Your Hidden Gifts.

My parents met post World War II while big band, dance halls and supper clubs were still the rage. I don’t have many stories of those times but the band names they referred to were the likes of Duke Ellington, Tommy Dorsey, the Glen Miller Band, minus Glen Miller by that time, and the like. I think they actually met at an up and coming band leader Lawrence Welk gig. My dad claimed to not care for Lawrence Welk very much but you’d never know it from the hours of Saturday night time our television was dedicated to his TV program. My dad, while not a musician, shared his love of music with his kids. He encouraged us all to play an instrument but forgot to provide the gene pool. That’s OK. We are all proficient at volume control and tone settings on our music playback machines and my kids would tell you it’s rare to not hear music in our home if I’m in the house. I’m grateful for his gift of music appreciation. It provides a richness to my life I can’t imagine doing without.
Both of my parents are gone now. My main Pandora station is img_4813lightly mixed with music from their era. Every time a Sinatra, Miller or Dorsey song graces my playlist I have fond memories of growing up. Music transcends time and space in a special heartwarming way some times. I was born in 1960 and in the early years of my life a few dinner clubs were still around. The Colony Club sat high on a wooded hill in central Waterloo, Iowa. On special occasions I remember getting dressed up and joining my parents on “date night.” That’s how they did it. I could maybe count on one hand the times my parents went out and left us with a baby sitter. Maybe that’s why it’s so hard to get rid of me to this day. I never learned what it was like to be excluded. I always just assume I belong wherever I happen to be.
The Colony Club was a candle lit fine dining establishment with tables surrounding a large hardwood dance floor that was edged by a large stage capable of holding twenty-five or better musicians. By the time I got to hear the bands play at The Colony Club I would imagine few had ever played with the great leaders bearing their name. I don’t suppose that mattered much to my parents much because they always seemed to get lost in the music. And that’s the funny thing. I always thought of my parents as the straight and narrow Ward and June Cleaver types. They were modest, practical and reverent… Until they hit the dance floor. Clayton and Anita would transform into something unrecognizable. Upon taking the floor they bestowed an elegance and grace that could only be capable if gravity did not apply to them. I’m talking Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers grace. In the event you think I exaggerate I’ll tell you, I thought long and hard and decided that is the best way to describe what I saw. I was always in awe of them, of the love they had for one another. What I wouldn’t give to see them dance once more.
We all have hidden little surprises stored away in our gifts and talents. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could go through our lives in such a way that people would share that with us. Wouldn’t it be grand if we felt safe enough to share our gifts with others. What’s your hidden talent? Would you care to share?

Trump Support Remains Steady

Are you dumbfounded as to how Donald Trump can possibly maintain the support of his white working class voters? He has. As we watch Trump’s cabinet picks line up to dismantle nearly every institution that safeguards American exceptionalism we keep waiting for the Trump voter to be “woke”. I’m not going to bullet point how the repeal of the ACA disproportionally harms his base or how diverting money from public schools to for-profit tuition based enterprises will disadvantage their children. IMG_0074There is no need to itemize the cost of selling out clean air and water in favor of heavy industry profits. I needn’t explain how the planetary destabilization that has occurred as the light of Lady Liberty has been extinguished to hopeful and desperate refugees around the world. The setbacks to our sense of justice, human rights and income disparity are alarming. The details of such are readily available on every news feed.

Progressive thinkers are mind blown that the expectation of the Trump administration’s fall from grace hasn’t happened. I don’t think it will. Our political ideologies are too entrenched. Conservative media consumers have been conditioned to think the essence of their condition are the fault of a society built with the underlying belief that equal opportunity must abound. Without government intervention an individual stands little chance of striving toward the American dream if it conflicts with powerful interests or the homogenous values which they find themselves separated. We are ships that have long since passed in the night.

But what is it really that holds such a tight grip on those who want to make America great again? What drives those who seem incapable of accepting that the strength and beauty of diversity and inclusion includes them? How do they not recognize that regulations are necessary because capitalism is an economic system, not a values system? How is it that so many are willing to throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater because policies protecting some don’t align perfectly with their values? Before we can address the current conservative ideology we need to first consider how unwilling many Trump voters really are to engage with us and consider our point of view. When you read the comments on news feeds, visit social media or listen to call in shows one thing is clear. Many Trump voters are so thrilled that liberals find themselves in anguish that they can’t even begin to consider what the dismantling of the protections and safety nets our government afford will mean to them.

When we are reminded elections matter, oh do we know it, or are told to quit whining and move on we need to consider how our message is being heard. Trump voters are ecstatic with their victory and presumption that it was a rejection of liberal ideals. They should be happy they won. They are fools to assume the latter. Regardless of the challenges we face in the coming years we must persist in confidence that all that we stand for supports a better world for all of us, including our political rivals. They don’t have to ever say it but I hope one day they will appreciate it.

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