Posted in Politics, SocialMedia, Uncategorized

State of the Nation: Public Service, Politics and Social Media

Regardless of your personality type, religious background, nationality, gender, sexual preference, political leaning or income level, you are first a human being.  If you’re in this country, benefiting from a democratically organized and administered society (legally or undocumented) … you are still a human first–deserving of respect!

humanrights-tweet

As a citizen, defined by Merriam-Webster as:  “a native or naturalized person who owes allegiance to a government and is entitled to protection from it”, there is an inherent obligation by each citizen to be a loyal participant of that society, its laws, and the practices of administering it’s “govern”-ment.  Government is defined as:  “a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections.”  Our system is set up to allow both federally through elections, and locally through legislatures, councils, boards, and committees.

It is unfortunate how few people vote in our country when so much is at stake.  What I find even more appalling is how many people choose to get their information for decision-making from unsupported claims posted on social media outlets, hot-heads on talk-radio, and biased daily news shows.

How can YOU participate and be an active contributing citizen of our society?

Before new Federal laws are implemented, they are posted for public review and comment by anyone with access to a web browser (which is everyone, because public libraries have computer labs.)  If you’ve never visited the site–it can be found at https://www.federalregister.gov/   No excuses for any of us to complain that we never had a say (for or against) legislation that has become law.

Every state has a website to make public the issues and legislation being proposed.  In my own state that site is:  http://nebraskalegislature.gov/  Google your state name and the word Legislature to find your state government’s administrative resources.  My state has a link to live-streaming of legislative sessions.  You can search for your congress or senate representatives, schedule an appointment to take a tour, view the legislative calendar, view past transcripts,  or find telephone numbers to speak with your representatives.

Of course there is always traditional media (Fox, CNN, MSNBC, BBCNews and the other major news networks) to help you evaluate elected officials backgrounds and attempt understanding the issues being discussed.  But as you may realize, there is a LOT of spin on what is being presented as “truth” (sound bites pieced together to lead you to believe something shocking–yet totally out of context).  You also should not be duped into believing everything you read.  If you want to be an informed citizen and vote by fact, not feeling…here are a couple of other sites you might consider:

https://www.govtrack.us/ (Federal)
http://www.voterinformation.org/ (Nebraska local) – Your state may have a similar site.

November 8th is right around the corner.  Depending upon what news you read, you just might believe that the world is going to hell in a hand basket.  There is a lot wrong in our government, but it is still a lot better than most governments.  There is always room for improvement, but it requires we be engaged, aware, involved, actively participating in this democracy.

Just because you hopefully voted during the last election cycle does not mean your job as a citizen is done.  You must observe your government in action and participate in this democracy to make it work for you.  If you don’t approve of local, state or federal decisions, use the processes put in place for you to engage and make your voice heard.  The links provided in this post are a starting point.

If you do not like the current state of government at the state or federal level, you have a right…no, a responsibility, to get involved and contribute.  Regardless of what you think of her, Elizabeth Warren said it best, “a constitution does not sustain itself.”  Prove your loyalty to this great nation, educate yourself and get involved.

Posted in Politics, Relationships, Wellness

Six P’s to Ponder for 2015

Happy New Year 2015 thoughts to share across the globe.  Thanks to technology, this message can be shared to my social network which spans every continent and has the ability to touch every demographic.  I thank you for reading and hope you will pass this message to others.

Purpose

For everything we do, there should be a valid need and reason (joy, entertainment, education, aid & assistance, growth, advancement, etc.) …. that doesn’t undo other great and necessary efforts already decided as priorities by people with experience and talent at providing solutions to human need.

Politics

Red, blue, black or white, rich or poor, famous or unknown, sick or well, disabled or fortunate all of our governments have a responsibility to the people who are being served or governed.  In our policy making and choices for the many, let us remember that “the people” are made up of individuals and every one of us matters.

Peace

In the 21st Century, we have greater access to advanced technology, medicine, science, knowledge, and power … is it possible that we might learn to use our vast resources for the betterment of the most common requirements of all humanity in Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs that is true of all human kind regardless of country, status, power or position?   — guarantee equal rights to health and safety for all ethnicities and gender?  There is enough suffering life offers in our lifetimes, why should humanity foist deliberate suffering to any its members?

