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Posts Tagged ‘politics’

So yesterday we found out the results to the biggest contest of 2012:

#teamLuau had defeated #teamBecca by a resounding 40 Charity Miles

…well, a closer look at the numbers revealed that maybe the victory was not as resounding as one might think – 604 miles to 564 miles – 51.7% to 48.3%

Hmmm…maybe not such a mandate after all.

***

And so, in the spirit of cooperation and bipartisanship, #teamLuau would like to show the winners and losers of that other contest that was held yesterday how it is done.

Instead of gloating about our victory and making gorilla noises at #teamBecca, #teamLuau would like to offer to split the miles Becca has to run in a gorilla suit – we will take on 20 of those miles.  Obviously logistics (how do we transport the gorilla suit? when? where?) have to be worked out, but one way or the other, we will work together and get this thing done, because in the end, it was never about #teamLuau OR #teamBecca.

It was about you.

It was about you and those whom you love; it was about the children and adults who struggle with autism on a daily basis; it was about doing our small part in making the world a better, more hospitable place for anyone who has ever felt different from others.

Hopefully OUR cooperation can show those guys in Washington that together is always stronger than divided.

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I love my country. This nation of our, despite our issues, is still the greatest in the world; a beacon of hope; a land of opportunity.  Politics have become more partisan in this country, but we still believe in democracy.  We disagree, we debate, we sometimes even raise our voices, but in the end, we go to the voting booths to decide our future instead of picking up pistols and rifles.

It’s okay that we disagree with each other when it comes to national security, women’s health issues, economic responsibility, gay and minority rights, defense spending and so on.  We are a nation of over 300 million people – we are bound to disagree on a lot of things.

Obviously Ann Coulter and I are on different sides of the aisle.  Honestly, I don’t think there is a single thing that I agree with her on and you know what?  That’s okay.  Wherever one is on the political spectrum, that’s okay because we all have the right to have our voice heard, even someone as extreme as Ann.

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But my daughter Brooke is not on the Political Spectrum…she’s on the Autism Spectrum.  I remember struggling when Jess and I had to fill out forms for the Department of Developmental Services, which at the time was called the Department of Mental Retardation.  From the perspective of the State, she falls into that category.

Last night, after the third debate, Ann Coulter tweeted this:

I know that people still use the term “retard” as a slur.  I know that there will always be people who don’t see anything wrong with using the word, and honestly, if you are in the privacy of your own home, I refuse to tell you what you can or cannot say…

…but if you are a high profile pundit; someone who somehow still seems to have sway over those in her party, maybe, just maybe it’s time to stop using playground terms from the 1950’s.

Ann,  I know that there is a whole segment of the population that you don’t care about and that you think are completely wrong.  I get that.  I don’t agree with you, but I get that.  But when you use words like “retard” you are marginalizing and minimizing a whole segment of the population – a population that includes my little girl.

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Jess is always saying that we need to just ignore Ann Coulter when she makes these kinds of statements – that this is what she feeds off of; the negative response – almost like some weird demon creature that feeds off of negative human energy.  For a very long time I have disagreed with her (Jess) because I feel it’s important to engage those that disagree with your world view.  But this is not the first time Ann has used the word “retard” and based on her past behavior I can’t imagine that it will be her last.  Maybe, just maybe it’s time to completely ignore her.  There was a flood of negative response the last time she tweeted “retard” and it didn’t seem to have any effect on her.  I was one of the thousands that tweeted back at her condemning the tweet.  Here I am writing a post (believe me, I see the irony), but after this I am done, and I hope you are too.

What’s the most powerful thing you can do to stop someone who obviously craves the spotlight and will do anything to get in it?

Ignore her.

If we don’t respond, then she has nothing to feed on.  If we don’t respond, she doesn’t get the satisfaction.  No doubt, she will crank it up several notches to get our attention (extinction burst anyone?), but we must hold firm and simply ignore Ann’s desperate cries for attention, because in the end, that will be the only thing she understands.

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I have this friend on Twitter – well, to actually say we are friends might be a little weird considering that we have never met.  We are also very different in our world views (though probably not as different as our politicians and media would like us to believe).

He is Red.  I am Blue.

He is voting for Romney.  I am voting for Obama.

Our views on domestic, foreign and social policy fall on the Right and Left side of the aisle respectively.

There is very little that he and I agree on.

However, were I ever to come face to face with this Twitter friend, I would probably hug him like a long lost sibling.  I guarantee that we would find the closest bar and share many beers while we debate politics and both laugh and cry together at the state of today’s government (well, maybe he would laugh while I cry and I would laugh while he cries).  At the end of the evening we would shake hands heartily, exchange a warm hug and be on our ways back to Red and Blue land.

