The Good Neighbor Policy

The Good Neighbor Policy

Some would say our communities are becoming more dangerous and our safety less secure.  And that for the most part we are letting it happen.  Many people who find themselves thinking, feeling and believing this are reaping what they have sown.

More and more, I see people, in my neighborhood who do not even acknowledge the people living around them.  They ignore the person across the street, the kids playing in the yards or the lost dog.

The world is changing–people have forgotten or never learned the importance of community.  They don’t care about anything that doesn’t directly affect them–what they don’t realize is that their attitude towards their neighbors is hurting themselves.

How? They have stopped caring, stopped being involved in our communities, and have stopped thinking about the well being of themselves and those around them.  And then lamenting when something goes wrong.  We absolutely need to do something about it.

I am not talking about being the nosy neighbor that pulls out the by laws of the Home owner’s Association and berates their neighbors for not hiding their trash cans on the right side of their homes.

I am talking about being a good neighbor.

Now I have been very blessed in my life to always have good neighbors.  I hope in the bottom of my heart that my neighbors have thought of me as a good neighbor as well.

I don’t believe the complainers, the people who don’t care about others, the ones who scare others with talk of crime and mischief.

These are the traits of good neighbors:

Good neighbors watch out for each other–they know who lives in each house, the cars they drive and who their kids are.  Many good neighbors will know which dog or cat belongs to which human.

Good neighbors will pick up a newspaper, or trash if they see it in a neighbor’s yard and they know that person is out of town.

Good neighbors keep an eye out when there are strangers about.

Good neighbors are always willing to lend a hand mowing lawns, mending a fence, fixing a car or preparing for a hurricane and evacuation.

Good neighbors will give time, lend tools and provide advice especially from older neighbors to younger, less experienced homeowners.

Good neighbors are not afraid to call in the authorities when they see something that is not right, that is not normal for their community.

Good neighbors worry about others, not just themselves.

With the world changing all around us–be a good neighbor–the benefits of this are directly felt by yourself.

 

Rights and Responsibility

Rights and Responsibility

With great power comes great responsibility.  Powerful words used in a Spiderman movie.  Powerful words and true words.

The United States is the most powerful country in the world.  Because we are are powerful we must live up to the great responsibilities we have to lead the world by example.

This great nation has the responsibility to establish a more perfect union–we are not perfect but we must continue to strive to be the best.

Our country has the responsibility to establish justice for our citizens, to keep them safe from criminals that would do our society harm.

This nation has the responsibility to insure domestic tranquility–so we can lead ordered and calm lives.

The United States has the responsibility to provide for the common defense to protect us from bad actors from other countries who want to destroy our way of life.

This country has the responsibility to promote the general welfare of our citizenry by encouraging people to educate themselves and provide the necessary services for each other: police, fire, medical, agriculture, education.

Our nation has the responsibility to secure the blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our future generations to have the ability to pursue our God given rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

These are the principles our established government has promised to its citizens–to protect us and our rights.

We the people then, have the power–the government was established by us, for us.

And with that power comes great responsibility.

As citizens we have the responsibility to support and defend the Constitution, respect and obey federal, state, and local laws, respect the rights, beliefs, and opinions of others, participate and stay informed of issues affecting your community, pay income taxes on time, serve on a jury when called upon, defend the country if the need should arise and participate in the democratic process.

As citizens, we are not here to just sit back and receive from the government. That is not the reason we set up our government. We are here to live in a free society in which we have the resources to help ourselves and our communities and the government protects our rights to do so.

As citizens we must participate in the democratic process so we can knowledgeably chose people to represent our best interests–this above all is extremely important.

Use your power–fulfill your responsibility–participate in your democracy!

Early voting opens today!  Go out and vote!

Stand Up

Stand Up

I have always been an advocate of the underdog.  I have never liked situations that are unfair, or unequal or that are set up to do harm to others deliberately.  Name calling, bullying, unfair treatment of those that don’t have the resources to stand up for themselves.

By “resources”, I am not just talking about money. Some people do no have the physical resources, the intellectual resources, the political resources, or the emotional resources to deal with the life circumstances they find themselves in.

And they are being taken advantage of by the exploitation of countries, politicians, education systems, societal pressures and economic threats that push them to make decisions that are not in their best interests–just to serve the wants of the current power structure.