Patience

With age comes wisdom, or so it should … we should all remember, it is often our human created systems that fail us.  Author Jeff Sutherland tells us that “If we can blame someone else, we insulate ourselves from the possibility that we’d do the same thing. [make a mistake, do wrong, cause harm, be neglectful]”  There’s plenty of blame to go around, we should accept responsibility that is our own and try our best to remember life is a marathon, not a sprint … in our busy-ness lets look out for our neighbors and show concern, compassion, respect and kindness–be of help to others.

Practice

…what we preach … all of us are guilty, all of us are hypocrites to some extent (do as I say, not as I do).  Becoming a better person; changing a culture; replacing bad habits with new and better ones or strengthening our communities takes a conscious effort and much practice.  Concern, compassion, respect and kindness all require practice to improve…similar to the efforts of great athletes, musicians, inventors, painters and parents.  Let us find ways to encourage each other; to practice becoming better stewards.  We are all architects … of time, is what we are building going to last?

Pride

If something is worth doing, its worth doing it right…I know you’ve heard that before.  Let us not rush to failure.  Let us remember that daily we are building the reality we are subject to.  If we do not like what we see, hear, see, experience … there is opportunity for us to improve our product, our process, our speech, our results–the consequences.  In everything you do, take pride in your effort as though it is the last effort you will exert on this planet–how do you want your contributions to be remembered?

Thank you again for reading and I wish you much success in 2015!

Posted in Education, Politics, SocialMedia, Technology, Wellness

What Would I Chance if I Could Not Fail?

An acquaintance on social media asked me “what would I chance if I knew I would not [fail] fall?” Here’s my response…

– Do away with the two-party system (Republicans/Democrats)

— Require that elected representatives vote their conscience, instead of a corporate/party position

— Return power and decision making to municipalities and states; but include states in setting, planning, and achieving nationally voted priorities and objectives

– Develop and fund a national & global vision for medical and space research

– Find ways to reduce the cost of medical care (comparable case study~SpaceX vs $huttle program)

– Eliminate hunger and homelessness!

– Immediate removal from power/control any national leader who inflicts pain, injury or death to their people

– Re-market the care, availability and necessity of treatment for those suffering from mental health issues

– Reform education in all aspects: costs, management, delivery, consumption options

– Draw a line in the sand regarding energy reform to invest in the protection of our planet at all cost

That’s what came to mind as I thought over the question…. I know it doesn’t sound personal…but to live in a world managed by the conditions above would make me truly feel safe, happy and proud of our humanity.

Cheers

Posted in Education, Politics, SocialMedia, Technology

Social Media in Healthcare and Local Government

Sharing the latest article I wrote for my Master’s in Public Administration course work at Bellevue University.  Check out the Healthcare Hashtag Project (link in references below).

This post offers a brief summary of an article found using the Elton B. Stephens Company (EBSCO) database on the use of electronic communications to serve clients of the healthcare industry.

Today’s technology allows many opportunities for patient-centered care.  Email, text messaging, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter offer today’s nurses a chance to modernize healthcare practitioner methods of patient interaction.  The article cites a Pew Research Center study reporting 85% of American’s are online, and 55% of these people are using mobile devices (Weaver, Lindsay, Gitelman, 2012).  These statistics suggest a public ready for new methods of interacting with healthcare providers.

Using modern communication technologies, nurses can educate the public about four changeable behaviors, identified by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), as negatively affecting the health of Americans:

  • Lack of Exercise
  • Poor Nutrition
  • Tobacco Use
  • Excessive Alcohol Consumption

Nurses are in the best position to use technology to improve the health and communications practices between healthcare providers and patients.  “Experience suggests that nursing leaders–and those who discover they can lead in this way–will seek the opportunities and efficiencies that electronic connections afford both their patients and them (Weaver, Lindsay, Gitelman, 2012).”  If nurses are in the best position to use technology in modernizing healthcare service delivery, could these same practices be applied to public administration?

City governments have access to the same no-cost solutions as other for-profit organizations.  YouTube and other social media offers free platforms for broadcasting and disseminating local government activities.  A quick search for local municipalities’ use of technology proves there is still a lot of room for improvement by our local governments.  The City of Papillion is a great example of a local government instituting best practices using electronic communication.

Papillion City Happenings YouTube Video
Papillion City Happenings YouTube Video

To remain relevant as a governing body, public administration must follow communication methods of the people governed.  “If conversation norms govern how often we talk and with whom, there are other structures that govern what we talk about and how we talk about it, not only in conversations but also in media and other communication modes (Gastil, 2008, p. 226).”