How is this even possible?  How is that when our Congress(wo)men shout at each other instead of talking to each other, when we see protestors getting violent with each other on TV, when we have finger pointing but no accountability on either side that I am so sure this Twitter friend and I would get along just fine?

Because we are both runners – long distance, minimalist runners.  We are living proof of people who, in his words, get “the most rewarding parts of running – camaraderie and self improvement”.

We have a bond that crosses time, politics, gender and religion.  Is long-distance running stronger than those topics?  No, but it allows us realize and understand that despite our differences, we are one people; that, in the words Bill Clinton spoke so eloquently last, “we are all in it together”.

This is one of the many reasons I love running, particularly long-distance running.  The long distance running community doesn’t care if you are Red or Blue, it doesn’t care if you are fast or slow, it doesn’t care what your race, religion or gender are.  The community simply asks, do you run? Great!  Then you are part of us.

Which is why it saddens me so much to read about a guy like Kip Litton.  You can read an article on him in the New Yorker —>HERE<—-.  I’m warning you now, the story is absolutely fascinating and hard to put down once started.  In a nutshell, Litton is a marathoner who has cheated his way onto the podium with supposed sub-3:00 times in countless marathons (including three I raced in) all in the name of raising funds for his youngest child, who had cystic fibrosis.  In reading the article and exploring the links in the story, despite being angry at Litton, I can’t help but feel some sadness as well.

On my Facebook page I poked fun at Paul Ryan for misclaiming (I don’t think that’s actually a word) that he had run a 2:50 something marathon.  I have to admit, as a veteran of 10 marathons with a personal best of 3:19, I was a little miffed.  It was almost as is he were taking the accomplishment of running 26.2 miles lightly.  The truth is, Paul Ryan has run one marathon – one that he may not have even trained seriously for.  He could very easily fall into the category of people who tell me, “oh, you missed qualifying for Boston by 8 minutes?  I’m sure you’ll get it in the next one, no problem!  I mean really, what’s 8 minutes out of three and half hours?” not realizing the magnitude of improving my pace by over 18 seconds per mile for 26.2 miles.  Paul Ryan may be a fitness buff, but unless he’s competing in road races on a regular basis, it’s quite possible he had no clue about what he was saying.  Like I said, I was miffed at Ryan, but in the end, it really didn’t matter – plus, I already was not voting for him based on his stance on social issues (a topic for another day and my other blog – http://luau2012.wordpress.com/)

But Litton is a different animal.  Here is a guy who pathologically has cheated in marathon after marathon, denied any wrongdoing and completely missing the point of training and running these races.  As my Red Twitter friend stated, the point of running, particularly longer distances, is the camaraderie and self-improvement.  I would add one more thing – it’s about self-discovery – finding out just what you can accomplish with hard work.  Ultimately, when you run a marathon or ultra-marathon, you are really only racing against, and for, one person – yourself; that same person that you go to bed with every night and wake up with and look in the mirror at every morning.  When I ran my 3:19:19 at Smuttynose in 2010, I looked in the mirror the next morning knowing I had accomplished something I had never done before.  I then looked at the various pictures of me running with friends, both old and just made during the race and celebrating with them afterward.

Camaraderie, self-improvement, self-discovery.

How does Kip Litton look in the mirror in the morning without looking at his own reflection with disappointment and disgust?  and then how does he face those he may run with?

The mystery remains as to how Litton was able to cheat his way to his string of sub-3:00 marathons.  We may never know exactly how he did it.  He is, if nothing else, a great magician of the road.

But he will never understand the true joy that running can bring if you simply run YOUR best – the joy of friends, the joy of making oneself better, the joy of breaking through barriers.

***turns out that this type of behavior may not be unique to Litton – my buddy MK has pointed out a few incidences where others have been caught cheating.  Here’s a video clip of a guy pretty much caught yet STILL denying any wrongdoing:

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It’s all over the radio now.  Whether I’m listening to Sports Radio or Talk Radio or even NPR or the local oldies station, everyone is talking about Jerry Sandusky, his horrific crimes, the mind blowing cover up by Joe Paterno and the Penn State administration and what should happen to Penn State’s football program now that the truth has crept into the light of day.

