Thursday, June 30, 2011

Second-Class Citizens.....????

There's an article on American Thinker website today that caused me a bit of concern.  The article's author, Bob Weir, asks "Are Mormons Second-Class Citizens?"  To answer this rather provocative question, Mr Weir discusses the results of a recent Gallup poll that found that "22% of Americans would not be willing to vote for a Mormon for president."  Somehow I don't find that very surprising, and it's painful that I don't. 

I served in the Air Force for 23 years.  Granted I served as a staff officer, an attorney, a Judge Advocate; but I served.  Maybe it was my "professional" status, but not once in my 23-year career did I feel that I was not taken seriously solely because I was a woman.  I worked for good Staff Judge Advocates and for great Commanders.  I enjoyed the men and women I served with.  Although I also worked for some not-so-good Commanders and one absolutely terrible Staff Judge Advocate, I never believed that anyone was biased against me because of my gender. 

Having said that, there was one time that I know I was not given a national-level award because of my religion.  I am a Mormon, and the award package contained information about community service I performed as a part of my religion.  One of the members who sat on the awards board talked to me after the award had been given to another (very deserving) person.  The board member told me to make sure my boss submitted me for the award the following year; but to leave out any mention that I was Mormon.  He told me that some of the other awards board members believed that Mormons should not get national-level awards.  It hit me like a ton of bricks.  I couldn't believe it....that members of a highly professional organization like the Air Force would be so overtly discriminatory. 

So I find it interesting that 22% of the people responding to the Gallup poll would not vote for a Mormon, solely because of religion.  It seems like our society hasn't really progressed as far as we'd like it to.  People have misconceptions about Mormons and Mormonism, and are unwilling to have an open mind about the religion or those who practice it.  Fortunately, we've progressed from the days where a state Governor can issue an order to expel Mormons from the state, or exterminate Mormons if they don't leave.  But I wonder who far we've really progressed.....

I agree with Martin Luther King that "men (and women) should be judge on the content of their character."  We should evaluate people, and political candidates, based on who they are, who they surround themselves with, and the actions they take.  That a person has religious values, and applies those values in his life, is more important than what his religion is.  A person's religion is a matter of personal belief (or lack of belief).  What matters is that the person's actions are driving by the person's values....and the person is not a hypocrite. 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Counting Blessings

I just had a wonderful week with my daughter and her two kids.  We camped, we played, we rode horses, and we just "hung out."  Although it was a busy week, I enjoyed every minute of it.  All of my kids live a good distance away, so I don't get to see them very often.  I admit that moving away was my choice, and it was a choice that hurt a lot of people, but one of the things I really regret is that I live so far away from them and my grandkids.  Family really is everything. 

I have a wonderful family.  I am married to a great man, who loves me.  I'm fortunate to still have my parents.  I live in a place where I have an extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins that I enjoy.   My siblings are my friends.  As I said, I have great kids who are married to wonderful people, and who have given me super grandkids.  My family isn't perfect, who's family is.....but I love them all.  The thing is:  they're mine in all their imperfections.  Family really is everything. 

Sunday, June 12, 2011


You know what I love about Summer?  I love the sunshine.  I love flowers and green grass.  I love the longer days and BBQ.  And, I love hot fudge sundaes.  Yum!  I know, you can have hot fudge sundaes during the other three seasons, too.....but they're never as good as the hot fudge sundaes you get during the Summer. 

In the Summer, we drive to the local Flyover Country hamburger joint to get the best hot fudge sundaes.  It's better when you can stay outside and order your sundae through the walk-up window.  I guess there's something about the warm sunshine on your face and the cool breeze blowing through your hair that just makes the hot fudge taste better.   The cold ice cream meshes so well with the smooth whipped cream, and the nuts just add a hint of crunch to tease your taste buds.  Yummy! 

So this evening, my guy and I decided to take a short drive to the hamburger joint for sundaes.  The sun was still warm, but there was a nice breeze to make everything very pleasant.  The girl at the window is a friend, as was the cook and just about all the other customers at the burger joint....ah, the joys of small town we visited while our order was made and caught up with Flyover Country news.  Then we got our sundaes.  Mine was a chocolate explosion.  When we ordered, my guy teased me about my absolute devotion to chocolate (it goes much further than mere love...), so my friend at the burger joint made me a chocolate and hot fudge sundae to beat all sundaes.  Rocky road ice cream with hot fudge, brownie bits, and chocolate chips, topped off with whipped cream, nuts and a cherry.  Absolutely delicious! 

But, now I'm full....and chocolate overloaded.  I guess there is such concept as "too much of a good thing."  Well...maybe not.....