References:

City of Papillion. (n.d.). Retrieved November 30, 2013, from
https://www.facebook.com/CityofPapillion

City of Papillion. (n.d.). Retrieved November 30, 2013, from https://twitter.com/CityofPapillion

Gastil, J. (2008). Political communication and deliberation. Thousand Oaks, CA:
Sage Publications, Inc.

Papillion City Council for November 19, 2013 [Video file]. (2013, November 20).
Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/
watch?v=H6eRVtopGiY&feature=share&list=UUJtw2GjLfFIAueHjKT-1rdA

The healthcare hashtag project. (n.d.). Retrieved November 30, 2013, from
http://www.symplur.com/healthcare-hashtags/

Weaver, B., Lindsay, B., & Gitelman, B. (2012). Communication technology and
social media: Opportunities and implications for healthcare systems.
Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 17(3). http://dx.doi.org/10.3912/
OJIN.Vol17No03Man03

Posted in Education, Politics, Writing

Conversation with Congressman Lee Terry

Yesterday I was fortunate enough that my boss reminded me that Congressman Lee Terry was going to be at Petrow’s on 60th & Center for a couple of hours to mix and mingle with constituents.  These small morning gatherings at area restaurants and coffee houses give a more intimate, one-on-one opportunity for the public to express concerns and ask questions.

Congressman Lee Terry
Congressman Lee Terry

Since our daughter Megan has been following national politics and showed interest for the last three Presidential elections I asked if she’d be interested in attending.  Megan and I arrived at 8:15 and Congressman Lee Terry and a companion of his was already seated and deep in discussion with a few locals.  Megan and I were seated several tables away from his group so we took our menus and ordered breakfast.  A short time later, my boss and his wife arrived.  By this time several locals had arrived and pulled up chairs around the table where Congressman Terry was seated.

My boss and his wife engaged us in conversation about public education and some challenges presented in today’s academic environment.  The restaurant was getting crowded with the typical morning breakfast crowd.  In particular, I noticed an entire table of individuals signing!  I have always loved sign language~more about that later.  Channel 7 News arrived and video taped several minutes of conversation with the constituents at the table.  After they stopped filming and left, my boss suggested that if we wanted a chance to talk we just had to go up to the table and introduce ourselves.

Megan and I approached his table, he noticed us approaching and stood up, shook our hands and asked where we were from.  We had a seat at the nearest table and began talking.  She informed him that she is 17 years old and educated at home.  Megan specifically had two questions she wanted to ask.

The first question:  She was wondering what it was going to take to get more Congressional members working in a bipartisan manner.  He acknowledged that it would be best–and the American people were wanting more cooperation between Republicans and Democrats.  He stated that it was why he isn’t always popular because he does make it a point to try his best to “work across the isle.”

Her second question was about education and “why the strong emphasis on math and science; what about the arts?”  He shared with Megan “to be honest, I wasn’t the greatest in math either.”  He stated that in order to get most jobs in today’s economy you had to have good math and science skills.  He said that several of the people sitting at his table were from all over the local area–one individual owned a factory where there were 60 job vacancies!  There just aren’t enough skilled people to fill the jobs. I shared with him that I worked at Offutt AFB and he asked if I was going to be affected by the furlough.  I stated that I would be.  He said “We’re trying to arrange it so there isn’t a furlough!”  I shared that if we all were able to reduce, reuse, recycle, make simple….and that if there were more collaboration among agencies, perhaps we could work smarter with fewer resources!  He wondered what Megan’s plans were after graduation and she said she’s was still trying to figure that out.

Megan is a typical 17 year old who’s still searching for what she wants to do with her life.   She has many passions, interests and skills–she just doesn’t know yet what she wants to do with them.  She’s taken Latin, and is learning Spanish and Gaelic.  She’s a great musician ~ loves to sing, plays piano.  She has also rewritten the book, “The Picture of Dorian Gray.”  She decided she wanted a better outcome for Dorian and several years ago began her first draft.  She is on her third and final draft now.  Congressman Terry encouraged her to pursue her interest in writing.  He said, “I tell high school kids “You know what they call the best writer and speaker? — Boss!””  He said no matter what you do in life, you’ll be a success if you are able to write and speak well.

