what I could gather in researching this topic, current laws prohibit keeping background checks for more than 24 hours at the federal level. The purchase-waiting period is only three days at this point and in most states, including Colorado, the purchase can be made even without the background checks coming through in this time period.

There is no way that this is enough time to check on a person’s background and forward it to the persons in charge of the sale. While I realize that mental health records are private, and mistrust of police is rampant right now, there should be some way that law enforcement, particularly their analysts and records keeping people, can check these records before a sale goes through. I know we cannot prevent every shooting from happening, but if we could work with more data than what we have, we could make a difference. As cities grow bigger, we can no longer rely on the old paper and pencil method employed in the past. Having said that, however, computers can’t do everything. They are, for the most part, a massive numbers-crunching machine. They don’t have all the answers at your fingertips. Crime shows on television oversimplify how we analyze a situation. People do that, not computers. There still needs to be a coordinated and inter-departmental human involvement in creating a fair and knowledgeable profile on the individuals most at risk to commit violence. By having a complete profile, perhaps police and mental health workers can get them the help they need before a violent shooting goes down.

In the past, I worked with dozens of retired and senior citizen volunteers who helped me collect the data from all police and other agencies’ reports. They dedicated their time to serve the greater good. As a result, my profiles were complete using all of the facts that were collected with their help. I’m sure that there are many people like that out there today that would be willing to help with this process. These volunteers could help their police counterparts have reliable knowledge to prevent situations that might blow up.

It all boils down to providing help, training police and volunteers, building trust in each other, and investing in a System that works. Media coverage over thoughts of defunding the police is not the solution. Media and the public need to step away from that idea and move onto a more logical solution. Police cannot do all the work, especially with limited funding. Police and community can band together and help each other. However, there needs to be a state effort to provide funds that reinvest in education and training for police and community. Community Policing and Crime Prevention programs need to be re-instated, or receive more funds if they are still active. These programs work. I have seen it. People want to help make things better for their community. It bridges the gaps and creates trust in communities once again.

Finally, we do not need to display our weapons to the world. What Congresswoman Lauren Boebert did was disrespectful, disgraceful and unprofessional. I have no issue with people owning weapons, as long as they take the responsibility for them. Not all Coloradoans want to be known to the world as “gun-toting cowboys.” We need to divest from this blatant belief that weapons, and particularly assault rifles, are the answer to all of our problems. We need to help people understand that all guns are deadly weapons, and that we can only protect each other through education, communication, and reasonable gun laws. We can save cities and the people that live here.

I have lived in Colorado for a long time. My town was recognized many times as the one of the “Best Places to Live.” I would love to see every community thrive and become a part of the solution. Perhaps, with some legislative intervention, and more Community-Based Policing, trust will return between all citizens and police. Not all police are bad people. Police cannot always predict when a mass shooting will occur, but perhaps they can provide preemptive help for these shooters before they get to this state of mind and take action on the public if we as a community take a positive stand to help them.

Thank you for your time.                      

Sincerely,

Drusilla M. Tieben

Cc:       Senator John Hickenlooper

     Representative Joe Neguse

TAKE THE NEXT STEP

First, thank you all health care workers for everything you have done and continue to do. Thank you for staying in touch with your patients during this crazy time. I appreciate every one of you and everything you do for us!

In the 1950s, Eric Berne developed the psychological model of transactional analysis, using “transaction” to describe the fundamental unit of social intercourse, with “transactional analysis” being the study of social interactions between individuals. Dr. Stephen Karpman, MD, took it one-step further and published a book in 1967, and detailed the Karpman Drama Triangle as a social model of human interaction. The triangle maps a type of destructive interaction that can occur among people in conflict. The drama triangle model is a tool used in psychotherapy, specifically transactional analysis. The triangle of actors in the drama is persecutors, victims, and rescuers. He published his book about it at that time, updated it in 2008, and recently gave a TED talk about it. He updated his book and re-published it in 2020. The Karpman Drama Triangle models the connection between personal responsibility and power in conflicts, and the destructive and shifting roles people play (emphasis mine). His theory defined three roles in the conflict: Persecutor, Rescuer (the one up position) and Victim (one down position).

Karpman placed these three roles on an inverted triangle and referred to them as being the three aspects, or faces of drama.