Friday, June 10, 2011

Something to Ponder

I was listening to the Glen Beck show on satellite radio on the way to Salt Lake City on Wednesday.  Glen was interviewing David Mamet, a Pulitzer Prize winning author.  Mr Mamet made a statement that has had me thinking for several days.  In addressing our political leaders (to use the term "leaders" loosely), Mr Mamet said,

"We need to stop expecting our leaders to be perfect and start expecting them to be responsible."

I totally agree!!!   We are never going to have the "perfect" person to lead this Nation. (At least not until the second coming of Christ, and that's assuming he wants to lead this Nation.)  There will always be something that someone doesn't like about a particular leader.  No leader will always be perfect, everyone has faults.  But, a true leader will be responsible.  He or she will "own" their fault, and try to rectify it (if possible).  A true leader will do everything they can to avoid a mistake or misstep, but if they can't a true leader will acknowledge that it was their mistake or misstep. 

All I will say about Representative Wiener's debacle is that by this criteria, Representative Wiener is not a leader, in any sense of the word. 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Presidential Politics--The Cain Train

I'm not sure that I'm ready for 2012 Presidential politics already; after all, it's only June in 2011. will be interesting to follow the GOP Presidential hopefuls through the primary process.   I do have to admit that I'm intrigued by a couple of the hopefuls.  Romney is one.  Herman Cain is another.  I'm not ready to say who I'll vote for, I don't even know.  But one thing is for certain, it will be interesting....

For example, here's Herman Cain's new campaign video:
Get on the Cain-Train....well it's catchy.....let's see if he has the substance to go with the style....

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Idol & 2012 Politics

Along with a lot of other folks, I watched this season of American Idol.  I don't know why I was caught up in watching this year, but I was.  I'll also admit to rooting for Scotty McCreery, the eventual winner, for most of the year....I started rooting for him when, in the preliminary rounds, he told the judges he messed up in not standing up for an overweight contestant who was kicked out of the a group of singers.  He said then that he didn't live up to his values and regretted it....and this was from a teenager.  I liked him for admitting the mistake, and I always loved his voice.  I like the hardrocking James Durbin, too, but I wanted Scotty to win and was glad for him when he did. 

A guy named Stuart Schwartz has an interesting take on Scotty McCreery's win in an article titled, Everything I Need to Know About 2012 I Learned on American Idol.  In it, Schwartz says,
Country won. Honesty won. Decency won. And good ol' American values won. They beat hypocrisy and hyperbole, snark and snicker, and the jaw-dropping arrogance of the experts and elites. No, I'm not talking about the Republican sweep of the House last year. Rather, I'm talking about last week's American Idol, where viewers disregarded the exhortations of entertainment and media elites and chose instead down-home over Hollywood, and country over anything and everything our cultural elites pushed at them.
Interesting analysis.  According to Schwartz, even though the judges, the music industry, and the "in-the-know" elite routinely "dissed" Scotty McCreery, he won because the "American People" voted for him.  Schwartz explains,
Although the judges comment after each performance, it is left to the viewers to choose the winners. In past seasons, voters have regularly ignored the preferences of judges and assorted other entertainment and media experts, who largely view the tens of millions in the audience as lacking sophistication and knowledge of "the true art form of music." And again this past week, viewers let the experts know: We're different, we make different choices. 
I say, "Wonderful!"  I'm glad that American's voted for McCreery.  They chose him because they like his voice, and because he has character.  They chose him because he's a cute teenager.  The other contestants just didn't measure up. 

Although I didn't necessarily see Scotty McCreery's Idol win as a political statement, Schwartz's analysis is interesting.  He sees two lessons from this season's Idol that will be applicable to the 2012 elections.  First, "everything changes when the audience watches or lives the performance."  In other words, according to Schwartz, the music experts may have made pronouncements about who should win, "but American Idol viewers voted on the actual singing."  Schwartz believes that if Idol results can be applied to the political arena, then "if 2008 was the year of Obama and cool comes to the White House, then 2012 will best be characterized by the Who hit, "Won't Get Fooled Again."  The second lesson is that "we now know not to trust talking heads and consensus experts, either left or right."  All those "experts" tried to tell us that down-home, honest, likable-country was just not "cool" or "edgy."  But we don't follow the lemmings anymore.  We voted for the country-kid with the great singing voice. 

I think I agree with Schwartz that we need to apply these two Idol lessons to the political realities of 2012.  As Schwartz argues, we have to do what Scott McCreery did when Lady Gaga (who was wearing $4,500 shoes shaped like penises) told McCreery to "act evil." "Lord," he  said, "it's not my doing."  McCreery ignored Gaga's advice and just kept on singing country, "wearing his cross and thanking God and family and friends for the many blessing of this time and place."
I agree with Schwartz, it's time "to tell the mainstream press, insider Washington, and the academic and cultural elites to strap on their $4,500 "penis shoes" and take a hike...because we're gonna be singing country."