The companion with Congressman Terry stopped by and gave Megan Lee Terry’s business card and an information sheet with more information about the Congressional office.  He also encouraged her to go to the Congressman’s website and sign up for the Congressional Medal of Honor–a really big deal for a young person to be able to add to their resume!  He also promised that if we wanted, on his way out Terry would pose for a photo with her.  About a half hour later, Congressman Terry had to depart and I was able to snap this photo:

Megan and Congressman TerryIt was a great opportunity to meet one of our elected officials in a relaxed environment and have the chance to ask candid question and converse person to person.  If you are interested in an encounter of this sort you can learn when and where his next coffee conversations will be, just navigate to Congressman Lee Terry’s website and look at his Facebook posts.

On our way out, we had the chance to stop and visit with the remain people at the table where I noticed individuals signing and met a wonderful man named Joe and his friend/interpreter Monica.  They are attendees at the Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception.  It was a gathering of people who used to belong to a bible study.

All in all, a great way to begin the weekend!

 

Related articles

Posted in Education, Politics, SocialMedia, Writing

Angst of Perspective

In this post I’ve decided to share several thoughts that have come into my head that I’ve only shared via Twitter….with a little explanation about what prompted the tweets!  Some bloggers aren’t Tweeters & many Tweeters aren’t bloggers…so I want to share with both communities!

Tweeted 17 Sep 12:  In the end…it truly is about perspective! With a change of view the worst can have value & disappointment can mean relief! #GlassHalfFull

This tweet came after hearing how my wife’s day went.  One of our twin daughters (Madeleine) is struggling with accepting the requirements and demands of high school and college curriculum.  Even though at 17 years old she’s figured everything out concerning the rest of her life for a career, there are things she must accept are steps that must be taken to get to her destination.  As my wife says, you cannot know in this moment at what point in your future you may borrow from what you learn today.

Tweeted 16 Sep 12:  Part of life’s journey includes sometimes feeling/being lost…it’s in the absence of knowing that we are truly free to explore.

My other twin daughter (Megan) thought she had all of her future figured out as far as college/career.  Within the last several months however, she’s come to a place where she realizes there are several other things that passionately interest her.  She had a dream that she relayed to me on Sunday that she had last week about “trying to find her home” because she was lost.  The man in her dream didn’t give her the answers but extended a hand to her after she finished sobbing at his feet.  I asked her what she thought it meant.  She stated that maybe he was telling her that it was okay to “be lost.”

Tweeted 16 Sep 12:  Life abhors incongruence…dissonance is tolerated as long as there is movement toward eventual harmony! #OrderFromChaos

I was thinking about the teacher’s strike in Chicago, the anti-American sentiment over the poor-taste film that’s stirred the ire of Muslims, conflicts in the workplace, and disputes in families.  The goal of many in Psychology disciplines will try to help troubled individuals gain a healthy perspective on your unique situation.  Counselors and mediators in the workplace will listen to both sides of a story and try to facilitate resolution.  No matter the issue…when actions and attitudes become destructive, somehow both sides desire closure–even though the goal for each is toward their own advantage.  When two opposites disagree…as long as discussions are the agreed upon approach, the tempers can be kept in check, when both parties believe there will be some positive outcome from their perspective as long as they willingly participate.  These predictive behaviors is what makes psychology an art/science…defined, repeatable behaviors.  In nature, similar repeating patterns occur…often a natural resolve toward harmony or something that looks as though an artist intentionally created the beauty…Fractals (patterns on a window pane during frosty nights) are the example that come to mind.

Tweeted 2 Sep 12:  Hate is easy, lazy, & destructive!–there’s quite enough in this world. Spread a little love–find a worthy cause & give of yourself!  

Was just thinking about all the mud-slinging going on in the media about the opponents in the Presidential Campaign!  The extremes of opinions and positions on critical issues facing our nation requires us to be a team to solve them.  Blathering on and on or mindlessly forwarding, sharing or reposting political crap on social media platforms does little more than annoy those who don’t agree with the shared opinion/sketch.  This is NOT helpful or productive.  If you really care about the future of our free nation, you’ll actually find legitimate news sources, do your research and vote the best man or woman for the job–PERSON NOT PARTY!  After all, primarily the person who does get elected has a limited influence in what actually happens in our reality.  It is the Congress and the Senate who make the majority of the decisions (on our behalf) that we have to live with and complain about.  So if you’re unhappy…don’t blame the man (or woman) who’s hair upon leaving office will be ten shades of white paler than when entering office…..blame yourself!  YOU HAVE A VOICE and a RIGHT/OBLIGATION to participate in this democratic form of government.  Our republic depends upon you!  Your job isn’t finished when you fill in the circles on the ballot.  Pick up the phone, write a letter, join a campaign effort, or run for office yourself!  At the very least…time spent tearing other people down is time wasted.  Be a part of the solution to problems and challenges.  There are plenty of charities, shelters, and fundraising efforts going on that could use your time and energy toward greater purposes.