For those who do not know me, let me describe myself a little.  I am a woman, 4′ 11, 124 lbs.  Not large by any means.  As an empty nester, I have reached the beautiful age of 50, so I am not young, but also not old or infirm.  I am a daughter, sister, mother, aunt, and wife.  I am a teacher, a life long learner, an advocate of others. I am a very proud American of hispanic descent.

Those attributes make me stronger not weaker.  I have been attacked and bullied, mostly verbally, at times, because I do not conform to the waves of thought that go through this country from time to time in regards to women’s rights, education, work place politics, gender and ethnicity roles and the larger rights and responsibilities of citizenship.

What people fail to see in me and more importantly, in themselves, is the power they have in their own opinions.  No one has to believe what they are told if they can see something different with their own eyes.  No one has to take at face value that things are right if they feel in their gut that things are wrong. Yet they do, every day, and then are sorry whey they are manipulated, bullied, and taken advantage of.

Here is a list of examples we should all take a hard look at in our own lives and stand up for what we truly believe–whether you are right or wrong.  Find your compass, listen to your gut–not to the thousands of screaming heads we encounter in our daily lives:

  1. The “me too” mentality–we all encounter some sort of sexism in the world during our lives. All of us, at one time or another, men as well as women.  Pick a side, once and for all.  It is up to you–not to the person using sexism as a weapon or to the people around you that have an opinion about it–you. Decide if you want to be a victim and wallow in self pity, never moving forward in your life or decide if you want to stand up for yourself, own it and put it behind you.
  2. Our education system–our education system is broken, it has been for a long time but at the same time forms the backbone for developing our children’s ability to question, study, research and learn.  We cannot blame the system itself if people–you and me–do not stand up and either change it, or if we cannot, then use it for good.  As parents we have the responsibility and the right to teach our children MORE than what they are learning from their books and curriculums in school.  Decide if you want the current powers that be mold the minds of your children or if you want to take the responsibility of building the minds of your children to be critical thinkers.
  3. The wage disparity among men and women.  It may exist.  I don’t really know because I have been able to find and read research on both sides of this argument that sound credible.  Here is what I know.  We live in a wonderful country that lets us choose our line of work.  If you accept a job at a certain amount of compensation for certain duties then that is your choice.  If you feel that you are not being compensated fairly for your work because of your gender–then you have the choice to CHANGE YOUR JOB.  Decide what you want to do with your life and work hard at it, the money will come.
  4. The immigration issue.  I believe in the rights of the underdog.  I always have and I have often stood up for others that cannot stand up for themselves. But I have also always said and lived the fact that “if you are going to do something, do it right.”  There is always a right and wrong way of doing things.  The current immigration situation in our country is a problem of our own making.  We must take care of ourselves–our citizens–FIRST, before we attempt to help citizens of other countries that want to come here. It is the responsibility of other countries to take care of their people FIRST, if they are not doing that–IT IS NOT OUR FAULT or OUR RESPONSIBILITY to make up for their failures. Decide which side of the issue you are on.  If we ruin this country, we will no longer have the power to help the people of other countries.
  5. Our ethnicity and our responsibilities as Americans.  I am proud to be of hispanic descent. I am proud that I am bilingual.  But I am more proud that I am American–that I live in a country in which many cultures can live together and work towards a common goal:  keeping America a free, safe and prosperous nation. That comes first–ALWAYS–before any other consideration of cultural celebrations and traditions, language rights, or family loyalties from other countries. Decide if you really want to be American, and if you are willing to live up to the responsibilities of what that requires.  We all have a choice here.  Decide if you want to not just live in this country but be a PART of it–if not then decide where you would be happier and go there.

It is time to stand up! It is time to decide what you want for you and your family. There is no right or wrong in this decision. There is power in your thoughts and in how you want to live your life.  It is your choice.  Make it!

Don’t be the underdog, stand up for your convictions. Don’t play the victim, the only person that allows victimhood is yourself.  Don’t stop learning because someone told you this is all there is, there is always more. Don’t accept that others are telling you you don’t get paid what you deserve–work harder, Don’t allow others to call you names because you want to protect your country from the problems of the world, take care of your country and let others take care of theirs. Don’t let people view you as a part of a minority when you are in the majority as an American, you give them your POWER when you let them. The world is a beautiful place–Stand up and find your place in it.

