Striking a Positive Balance

It’s important for all of us to find a positive balance in our civic engagement and our lives. I hope you’ll check out the the essay I posted over at Medium today, Striking a Positive Balance: Political Self-Help in the Age of Trump.

UPDATE 4/1:  My essay has been published at The Daily Beast. (I sent it to them before I posted it on Medium…didn’t think they were going to run it, so I went ahead on Medium. Anyway, it’s both places!)

There is so much division and fighting in politics today, and all of that negativity isn’t good for us as a country or as individuals. I know, first hand. In my book, NO HOPE: Why I Left the GOP (and You Should Too), I wrote about my experience in politics. I described what I was thinking and how my political thought evolved through that experience. What I didn’t write about then is the negative effects that my being totally consumed by the negativity of the political fight had on me personally, emotionally, physically, and materially. My essay today is the first time I’ve talked about those things, and how I set out to change my life and the way I engage in my civic participation.

I’m going to be writing and speaking out more about the need for all of us to strike a positive balance in our activism, humanitarianism, personal enrichment, and diverse ways to help people and change the world. Stay tuned…..

In the meantime, I hope you’ll read what I wrote today. AND at The Daily Beast.

The Red Cross

Most of you know that I spent a lot of my life working as a professional activist and political strategist. I still do a fair amount of political work, but my personal and professional life is more diverse now.

My motivation in politics has always been to help people and make our country better. I haven’t always felt like I was accomplishing that while being engaged in the never-ending political fight. I have sometimes lost sight of the fact that not all of the answers can be found with government and realized in the political arena. That’s kind of hard to remember when you get completely consumed by the political fighting!

I’ve decided that if my goals are really to help people and make our country better, then I should look for diverse ways to do that, in addition to engaging in politics. So I recently signed up to be a Red Cross volunteer! Nobody does more to help people who need it than the American Red Cross. I haven’t even done any training yet. I have just signed up and gone through the background check, but I’m excited to get started!  Continue reading “The Red Cross”

I’m a Keeper

My top bar beehive!

I spent some time this winter making an art project to put in the garden this spring. It’s a top bar beehive that will house a new colony of honeybees that I’m getting later this month. I’m so excited to become a beekeeper!

In preparation for the bees, I’ve been studying about them and how they work together to build and manage their hive. While doing my bee research, I read Thomas D. Seeley’s book Honeybee Democracy. Seeley is a professor at Cornell University who has devoted his life to studying honeybees, more specifically, he’s studied the way a swarm of bees democratically decides where to locate their hives. It’s just fascinating.  Continue reading “I’m a Keeper”

What Wikileaks Confirms for Us Outsiders and What We Can Do About It

While we should doubt the authenticity of some of John Podesta’s emails that were stolen by the Russian government and leaked by Wikileaks, we have learned a lot about what goes on behind the scenes in Clinton-world from them. This week’s story about Clinton insider Doug Band and “Bill Clinton Inc” confirmed for political outsiders something that we have always known. The political and economic elite work to enrich themselves and their friends.

I’ve never met Doug Band, but I suspect he’s like most insiders who have made it in the establishment system. I’m sure he’s never had an original thought or idea, but he knows the right people. He’s an inside the box thinker who plays by all the rules, and kisses all the right asses. He’s the embodiment of what most Americans hate about the political and economic system.

The Doug Band story will hurt the Clintons politically because all politics is personal, and the story really hits home of a lot of us outsiders. It’s personal for us because we know that well-connected people like Band rake in millions, while the rest of us struggle for survival. The story reminds us of the barriers that slam us every day in our quest for the American Dream. We are reminded of all the unreturned phone calls and emails, and all the job applications that aren’t even acknowledged. It reminds us of our desperate search for a break that seems like it will never come. The story reinforces our belief that only those in “the club” will ever succeed in this country.  Continue reading “What Wikileaks Confirms for Us Outsiders and What We Can Do About It”