Thursday, February 26, 2015

Dear Candidate 2016

It might seem like it's too far off, but it really won't be long before the lawns begin to sprout all those lovely candidate signs signaling the election season is upon us, once again.

I'm not a big fan of how long this process goes on. Plus I'm always hoping that we'll have some reasonable campaign reform before the next election season, which never happens. Change that nips not only the huge money in the bud, but also reels in the amount of time we have to spend listening to the candidates telling us who they are, what they stand for, and how they'll vote; usually a load of crap they think the masses want to hear, one lie after another after another. In a perfect world, campaigners would also curtail their boasting about how much they love their god and how they'll uphold that book once they get into office. As if it has any relevance to how well they will do the job. Check any paper after the election and you'll find just how immoral some of those leaders have been once they got into office.

The candidate(s) who would top my list would possess integrity, first and foremost. Don't lie, plain and simple. In this day and age when things can be fact checked relatively easy, just don't do it. And if, for whatever reason, it's found out that something was done improperly, admit it. Be intentional in transparency, stop putting up smoke screens to deflect away when being human is all that happened. I'd have much more respect for that than a cover-up. Oh, and using this as a photo-op is also not a good idea. Sincerity and honesty is key. Be the person who is represented on the campaign trail, not just give us a showy version of an ideal you think we want to elect.

Productivity is also very important. Did the candidate show up for the job and produce? I want to know that who I've got representing me is not afraid to get their hands dirty and work. Roll up the sleeves and get things done kind of effort. If they have political experience, were they present at the time of voting, were they in attendance on committees they served and, more importantly, did they do the research on whatever the issue was before they voted? And if they are new to politics, what did they bring to the table in their own communities or what were they active in and passionate about? How did they contribute that was meaningful and substantive? I'd vote for anyone who can demonstrate what working hard means and shows how it was done.

Along with being a person who knows how to contribute, the prospective candidate who has the ability to work well with others shows a genuineness for collaboration. It is another key trait which promises to ensure success in getting elected. It's certainly required in all positions, but politics demands the ability to see both sides of issues, and determine solutions that will achieve a balance between differing opinions. The end goal being that the welfare of the community is maintained, not the stroking of the biggest ego in the room.

The last qualities that would put a candidate in as a top contender for me are the ones who possess intelligence and common sense, and can speak without stammering about how to implement good ideas in a rational, sensible fashion. Having a good grasp on the overall big picture and how to solve problems is an enormous plus! Making the right choices for the people they represent as well as taking into consideration what is ethical will only enhance those choices.

What I want to see in a candidate who stands before me begging for my vote is someone who is a genuine and humane human being. We've all see the flashy, disingenuous, smug lifetime politician who says all the right things to one group and changes his or her tune to coincide with the next twenty agendas of organizations visited during the campaign. It's disgusting, it's manipulative and it's not what we need at the helm of legislating laws. Those that are supposed to be there for the betterment of the communities that elected them need a trustworthy candidate.

I'm always hoping that the selection offered up of local, state and federal campaigners has a quality and caliber about them that truly shows leadership and empathy for the communities they represent. And there are some, but not enough. The volume of good leaders has to increase substantially. I hope it does before the next election season.

In my old age, I've gotten rather cynical though as I've watched election after election boil down to the lesser of two evils in just about every one I've been privileged to participate in.

So, Dear Candidate 2016 - if you don't fit the proposed mold - don't even get in the ring this time.

Please and Thank You.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Who Needs Prayer When You've Got A Plan?

Proverbs 31 New International Version (NIV)

Sayings of King Lemuel

31 The sayings of King Lemuel—an inspired utterance his mother taught him.
Listen, my son! Listen, son of my womb!
    Listen, my son, the answer to my prayers!
Do not spend your strength[a] on women,
    your vigor on those who ruin kings.
It is not for kings, Lemuel—
    it is not for kings to drink wine,
    not for rulers to crave beer,
lest they drink and forget what has been decreed,
    and deprive all the oppressed of their rights.
Let beer be for those who are perishing,
    wine for those who are in anguish!
Let them drink and forget their poverty
    and remember their misery no more.
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
    for the rights of all who are destitute.
Speak up and judge fairly;
    defend the rights of the poor and needy.

Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character

10 [b]A wife of noble character who can find?
    She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
    and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
    bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
    she provides food for her family
    and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
    out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
    and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
    and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
    and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
    for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
    she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
    where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
    and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.


  1. Proverbs 31:3 Or wealth
  2. Proverbs 31:10 Verses 10-31 are an acrostic poem, the verses of which begin with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

The short version - a woman who does all these things is a force to be reckoned with and someone who is worthy of praise for all her efforts, the obvious strength she possesses and the character with which she carries herself. If the list of attributes above describes the woman to a T, then damn straight she deserves praise. This catch seems to be the ultimate Shero who takes care of not only the house and the kids, and all that it entails but runs a business, is smart and wise, and marries the right man. In modern times we call that "bringing home the bacon, frying it up in the pan and doing everything to please her man."

My problem with the decoration on the shirt is that she has to pray about it as if that's the only way things get done. I call bullshit with a capital B. I know many cream-of-the-crop women in the atheist movement who have no desire and especially no need to pray about it in order to accomplish all that is on their plates. They have goals, they make a plan and they get things done. It's that simple. God can be left out of the equation.

Any woman, and any man for that matter, who set their sights on what they want to accomplish can go a long way with perseverance, diligence and efforts. Does that always guarantee success? No. But how many times has prayer been claimed to have brought about the result of a good outcome? Statistically, probably the same as having not prayed. So basically it's chance that prayer was coincidentally involved.

Making plans, putting forth the effort, doing the work and possessing the determination to never give up until you've reached your goals - that is what helps us succeed in achieving them and gives us cause to list our accomplishments.

Just like prayer has nothing to do with successful medical intervention, prayer injects nothing of quality to projects or achievements that are staffed by hard-working, diligent and skilled people on the right tasks.

So really, who needs a god or a prayer when we've got things under control with our own plans?