The Victim: The Victim in this model is not intended to represent an actual victim, but rather someone feeling or acting like one. The Victim’s stance is “Poor me!” The Victim feels victimized, oppressed, helpless, hopeless, powerless, ashamed, and seems unable to make decisions, solve problems, take pleasure in life, or achieve insight. The Victim, if not being persecuted, will seek out a Persecutor and a Rescuer who will save the day but also perpetuate the Victim’s negative feelings.

The Rescuer: The rescuer’s line is “Let me help you.” A classic enabler, the Rescuer feels guilty if they don’t go to the rescue. Yet their rescuing has negative effects: It keeps the Victim dependent and doesn’t allow the Victim permission to fail and experience the consequences of their choices. The rewards derived from this rescue role are that the focus is taken off of the rescuer. When they focus their energy on someone else, it enables them to ignore their own anxiety and issues. This rescue role is also pivotal because their actual primary interest is really an avoidance of their own problems disguised as concern for the victim’s needs.

The Persecutor: (a.k.a. Villain) The Persecutor insists, “It’s all your fault.” The Persecutor is controlling, blaming, critical, oppressive, angry, authoritarian, rigid, and superior (Former President and his supporters).

“Initially, a drama triangle arises when a person takes on the role of a victim or persecutor. This person then feels the need to enlist other players into the conflict. As often happens, a rescuer is encouraged to enter the situation. These enlisted players take on roles of their own that are not static, and therefore various scenarios can occur. The victim might turn on the rescuer, for example, while the rescuer then switches to persecution.”

“The reason that the situation persists is that each participant has their (frequently unconscious) psychological wishes/needs met without having to acknowledge the broader dysfunction or harm done in the situation as a whole. Each participant is acting upon their own selfish needs, rather than acting in a genuinely responsible or altruistic manner (Emphasis Mine).”

The relationship between the victim and the rescuer may be one of codependency. The rescuer keeps the victim dependent by encouraging their victimhood. The victim gets their needs met by having the rescuer take care of them. (Again, does this sound familiar to you regarding the former president supporters?)

Participants generally tend to have a primary or habitual role (victim, rescuer, persecutor) when they enter into drama triangles. Participants first learn their habitual role in their family of origin. Even though participants each have a role, with which they most identify, once on the triangle, participants rotate through all the three positions.

Each triangle has a “payoff” for those playing it. The “antithesis” of a drama triangle lies in discovering how to deprive the actors of their payoff.

So what does this all mean regarding where we are today? Why do some of us take the hit, shake it off and go on with trying something new, moving on, while others get further depressed, wallow in self-pity and blame everyone else? Why do we focus on the persecutor/victim struggle and look for a rescuer (superhero) instead of looking into what we are doing to make our lives miserable?

While I acknowledge the pandemic has taken its toll on everyone, including me, and the crazies during and after the election didn’t help, now is the time to make change in your lives and move forward. It’s time to step up, take control of our own lives and look to the future for things and work to make the change. It’s time for the crazies (both persecutors and victims) to acknowledge their misdeeds and move on and become part of society’s rescue. They only fan hate and violence and it is not something that we need right now. We are going in the direction we need to go and it will take time, but they need to get on board.

We, as a society, have to learn patience, which is terribly hard for Americans to do. We are used to the attitude of selfishness – getting what we want when we want it, RIGHT NOW! Things are changing, slowly, but it will be a very long process before we get back to normal. We have to be safe first, stay home and wait a little bit longer to reap the rewards in the future. Part of that patience is to take control of your children (Spring Break craziness – people, why would you let them do that?) and understand that it will take our new leaders some time to dig out of the disaster of the last four years. We have to learn to trust the new administration to do the right thing. I understand that trust is hard to come by, but if we could just give it a little more time, I believe we will get through it. I am going with optimistic and keeping positive, even if only in my bubble of a world.