Poor Columbus

Poor Columbus

Christopher Columbus has developed a bad reputation over time as an oppressor of people, an abuser of women, the destroyer of a culture.

This story has been slowly transforming the story of Columbus by people who want to influence other people’s opinions about a person who used to be revered as the one person who discovered the American continent which would later become our home.

It seems to me that this is being done, especially, by people with the idea that everyone must fall into some kind of victim status–and as victims, we must have someone to blame.

Worse than blaming poor Columbus–these people and ideas are influencing how the story–or the history–on how Columbus is being taught in schools.

In my childhood we were taught that “in 1492, Christopher Columbus sailed the Ocean blue…”, we were taught that thanks to him, Europeans continued to voyage to the Americas . That eventually led to the 13 Colonies that “soon”–in 1783–with the victory of the American Revolution,  became the United States of America.

Now students are being told that Columbus and his men deliberately killed native peoples, abused their women and stole their gold–by order, of course of the King and Queen of Spain–King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella.

Here are a few truths–as I see them.  Native Americans did die.  The majority died of disease because they were not immune to the viruses that Spaniards brought with them. That is an accident of nature.

They also died from wars, because there were conflicts between the Spanish explorers and the Native Americans. Native Americans, not happy with these new people coming to their lands looking for their gold, attacked them. Spaniards fought back. Many died–on both sides.

Now some Spaniards were also cruel to Natives–who they saw as heathens, because they were not Christian.  Remember these explorations are occurring at the same time that the Spanish Inquisition was occuring in Europe–in which scores of people died for their religious beliefs.

As for the abuses hurled on women by the Spaniards.  Well, as with every century in every land and every culture–there are abuses. Women are abused by men, men are abused by women. This is not a new phenomenon.  This does not make it right–but it certainly was not a new situation, nor is it one which humanity has yet to solve.

These were horrible times in the world–but certainly not the fault of any ONE man.

In hindsight, I think we–as much smarter and humanitarian people of today–should be honest, at least with ourselves, that these new attacks on one person for all the perceived ills on the humanity of the Americas of the 1500s–are ridiculous.

Let the children have a hero in Columbus for doing something good. He was one of the first people from Europe in the Americas.

Keep in mind, if Columbus had not discovered the Americas–certainly someone else would have–and then I’m sure people would be blaming him.

So enjoy Columbus day! Celebrate the courage and innovation of a man and his crew to create progress in their time–so we could enjoy a wonderful country and a day off in ours.

Labor Day

Labor Day

A holiday for the American worker, Labor Day is celebrated to praise the working man –and woman.

It is the unofficial end of summer and a tribute to everyone who works to help keep this great country running.

These are just a few things I am thankful for on this day:

I am thankful that I come from several generations of hard workers, who taught me to have a work ethic.

I am thankful that my husband also has a strong work ethic and always puts his family first.

I am thankful that our daughters are also hard workers.

I am thankful that this is a country in which you can get ahead and live a good life–thanks to the past workers.

So on this Labor Day I want to say Thank You to everyone who puts in an honest days work and help keep America able to celebrate.

Happy Labor Day 2018!

The Loss of Fear

The Loss of Fear

I feel, having reached the ripe age of 50, that I now have a certain amount of experience, knowledge and understanding about how the world works.  I can objectively judge a person’s character and I now have enough time behind me that I can remember how our society was and how far we have come.

One of the things that has evolved–to our detriment–has been the loss of fear.

I’m not talking about the fear of the boogeyman. I am talking about the fear from safety.

Let me explain.  As I was growing up–I had a lot of fears.  I did not see those fears as a bad thing.

I was afraid of strangers–so I never strayed far from my mother and father when in public.

I was afraid of getting sick–so I wore my gloves and my scarf in the cold, an umbrella in the rain.

I was afraid of big dogs–so when I walked home from school with my little sister, I made her cross the street with me so we could avoid the house on the corner with the big german shepherd.

As I got older I was afraid of different things.

I was afraid of failing–so I made sure to study and get the best grades I could–in high school and college.

I was afraid of drugs–so I stayed away from them and anyone that used them–even if it was just “one time”.

I was afraid of being attacked, mugged or abducted–so I made sure to never go out at night by myself.

