Caution: Politics Ahead

I don’t write about politics hardly ever. It’s divisive, it’s a sure way to piss people off and well, I don’t particularly like getting into a screaming match with people. I’m just not that confrontational.

But I’m going to jump in here. Before I do, I want to make a point that I will continue to make along the way which is, I don’t care what political background you have. You respect me, I respect you. My opposing views don’t make me some extremist, tin-foil-hat wearing crazy person. My views do not make me racist or any other words ending with “ist” that you would like to plug in. Ok. With that out of the way…..

Tracy sent me a link the other day from a Salon article titled “My best friend is a Republican” and it went into how the writer was horrified that her BFF was a card carrying member of the RNC, complete with guns and religion. I read the article and giggled, because Tracy is not what I what call a “left wing whacko” (remember, no name calling!) but she is left of me. In reading that Salon article, it did provoke some issues and how even though we are so far apart in some ideologies, on most bullet points, I bet we aren’t as far apart as she thinks we are.

I am a church going, Christ believing girl. Tracy and I were both raised Catholic. She is an atheist now and tolerates my posts about going to church because she respects me and my beliefs. Doesn’t mean she agrees, but she loves me and knows that’s important to me. I don’t try to convert her. I’m sure she appreciates that. I don’t mail her bibles or send her scripture verses, even though I have seen a few I would love to send her that I’ve seen at Hobby Lobby (Gasp! The horror!)

I believe in the Constitution and smaller government. I do not believe the government needs their greedy hands in every situation in our country. We need them for our military and infrastructure. Build the roads, bridges and dams. Keep the best military in the world and treat our soldiers with the best care and highest regard we can. There should be no VA scandal because it shouldn’t be so big that oversight is near impossible. Cut the bureaucracy and improve care. Simplify the tax code. It just shouldn’t be that hard. Flat tax? Sounds like a great plan to me. Close loopholes that businesses like GE (just as an example) use to pay ZERO taxes. Really? That’s ok?

Keep the government out of my and everyone else’s bedroom. Marry who you love. Gay or straight, makes no difference to me. If you love someone and want to commit to that person, marry away! Be entitled to all benefits and tax breaks that go along with it. What’s that joke? Why should only straight people be miserable? (Or something like that) But the flip side of that is also this, the government should have no right to order a private business to do something against how they want to run their business. Ordering a bakery to make a wedding cake isn’t the business of the government. Go to a different bakery. If you own a bar and want to allow smoking, it’s your business, the government shouldn’t tell you you can’t do it. The free market will take care whether your business is successful or not. Don’t like the bakery that won’t make gay wedding cakes? Guess what? Don’t go there if you don’t like it. Don’t want to work in the bar with smoking allowed? Guess what? Don’t get a job there! Don’t patronize that establishment. See? Easy peasy! I’m just saying the government should stay out of it. Live and let live.

Which then brings me to the taboo subject of abortion. Tracy and I have gone round and round and round AND ROUND on this. It’s a tortured subject. It’s a no win with us, so we usually avoid it entirely. I will throw this out there though, and it’s something that has bothered me for years. How can someone who claims to be a Christian (all the atheists are off the hook on this one) be in support of abortion? I know, the hate mail is going to fly in. But I don’t get it. Nancy Pelosi (shudder) is a perfect example of this. Practicing Catholic, believes in abortion. They are as polar opposite as can be. Are you deciding what to pick and choose from your religion? You get to make that call? The tenants of the faith are pretty cut and dried for you. Would you admit to Pope Francis that you believe in abortion? (And I’m not condemning anyone who has had one. So don’t even go there.) I’m just saying your faith and the liberal point of view do not reconcile to me unless you have decided that you are able to pick and choose pieces and parts of your Catholic faith. Which means your following your own version of Catholicism, right?