I also realize that the first part of that patience is being able to get people back to work. Part of getting back to work is to ask your new senators and representatives (and especially your Republican representatives!) to come together with the Democrats and create new jobs within new markets in the U.S. Again, I know long-term is not what we DO as Americans, but if we can just be a little patient, and keep the idea of new opportunities alive we can make it happen. How does this happen? We can start by communicating RATIONALLY, to the people that represent us. People could start a grassroots campaign in their towns to have jobs that are safe to come back to. We can ask local entrepreneurs and local representatives to come up with a way to create jobs that are challenging and purposeful for us and for future generations. We can write our Governors and respectfully request them to take some of the stimulus money and put into development of these new jobs. It is not a pie in the sky idea. It can be done.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has been working the late night circuit and he recently talked to Jimmy Kimmel about the future of our infrastructure. He is a breath of fresh air, funny, and takes a positive spin on what we can do now. He talked about change in how we travel and how we could think about ways to not only re-build the crumbling roads and bridges, but how we could improve how we get to and from places every day. He was asked about the status of Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) and he stated that companies like Tesla are working on a self-driving car. Although this isn’t the flying car of my childhood dreams, it is still a great idea. I ask you to think about this. We already have cars that pick us up when we don’t want to drive, so why can’t it be possible for us to embrace the idea of calling an AV company, get in and let it do the work? He did say it would take time to get the roadways ready, but just think of the jobs this alone would create. Maybe this would encourage people to shop in downtown areas that are hard to get to right now because of reduced bus routes and limited (and expensive) parking. Perhaps it would even reduce roadway traffic and we could finally get rid of those massive parking garages.

Secretary Buttigieg also spoke of the Public Transfer relief that is coming from the COVID relief package and that is to get the transit sector, e.g., Amtrak and buses running again to full capacity. Money was also included for Aerospace manufacturing that will provide new job opportunities for people as well as helping others in the industry get back to work.

All I know is that life as we know it is will continue to change and we have to embrace it. It’s hard, I know, but if we can brainstorm and envision new ways to accomplish our jobs after the pandemic, we will survive. Our lives are changing and new careers will open up if we open ourselves up to it. Think about it. Creating new fields of study and then putting it all to work in new careers will give all of us a fighting chance. Industry has to change, and embrace forward-thinking training and we have to allow that change. I am hopeful for the first time in years. So let us get through the past sadness together and move onto the future.

As Maya Angelou once said:

“Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.”

In addition:

“As long as you’re breathing, it’s never too late to do some good.”

RISE UP

When you just want to give up with life, “Who ya’ gonna call?” Democrats!

I’ve never had power like the rich people have. I’ve never been rich. Nor have I ever been in office. But, I do believe that we can change the system if we have righteous elections like we did in 2020. Today, eighty-five percent, (85%) of Americans, both Democrats and Republicans believe in the power of the people and want the right to have a decent life. 85% of Americans approved the recent passing of the COVID relief bill. Not a single Republican voted for this bill. I repeat: NOT A SINGLE REPUBLICAN VOTED FOR THIS BILL. My mantra remains this: “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?” Are you so worried about losing your power? I believe that is exactly what is happening. By you continuing to vote what you believe the GOP should vote, denouncing everything that comes out of a Democrats’ mouth, you are making yourself look ridiculous in the eyes of your constituents (and all Democrats)!

Recently, one Congressman stated that the $2 trillion given to billionaires as tax cuts under the last administration would more than pay for what we are now giving to Americans for COVID relief today. There are currently 614 billionaires in the United States and their wealth (currently, a total of over $4.2 trillion) far exceeds the wealth of 50% of the entire American population. They continue to reap the benefits and the majority of them aren’t willing to help fix the situation, by say, putting more money back into their companies or creating new industry in the United States. Americans want to get back to work, and want to make a decent wage. They want to buy American products. I ask you: What is wrong with this picture? We hate to hear it, but the solution is simple: Fair Taxation.

In an article from the Othering and Belonging Institute at U.C. Berkeley, https://belonging.berkeley.edu/six-policies-reduce-economic-inequality

Author and Professor John A. Powell summarized six policies that would help reduce economic inequalities. This article was written in 2014, was published in Huffington Post, reiterated in articles published by them in both 2015 and 2017, and brought back up in 2021 by Senator Bernie Sanders when interviewed about the COVID-19 relief package. Here are the policies Professor Powell recommended:

1.         Increase the minimum wage. This would take over 5 million people out of poverty and will not retard economic growth.

2.         Expand the Earned Income Tax (which would increase the tax credit for children).

3.         Build assets for working families (such as higher savings rates, retirement plans, and fair and low-cost housing).

