Given the polarity of our times--insolence, hate, intolerance, seething anger, hostility and overt disdain for others and government--I am reminded of another season in the history of our country where we were so torn asunder: the Civil War. How did we come to the place where civility, respect, decency and concern for the broader common good of all Americans has faded and, instead, is overshadowed by the darkness of self-interest? It is time for us to draw from the annals of our American history and remember the senseless—and avoidable--destruction and death caused by that great divide. It is time to make a purposeful, exerted effort to abate the destructive forces at work within our country at present, remembering the powerful words of President Abraham Lincoln “...A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure half slave and half free...!”
Category: Voice of our CEO
“Family” is supposed to be a sanctuary; a place of safety, nurturing, healing, growing, sharing, loving, laughter and joy! But for too many, “Family” is none of these things. Instead, “Family” is a battleground, a bastion of physical and mental abuse; a place to avoid and run from, not a place to run towards. Domestic Violence is a blight on society; it is a strong indictment against our culture and our pervasive tolerance and acceptance of violence as a way of life. Domestic violence is merely a reflection of a much deeper, embedded pandemic sickness within our society.
Like with other forms of violence in our culture, our sensitivity to domestic violence has been substantially dulled, and we are no longer repulsed or grieved by it. So, let me provide a blunt reminder about the magnitude of Domestic Violence. (From www.ncadv.org)
I absolutely loathe the Presidential election cycle. As we have careened through the presidential elections over the span of my lifetime, they have become a downhill slope into a pit of vitriol negativity, bombastic arrogance and blatant dishonesty. Promoting policies and ideas has been supplanted by trashing one’s opponent. The harder a candidate tries to take the high ground, the more they are assaulted with brutal character attacks, mudslinging and maligning.
The last few election cycles seem to have improved a little, then came 2016. It is astounding to me that we have a presidential contender who has built an entire campaign on fear-mongering, hate, lying, bullying, character assassination and divisiveness. Intelligent policy discussion is nonexistent. What’s more alarming, is that there are millions of Americans who are marching lockstep in support. You don’t have to go too far back in history to remember a similar person deceiving and manipulating the masses; and the consequences were diabolic!
What is occurring right now in the American political arena is a Righteous Indictment, declaring, “AMERICA YOU HAVE LOST YOUR VIRTUE!”
My teen years were spent in the 1960's – you know hippies, long hair, rock-n-roll, changing norms, social unrest and drugs. I had the good fortune to be raised with a strong moral compass which helped me navigate the tumultuous times and come out unscathed. However, this wasn’t true for many of my friends and acquaintances. Too many had their lives destroyed by mind and body altering substances; their amazing potential and futures altered forever. Some died, while others died mentally but remained physically alive.
Oh sure, like many in my generation, I did some stupid things. But in reality, the “hippie years” were just a very small parenthesis along my time line. In fact, those years profoundly set into motion what I was to become and how I have spent the past five decades. I count myself fortunate, but also haunted by the devastation and destruction substance abuse causes. I don’t know of anyone who has not experienced the destructiveness of substance abuse in some way, either personally or in relation to a family member, relative or friend.
It goes without saying, there is a very pronounced distrust of--and for some, a profound distaste for--government bureaucracy. I totally understand these feelings, even though I do think it is grossly exaggerated by those who live on the fringe who hate government period. The reality is, every large organization, be it private-sector or governmental, is supported by an unwieldy bureaucratic structure; it’s the nature of the beast. Initiating change within a monstrous bureaucracy of any type is epic, however, I think government tops the charts for slowness, inflexibility and a lack of innovation.
Have you ever wondered where we got the term “the Dogs-Days of Summer?” As a kid growing up, it was a baseball term used to describe the period of miserable hot, humid weather after the All-Star break until the fall run into the playoffs. For many, it’s that time of summer where you just don’t want to do anything; when people become lethargic, bored and grumpy, and kids become restless and unmanageable. Those summer days so devastatingly hot that even dogs just lie around motionless. I think there’s been several movies and a bunch of books written using the name “Dogs-Days of Summer.”
Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt intimidated, shy, excessively nervous, restrained or unwilling to make your opinion known. Now look around you, there’s probably a lot of hands in the air! On the other hand (no pun intended), there are plenty of people who we wish would be less obsessed with being verbose; you know, the hot-air syndrome. Either way, we are so fortunate to live in a society where we can freely speak our mind and give voice to what is important to us.
Relationships are interesting. They are kind of like cells in our body. You know how cells are always bumping into each other, some attach to make new things, some just float around independently, and some join together to fight off bad stuff. We are always bumping into people through the routines of our everyday lives. Through this process we make new friends or acquaintances, maybe even enemies; but from time to time, a relationship will just click and a real connection and unusual bond is forged. Well, I feel very fortunate to have “bumped” into Jac Jacobs, his wife, Trish, and their son, Mathew. Ours has definitely been a relationship that clicked; and for 14 years later we’re still fast friends.
Over the past four years, California has undertaken a colossal effort to “reform” the state’s foster care system. Much has been written about this initiative, so I won’t dive into the details. In essence, the Continuum of Care Reform (or CCR as it is referred to) will, theoretically at least, move thousands of youth from group homes/congregate care to family-based services; it will recast group homes as short-term residential treatment programs (STRTP) to prevent kids from being raised in group homes; it will make it easier for youth placed with relatives to receive appropriate services; and it will introduce new levels of provider accountability, all to ensure a faster, more efficient way to achieve permanency for foster children and youth. It sounds great, actually. And as a concept, it is great, but…
Prison is no place anyone would want to be; restricting, dark, unsafe and punitive. It is a place we isolate a segment of our society whose conduct prevents them from remaining within the larger population; individuals who have, to one degree or another, hurt others. It is a place where one’s independence and self-worth is stripped away and replaced with total subjugation and control. The word “prison” usually conjures up very negative imagery: bad people, horrible environment, survival of the fittest; where people leave more sophisticated and evil than when they arrived.
But this isn’t always the case.