People are arguing back and forth.  There’s the side that believes the people directly responsible (Sandusky, Joe Paterno and certain administrators) have been removed and with the possibility of criminal charges being brought against the former President of Penn State the story should be over.  The other side believes that Penn State should suffer the NCAA’s “Death Penalty”, essentially taking away the football program for two to five years.  Those who believe that the removal of guilty parties is enough punishment argue that the death penalty would recklessly harm local businesses and unfairly punish the students in the football program.

I would suggest a third, and far more punitive measure – kill ALL sports programs at Penn State for a minimum of the number of years that Jerry Sandusky did the heinous things he did, at which point the NCAA could review what Penn State had done to make sure something like this never happened again…anywhere.  This extreme punishment is not meant to solely punish the school, but to act as a deterrent for other schools considering turning a blind eye to abuse.

Some would argue that the football program should continue and that a large portion of the revenue from those games should then be given to programs that work to help abused children and/or prevent it.  That to me is letting the school take the easy way out.  If you are going to take a cut of revenue from a school as a punishment, it must hurt.  I would argue that whether the football program survives or not is a moot point.  The school should still make a hefty, painful donation to the the families that put their trust in Sandusky and Joe Pa and establish endowments for prevention programs.

The punishment that Penn State faces should make every University and College President think twice and then a third and fourth time when confronted with choosing between doing the right thing and choosing dollar signs.

In all likelihood, Penn State will get off with a slap on the wrist and somewhere out there in the land of the NCAA, there will be Administrators and Coaches breathing a deep sigh of relief…and another child will be abused; another young woman will be raped; another man will learn that money trumps justice.

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So by now you may have heard about the woman in California that is suing McDonald’s for “getting into the heads of her children”.   She says that McDonald’s knowingly makes it hard for her to say “no” to her kids by including a toy in their, what I read one person call “Shut Up in a Box”, Happy Meals.

The Right is up in arms. This is the Left and Liberalism run amok! And you know what? I have to agree.  Let me state here that I am a card-carrying member of the left side of the aisle.  I believe in social progressiveness.  I believe that big government can work.  I believe in welfare and Medicaid.  I believe it is the government’s job to help make us a better society.  I believe the very rich should pay higher taxes.  I believe in spreading the wealth.  I used to like John McCain before he went crazy.   I think Michelle Bachmann is an entertaining, dangerous nutjob.  I believe Sarah Palin is just plain dangerous.

But this woman, this Monet Parham is giving me agita.  It is people like her that give the rest of us on the left a bad name.

I am not very political.  I generally keep my politics to myself.  I’m with Jon Stewart, who believes that the extreme 15% at each end of the political spectrum has taken over the system, while the “middle of the road” 70-80% of us are busy with our every day lives.

Monet,

Are you really serious about suing McDonald’s because you’re tired of saying “No” to your kids when they ask for McDonald’s? Seriously? Really?  I’ve seen parents like you.  The ones that just can’t say no because then their kids will cry.  You deserved to have your parent-card revoked.  Someone should call DSS and have you’re children taken into foster care.  You know what happens to those kids who never hear “no” ?  They become brats who walk around with a sense of entitlement and then can’t figure out why the real world doesn’t cater to their every need when they are grown-ups.  You ought to be ashamed of yourself.  McDonald’s doesn’t advertise themselves as a health food restaurant.  They advertise themselves as a fast food restaurant.  It’s not meant for daily consumption darlin’.  You think they have a moral obligation to produce a healthier product?  How about YOUR moral obligation to raise your kids properly?  To teach them proper nutrition? To teach them restraint and moderation?  To teach them about wants vs. needs?  Fast food is not the enemy.  Refusal to take on personal responsibility is.  McDonald’s isn’t good for you?  Guess what, Monet?  WE ALL KNOW THAT!!!

This is one of the few time that I find myself in agreement with the likes of Michael Graham and Jay Severin, and that really ticks me off.  The truth is the food at McDonald’s sucks…but it tastes so good!  It’s salty, it’s fatty, it’s all the things that aren’t good for you in large quantities.  That’s why in our family we tend NOT to eat it more than once, maybe twice a month.  That doesn’t stop the kids from asking for it every time we drive by a McDonald’s.  That’s their job.  They’re kids.

An amazing thing happens though 95% of the time we drive by one.  I say no and we move on.  This may seem magical and mystical to you Monet, but you might want to establish who the boss is in your house.  The problem today is not the soulless corporations; it’s the parents who are unwilling to be the hard-ass at home.  It’s the parents unwilling to say “No’ or the ones who deliver empty threats – the ones that say, “if you do that again there’s going to be a consequence,” and then when the child does it again, the parent simply shrugs his/her shoulders and says, “what can I do?”

What can you do, Monet?  Stop whining and be the parent!

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