Posted in Education, Politics

Cavalier Arrogance ~ GOP

English: Andrew Jackson.
Image via Wikipedia

There’s only one sentence appropriate to introduce this posting:  I’m angry, sad, and embarrassed!

Someone must have forgotten that television is a world-wide accessible medium for communications.  Last night was an embarrassment to our nation, a ridicule of the Office of the President, and extremely juvenile display of testosterone!  It is a shameful thing to proclaim oneself as the “appropriate choice” to lead this nation, founded on virtues, morals, and liberty when one can allow these words to fall out of one’s mouth:   “Andrew Jackson had a pretty clear cut idea about what to do to America’s enemies…kill them!”  Just search for “Gingrich + Andrew Jackson” and pull up the 23 second YouTube video clip.  One must be very careful when spouting historical “facts” to support one’s position, pulling them out of one’s mental arsenal like a business card to “represent” your position and stance on a given topic.  Someone might actually take you seriously.

If Speaker Gingrich was to recall the history of Andrew Jackson, perhaps he wouldn’t be so ready to whip out that factoid and thrust it upon a frustrated and undecided South Carolina audience.  Andrew Jackson, in his seventh annual message to Congress, after the passage of the Indian Removal Act in 1830, decided the desires and needs of the settlers was more important than those of the native American Indian.  Even after the ruling of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall who reviewed the case (Worcester v. Georgia) finding the Indians in full right to their own land, their own nation and declaring that Georgia settlers had to get the permission of the Cherokee Indians to be on their land; Andrew Jackson refused to enforce the law.  Another situation where the President put himself above the law and due process.

The result of Andrew Jackson’s pathetic leadership was the death of thousands of Indians across five tribes.  Does the “Trail of Tears” phrase sound familiar to you?  It should, its not a poem, or a play, this was the fate of the real Native American Indians, forced to leave their lands, their homes, their crops, their hunting grounds…some in the dead of winter; pushed out in such a hurry they were barefoot and many unable to collect any possessions.  This arbitrary usurpation of native’s sovereignty and arrogance demonstrated by Andrew Jackson shows a complete lack of understanding and concern about the impact of American settler’s greed on the indigenous people’s welfare.

“The Creek Indians refused to go.  So United States soldiers came to their homes, chained them together, and marched them toward the west.  Hungry, cold, and weighted down with chains, thirty-five hundred Creek Indians died before reaching the new Indian territory.” (The History of the World, 2004, Peace Hill Press The Seminoles had factions between tribes, the White Stick and Red Stick Seminoles.  The Indian Removal Act was forcing Indians further and further West; to the point that America’s actions were forcing enemies to be geographically close to one another.  The pages of history books are filled with the injustices, inequalities, greed and arrogance toward the Indians…you can read for yourself.

Personally, I would not be proud to compare myself to Andrew Jackson, even if he were a “great President!”  The irony of Gingrich putting himself on the same level by espousing his Brutus approach to administration boggles the mind.  How can one with such a cavalier tongue be considered worthy of the highest elected office  in the nation?  “There are two things that men should never weary of, goodness and humility; we get none too much of them in this rough world among cold, proud people.” Robert Louis Stevenson (from his book “Kidnapped“)

When we debate and wrestle with the issues of our nation:  the economy, foreign policy, health care for an increasingly aging population, jobs, etc; we have a responsibility and an opportunity to set an example not only for our youth, but the entire world.  We should not argue the sanctity of life professing to be a pro-life advocate out of one side of our mouths, but out of the other declare predatory policy towards our enemies.  Is it right for a Republican Christian spout those words and selectively forget Matthew 5:44 “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;”  Has our secular sacred split become so ruptured that there is no more charity in the heart of our nation?

My children watched the South Carolina Debates on FoxNews with me.  They expressed equal disdain for such an attitude.  I was not proud to be in the presence of my children, observing the behavior of adults being so careless in their sublime chest-thumping bravado!  My son sat and drew a comic representation of the candidates I thought was too humorous not to share.

GOP Candidates

May the best man win!