4.         Invest in childhood education (such as pre-K programs).

5.         Make the tax code more progressive (such as adjusting capital gains taxes).

6.         End residential segregation.

Amazing, isn’t it? While we have taken temporary steps to fix a few of these, we still have a long way to go. So many policies have been recommended for the betterment of all people, and yet, currently it seems that the (Republican) solution is desperately trying to keep your seat in Congress by suppressing voter’s rights in all of those states who voted for the other side. Your people are telling you they don’t want that. They want the opportunity to vote. Recently, the Iowa governor voted for more limited voting access, even though they are a predominantly Republican voting state and they had a better turn out – for Republicans no less – than past elections. That absolutely makes no sense. I hope the Republican party will rise up and come to their senses. I agree that we need a balance, but not at the expense of the people. We are the people! Georgia is now pursuing and getting the same laws in place. And, other states are doing the same. Power is an evil draw if you don’t do the best you can while you are in office. So, stop worrying about the next election, and do some good over these next four years. Step away from the funders who promote racist behavior and classim, and do the right thing. Support the normal people who voted for you. Make us believe that conditions can improve and move in a positive direction. No more doom and gloom!

For the first time in many, many years, we as a nation have an opportunity to make things right that have been wrong for a very long time. We have to stop thinking like our parents and grandparents and prepare for a world that can only get better and better, if we stop being afraid. We have to get out of our bubble and teach our children and grandchildren subjects like Writing, Civics and Economics. We have to teach our children civility and kindness and campaign (and pay!) for an education system that works better. We have to rise up and be a better nation. Superheroes aren’t always young, you know. Getting older doesn’t mean we can give up or stop living a life that is important. We have to stop thinking about that next vacation and do something good for others every day.

Colleges are producing more alcoholics coming out of them than ever before. Boulder recently had yet another riot on the Hill with way too many students partying. Is this a tradition now, even though it is more dangerous than ever before? Why is rebellion for rebellion’s sake important to us as teenagers and young adults? How can we, as parents and grandparents, teach them responsibility and humanity? Why can’t we help them understand that wild parties accomplish nothing? Why can’t we teach these children to see their future as something exciting, something that goes beyond the present moment? Going to a huge party like that, or taking spring break to go to these same type of parties, but at the beach, until we drop dead, is not a viable solution. (And, I mean, literally drop dead of alcoholism-or COVID-19). Wouldn’t it be better if parents and teachers encouraged their kids to do something meaningful with their lives throughout the break? There are so many opportunities out there to learn something new while helping others. Wouldn’t students be better off giving up this selfish me-centric party activity and go out and make a difference? Something to think about.

RECKONING

Dear People of Idaho:

As I have said many times before to many other people: “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?” We are never, never, never going to visit your state, and we don’t want you here where we do have mask rules in place. Your disregard for human life is appalling and the fact that you are teaching these lessons to your children makes me very, very sad, in knowing that they will grow up like you. One can only hope that your children escape you and move somewhere else when they grow up so they have the freedom to think for themselves. I left my home state and fled to the west in hopes of finding people like me who believe in humanity coming first above all these so-called make believe violations of your civil rights. We must face the music when it comes to disease and whatever we can do to lessen the flow to others. Mask wearing prevents the spread. Period. You may think this is a violation of your rights, but when you and your family members start dying, don’t blame the rest of the world who understand how this works. For once, go beyond your personal bubble and look at the rest of the world. Everyone deserves a chance to live without fear of you people. Enough said.

PEACEFUL CHALLENGE

Tonight, turn off the TV, phone and all electronic devices, go outside, and quiet your mind for a minute. Be satisfied with what you have right now. You are alive, you are warm, you have electricity, and you are safe. How do I know this? Because I see that you are reading this right now. Once you read this, stop thinking about tomorrow and count on your fingers what you are grateful for today. Don’t read Facebook or listen to the news for the rest of the week. Instead, work on your book, or pictures or crafts and make a fabulous dinner for you and your family. Next week is the time to worry once again and help those who in need.

I challenge each of you to learn something new for the next ten days. Then, go out and teach someone what you learned. It could be as simple as setting up an account on the computer, or helping someone learn how to create a budget and stick to it. Or, it could just be getting the clutter out of your mind and your house and passing that knowledge of how you did it to someone else.