So do all of these things make me some right wing lunatic? To some far left people, I guess it will. I think I’m pretty moderate. I’m a registered Independent. Not a member of the RNC or DNC. I pick candidates based on what they stand for, not a letter behind their name indicating some party affiliation. And yes, I actually study the candidates. How many people just vote straight party line and then are shocked when things don’t change? (Hello Detroit? Chicago?) How about investing as much time looking into the actual character of someone and see how their values align with yours? Do you want the government IN or OUT of your personal life, telling you how to live, taxing everything you can put your hands on (rain, wind, air and water will probably be next)

So while I can’t use the title “My best friend is a liberal” similar to the Salon article, we have WAAAAAY more in common than most people would think. And I don’t even have my tin-foil hat on today.


Addiction – The Family Secret

I really wanted to write about this subject today after giving it much thought. I hope I can be succinct and cohesive, but I am also asking for feedback if you would. That’s kind of the point of the blog post.

How many of you have an addict in your family? Any kind of addict. Alcohol, drugs (<– that was whispered like the mom in St. Elmo's Fire….lol), gambling, sex, shopping, eating….anything that causes a problem for the person and the family unit. I bet you do if you're honest with yourself. I bet there's the crazy Uncle you only have to deal with during the holidays because he drinks too much and gets obnoxious or starts telling dirty jokes around the 5 year old kid table. Or your sister who eats her entire meal telling everyone she's not really hungry, but then grabs some extras and hides in the bathroom finishing off another piece of cake plus 3 more rolls. Or the niece everyone thinks is perfect but has been secretly getting high every night and no one notices. What about the guy at work who can't turn down the next project/phone call/email/business trip/etc because he's afraid of not getting the next promotion or being valued enough?

Or maybe it's you. Can you stop drinking? What if you've never been told you have a "problem" before but now you're being asked to stop. Can you? "Well, **I** don't have the problem. My mom, well, SHE was the one hiding bottles through the house, not me. I can stop when I want." Uh huh. But do you? Can you go a month without drinking? Excess shopping? A little weed? A little pill? Working on a day off? What about exercise? Are you addicted to something "good" for you? Do you push it too far? Are you running 7 days a week? Should you?

Anyone who has dealt with an addict will tell you the above scenario is classic denial. There's always always ALWAYS someone worse off than the person you're talking to. Or an excuse for the behavior. And that's a convenient rationale to not admit your own problem. Yes, admitting you have a problem with (insert addiction here) is a first step. Admitting powerlessness over the addiction and that your life has become unmanageable. Step One in AA. And starting at Step One is always the best place to start. The whole one foot in front of the other thing, right?

But what is YOUR role in all of this? The non-addict family member. Do you cover for the gambling spouse who just spent your electric bill money at the craps table? Do you call in sick for the spouse who can't quite make it to work again this morning? Do you explain to your kids to stay away from Aunt Dee because she can't help but to act the way she does? What if it IS your kid? Do you cover and and hide and put on the happy face for the world to see?

Now I'm certainly not suggesting that everyone open up the four walls of their homes and let everything be a gawking free-for-all. Every home has its secrets that most are sure would be horrified if the outside world could look in and see during your most raw, emotional times. That's not what I'm getting at. I AM suggesting that addiction is so incredibly prevalent in our society, and that the old way of thinking is not what is healthy for the entire family. Talking about it, discussing it, sharing it, help to bring it out of the shadows where it can grow and fester. That helps take away that stigma that unfortunately still exists today.

Which brings me back to the non-addicts role. My role. Most of my readers know my husband is an alcoholic. I don't hide it. It's hard. It's difficult. I've written many blog posts about it. I'm active in an Al Anon group. It's been amazing to find that everything I thought I was dealing with alone, someone right down the street was dealing with too. And right around the corner. And all over the city, the state, the country, the world. But no one knows because everyone hides and covers. It's the family secret.

Here's a great saying in AA: "Nothing changes if nothing changes". Simple right? Simple and true. Changing the way WE act and will bring about change in US. Not others. Ourselves. It's a very empowering feeling when you truly start to put yourself first and change the way you think.

I wish I could get more people talking, and in doing that you could realize you aren't alone. You're family isn't the only one. And perhaps helping to shed some light on what is happening will also encourage the addict to seek support and help. Don't let another generation continue the cycle. There's a Step One in AA and in Al Anon. But there's more than one step. Keep moving, keep growing. You can do ANYTHING for a day. Today can be Day One in your life, whether you're the addict or just love someone who is.