These fears, to me, were healthy. They kept me safe. And I did not “miss out” on anything.

Kids today, I am finding, have lost their fear.  They are not afraid of vicious animals–they instigate them. They do not take care of their health–often walking through the rain in no hurry to get where they are going, or wearing the inappropriate clothes for the weather.

But worse–they are not afraid of strangers talking to them, calling them or connecting with them on the internet.

They are not afraid of drugs, drug users or drug dealers–seeing it as a right of passage.

They are not afraid of guns or violence often running to see what is happening when a serious situation takes place.

They are not afraid to walk around late at night in the dark by themselves.

This new generation has lost their fear–and with it they have lost their safety.

As a middle aged woman now, my new fear is these young people. Not for what may happen to them because of their lack of fear–but for what may happen to us due to their disregard of actions and decisions that keep us all safe in our community.

The loss of fear is hurting our youth and our society.  The world around us has not changed that much–it is how we choose to view the threats in our world that has changed.  I will chose the healthy fear–every time.

Reinventing The Library

Reinventing The Library

I am a reader and I love books.  I have been reading books for as long as I can remember and I have been a patron of my city library practically all my life, in every city I have ever lived in.

My earliest memory of going to the library to check out books is one of myself at about age 6, walking several blocks to the public library on Belmont Avenue. I remember choosing the books I would read and hugging them to my chest all the way home in anticipation of the stories I would enjoy.

When I had my own children, a trip to the library was an exciting outing–each of us with our own library cards–to choose the next adventure we were to read. Both my girls are readers too.

Over the last 45 years I have continued to borrow books from the library.  But as technology has changed my borrowing habits have changed as well. Now that I have an e reader on my phone and as a separate tablet–all I have to do is  download the app, borrow the book and enjoy it.  I never even have to leave the comfort of my home.

When I have gone to the library for an actual book these days, I have found that it is very empty and understaffed–with staff that is not as knowledgeable as they once were. Also, I found something disturbing.  A library patron, who seemed to be homeless, was bathing herself in the library restroom.

That in itself is a sad situation. For the lady and for others who witnessed it. I am not saying she was unwelcome to use the facilities at the library–but clearly she was not there to check out a book.

So I began thinking of how times have changed and how the original reason for the city or state to provide libraries has now changed as well.

The public library was established to provide all citizens the right to borrow books to read and have a place of sanctuary in which to read them, regardless of income, race, religion or creed as a public service.

Over time the public service expanded to include computers, job search and job training classes, children’s reading sessions and a myriad of other programs for the public good.

And–of course–it is all free to the public.  But–of course,– it isn’t free.  The public library is funded from a portion of homeowner’s property taxes–so it is not a free service at all. We are paying for it.

More and more people are not using the library to check out books and many buildings are lonely.  Each city, is different, but the libraries have changed none the less.

Librarians are not paid a very high wage and in fact, I found after a bit of research that most libraries now have very few full time positions–opting for part time positions in which they do not have to provide benefits for the librarians–who have to have a bachelor’s degree to even be considered for the job.

The hours of the library have also been cut. The library closest to me now is even closed on Sundays when it would actually be the most convenient for me to browse and pick books up.

The libraries in out country seem to be dying.

It is this avid reader’s opinion that perhaps we should reinvent the library.  We should consolidate multiple libraries that exist in the same area to save the money on the upkeep of the buildings and reinvest that money to provide more books in electronic format that can be managed by  less people but provide more availability to the actual patrons that read the books (electronic though they may be.)

Certain libraries can be maintained as the Main Library– in cities in which people can still visit and check out a physical book if they choose–still providing that service.

While it is sad that libraries are dying, what is important is that people–especially children–are still being encouraged to read.  The skill that is needed the most by an informed nation is the ability to read and comprehend–not the physical building in which to house the multitude of books that are being left on the shelf.

I still enjoy searching for authors and books that I might enjoy. I still am eager with anticipation at the start of a new book.  The love of reading has never left me even though the technology has changed. Reinventing the library can keep the flow of the written word alive for many generations to come.

What say you? Should we reinvent the libraries–for the public good–so that they will still provide a service and be of use? Or should we just let them fade away and lose the treasure of being able to have thousands of books (electronic books) at our fingertips?