Category Archives: Politics

An open letter to the DNC (and other orgs with its phone list)

The Desperate Man, Gustave Courbet Source: WikiMedia Commons

Hello DNC Phone Minions,

Yes! I know you have my phone number…

Thanks, for the wakeup call the other morning – some of us like to sleep in but it was so kind of you to think that my day would be spoiled if I wasn’t up before 8:30 am on a Saturday.

And three calls on Sunday… that was nice, it made me feel like I wasn’t alone in the universe.

But really… STOP!!!

I’ve been a Democrat my entire life – mostly because I’m one of those scary single issue voters – but you are really putting this to the test.

The last time I talked to you guys I mentioned I was unemployed. Shocking, but I still am, so I have no money to give you and I’m not big on giving my time. And you wouldn’t want that anyway ‘cause I’m the kind of person that irritates other people ;-).

Best option… so I don’t migrate to the Green Party or (sin of sins) become an Independent… stop calling me. I’ve averaged nearly 3 calls from you every day for months. I know you know I’m a sucker – that’s why you keep calling – because once I answer the phone I’m stuck.

So I don’t answer.  

I’ve been not answering for over six months… you do the math.

Okay I’ll do the math… averaging 2.75 calls a day for six months… hmmm…that is 502 phone calls.

Really, I won’t miss you… and I’m sure there is someone out there who will answer your call.

~ Tess

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Changing Universe – Part II

We live in a universe that is always changing – yet we have to make decisions, have to choose paths, and yet we can’t see the future. We have to settle on making decisions based on the available information.

But we are always getting new information.

I once worked in a job where this was often the case. We would work for months on a project – get new information – and find ourselves back at the beginning of the process. Scraping some or all of the work that we’d completed and starting over. There was no fault, no blame, just new information or a new way of looking at the data.

It was a stressful environment to work in.

I remember hiring for positions on my team and asking the question of what they would feel like if they had to start over again on a project they had just spent three months on – not because they failed but because they were presented with new information. If they twitched or jumped they were off the list. If they were too caviler they were off the list. The response I was looking for was something in between.

It is hard to change – to adapt to situations – to admit that the decision you made at the time was right but now that you have new information, it is wrong. So I always try to fail faster.

There is a point here – I just haven’t gotten to it yet.

I got drawn into yet another discussion about interrogation tactics and the US’s treatment of prisoners of war. The topic always leaves me a little queasy. Not because of the content, not because of what was done, but because we are looking for scapegoats. And because no one seems to be talking about what brought us here.

As I said in my posting last week we did this to ourselves. We wanted answers so badly that we were willing to give up our liberty and privacy – allow tapping of phone lines, the delay of notice of warrants etc (I’ve been reading the Patriot Act – full text here). This was just the beginning of the slippery slope. We slid – our government authorizing more and more powers to the agencies and military tasked with the job of finding terrorist and protecting us.

Thank goodness we didn’t slide so far that we rounded up all Muslims and American’s of Middle Eastern descent and put them into camps – at least we learned that lesson.  

The rules have changed.

New information has been brought to light. The administration has changed. Why punish those who did what we asked. The harder thing would be to look at how we got here, understand it, and place safeguards so that we don’t do it again.  

So back to my insane job.

We would work on a project thinking we knew what we were doing. As we progressed we would start to have questions. Answering those questions brought new information to light that caused us to change how we did the project. Trust me – we felt angry and foolish at times – occasionally downright stupid. But we moved forward and let the past go.

Sometimes you simply need to move on.

~ Tess Anderson

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The Stories We Tell

New York Public Library

A friend is working on a project concerning how historians are dealing with the preservation of the occurrences in the aftermath of 9/11 specifically what do we save and how do we preserve it.

Which made me wonder… what story are we going to tell?

You can take this from the level of the individual to the country to the world – and on every level tell a different story – provide a different filter – let some facts speak and lay others silently aside.  

Like the rest of the world – I was stunned and horrified at the occurrences that morning. And like many spent the rest of the day wandering through it dazed. It altered my perception of the world – my own sense of safety and security. Nothing on this magnitude had been perpetrated on American soil since the bombing of Pearl Harbor in WWII.

But we forget.

We forget that our situation is not normal – that many nations deal with much more on a daily basis – look what the British and Irish went through, or what occurred in Beirut in the 80’s, or what is occurring in so many countries in the Middle East right now. Every day in the Middle East soldiers and civilians are killed – we see the numbers daily in our news feeds. Can we even imagine that being our country?

So – what story will we tell?

One story that I hope we tell is about what, in our fear, we were willing to lose. Fear is a strange thing. It makes us willing to give up so much and we were afraid and our leaders leveraged those fears. Molded them, gave indefinite fears form and then went to work on their own agendas.

We wanted answers, someone to blame, someone to punish, someone to protect us and tell us that this would never happen again. For us the world stopped – paused while the planes were grounded – and then our world started up again different.  

We are a great nation – but we were not a wise or good nation.

The most powerful fears are caused by what we don’t understand. And it takes time to understand – to process, putting emotion aside, and think through things – to look at the information through different points of view. Even then – you may comprehend what occurred but not understand.

But then how many of us are crusaders or extremists – willing to put our lives, not just on the line for a moment, but for years of planning and training. Because that is what it took – years for them to develop and execute the events on 9/11. How many of us truly understand that mentality that level of commitment to a goal that ends in death?

This is a story that has nothing to do with religion, with faith or with nationality, this has to do with ideology and fear. Their fear of us – of change – and their desire to instill fear in us.

Fear is a destructive emotion – nothing great or worthwhile has ever come of it.

And we have proved that we have nothing to fear but fear itself. Our fear has changed the world – Think about it. In how many little ways has the world changed from air travel to getting a bank account. How many of us know people who have were detained, who still have a double check from officials as they enter and leave an airport?

And then there are the things that changed us as a country. We wanted the men found who had done this. Found and punished. And we didn’t care how. We demanded information and we received it. It wasn’t till much later that we asked how.

Look where we are now.

So, my friends post on FB telling about her research on preserving 9/11 made me think. What stories will we tell – and have we learned anything from them.

~ Tess Anderson

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