We still have a lot of work to do to help everyone rise up. I pay my housekeeper more right now because she is fabulous and helps me so much. I couldn’t do the things I wanted to do without her. And, I give more money to EFAA (Emergency Family Assistance Association) out of Boulder, because they are a fantastic local agency that helps people so much and they have been around for over 100 years! I want to continue to do anything I can to make someone’s life easier.

We still have to be safe before we can hold hands or hug each other. But, for now, just breathe.

DEAR CEOs

 “In every community there is work to be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal. In every heart there is the power to do it.”—Marianne Williamson [Emphasis mine]

“Our sorrows and wounds are healed only when we touch them with compassion.”—Buddha

It’s time to stop being mean to each other. (Yes, Congresswoman G., and Senator C., you know who I’m talking about.) It’s time to let the crazy go and move forward and accept everyone for who they are in the world and what they represent. Republicans need to step up as most of the Democrats have done and help the people they represent. They need to stop being bullies and stop the cult-like behavior for the good of the nation and for the good of the people.

CEOs also need to take heart and do the right thing. Although there are a few CEOs doing the right thing to help those less fortunate, there are still too many that make their stockholders richer. For example, instead of doing the right thing, on 2/4/21 Kroger closed two stores in Long Beach, CA instead of giving the workers hazardous pay ordered by the City Council, despite the fact that people stayed at the job during the worst of COVID and the company’s value increasing by 27%! Instead, they chose to give the profits to their shareholders, making them richer. It was a sad day for the little person

One good thing that came out of the pandemic was that CEOs and Board Members took up to 100% pay cuts to save their companies and keep employees in benefits, even though they had to furlough workers due to shut downs. Forty-Seven CEOs did step up last year. Here are a few examples:

  • The Walt Disney Company: The Walt Disney Company (DIS) announced that in response to the business challenges relating to COVID-19, each of the Company’s named executive officers agreed to receive a temporary reduction in their base salaries, effective with the payroll period commencing April 5, 2020. The Executive Chairman, and former Chief Executive Officer, of Walt Disney agreed to forego all of his compensation except a portion of his base salary.
  • Burlington Stores, Inc.: Burlington’s CEO, Michael O’Sullivan, will not take a salary, while the company’s Board of Directors will forfeit their cash compensation, and the Company’s executive leadership team has voluntarily agreed to decrease their salary by 50%.
  • Comcast Corporation: Comcast Chief Brian Roberts, NBC Universal CEO Jeff Shell and other division leaders at Comcast will donate their salaries to coronavirus-related relief efforts as the world grapples with the devastating pandemic.
  • Fiserv Inc.: Fiserv Inc.’s top executives are taking temporary base salary pay cuts to compensate employees, who experience financial hardship due to the COVID-19. The Company disclosed that its Chairman & CEO, Jeffery Yabuki, and President & Chief Operating Officer, Frank Bisignano, have each agreed to forgo 100% of their base salary.
  • Wells Fargo & Company, Arconic, Inc., The Walt Disney Company, The Kraft Heinz Company, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. have also implemented dividend cuts or changes due to COVID-19.

It’s a start, but we need to move forward. My question to these CEOs is this: Why don’t you re-invest your packaged deals back into the company, instead of running it into the ground and moving onto the next company? CEOs’ salaries are a fraction of their incentive packages. There needs to be some legislation or tax law that prohibits them from taking their gains out of the company and moving on to the next when their company fails. Employees will appreciate the effort company management puts into the company and will do a better job if they are paid more, or at least a livable wage.

On the positive side, COSTCO announced they would give employees $16.00 an hour to start. Their company is often cited as one of the world’s most ethical companies. It has been called a “testimony to ethical capitalism” in large part due to its company practices and treatment of employees. While Congress struggles with minimum wage issues, some companies are moving forward and giving their employees the money they need.

It is hard to say what will happen and what the future holds for our economy. How many companies will survive is unknown, but one this is certain in my humble opinion:

CEOs need to learn from the COSTCO model. They need to roll up their sleeves, re-invest their energy and time into their companies, and treat their employees so they have some dignity. They need to create and trust in their decisions to have a bigger picture, one where the employee feels better about the job. If employees feel better and safe in their jobs, they will more likely treat customers better, and more people will shop there.

I know we can make a change. We are a can-do nation now. We are slowly coming out of our cocoon and the new normal will emerge.