| Everything’s Coming Up Rosen

Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Good will towards man

Posted on 01 December 2016 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

Peace on earth. Good will towards man,” is probably the most favorite saying spoken or quoted during the Christmas holiday season. Even, it is said, the most liberal secularists who reject Biblical Christianity love to use this phrase and claim it as their own.

The “peace on earth” part, hopeful denial of reality that it is, is an eternal prayer that has yet to be answered. Certainly it is an aspirational “good,” and, though it may remain unanswered in all of our lifetimes, there is no more worthy goal for humankind despite that as individuals, it is a condition beyond our control.

So I have concerned myself with that which is within our control as individuals: “Good will towards man.”

Has there ever been a time when “good will towards man” is as far from the ‘collective consciousness’ as it is today? Well, probably historically, there has been, but I want to stay with the now. The residual “spill” from our recent past national trauma lingers in all the wrong places — in the hearts of those stuck in a mindset of righteousness, in people who sneer at the concept of being non-judgmental in a world filled with human beings who are more than one dimensional.

Many of us have difficulty with the concept that another person can have a belief system in total opposition to our own, with equal sincerity and purity of heart, and that such a person can indeed perform acts of kindness and can make positive contributions to their community.

This is what makes “good will towards man”such a challenge.

I am aware of how this past election cycle has torn families and friendships apart, and has caused serious rifts in some marital relationships. And, despite the innate wisdom of the mantra “Let’s agree to disagree,” the issues and circumstances for many of us were so deep-gutted as to have been symbolic of the very core of our beings. And disagreements along political lines can be perceived as rejections of who we are in the “I am what I believe” modality.

Somehow, we can more easily disagree about sports teams, movies, books, art, taste in clothes or home furnishings, or even, in the abstract philosophy than we can about politics, without impugning the basic character of another person.

So, in this relatively short–lived seasonal spread of overt loving and good cheer, I am “putting out” the hope that we can extend good will to the folks who voted whichever other way from your vote, that they did. And a reminder: This doesn’t make them bad people.

So, ho, ho, ho — it’s time for some levity. Here’s to a wonderful Christmas, Chanukah and whatever else you celebrate this month, and here’s to some serious “good will towards man.”

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Month(s) of thanks

Posted on 03 November 2016 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

It’s almost over, folks. While the turkeys are skittering around looking for hiding places, we know that soon — very soon — phase one of our 21st Century “long national nightmare” will be over. Thank you, God, for that. But no matter how the election turns out, our many wounds will take time and attitude adjustments, before effective healing can take place or certainly before any of the promises of national salvation can even begin to come to fruition. It will be a time for serious auxiliary leadership to emerge with a plan to bring us together.

And for all the jabs we’ve sustained and the dire attributions of the diminished power of the United States on the world scene, we can still lay claim to our “greatness.” Thankful we can be, every day, that we are not living in any of the many war ravaged countries that can no longer sustain its people. Thankful we can be, every day, that our constitution guarantees that we can witness a regime change without bloodshed (we hope). Thankful we can be, as we stare at that half empty glass, yet we are able to see its half fullness. And thankful we can be for anyone and anything that can still make us laugh – no matter what.

And thankful indeed we can be for our sense of touch when offered by a friend or loved one to soothe a painful body or heart; for water still running and available at the turn of a faucet (we are praying for you, Flint); for the sight of a wild sunflower, a palm tree, an orange grove, a full moon and our Florida sun (when it is not hiding) and its sometimes frothing, sometimes calm, but still always there, ocean; and for mountains and summits beyond Florida and sources of transportation to get to all the “beyond.” Thankful we can be for a schoolyard of screaming kids and for loving grandparents still trying to learn to text; for old photographs borne of film (what’s that?) that remind us of the good old days; and for our freedom to respond with a polite ”no, thanks” as needed. Thankful we can be for the good people who show up to help during disasters and the good people who just show up; for the people devoted to all the “cures” of body, mind and soul; the sounds of music in private places and acoustical buildings, and in outdoor venues soaring into the airways, and lifting our spirits, that in some cases, inspire our dancing feet; for poetry, good and bad; for storytellers and painters with words, and brushes, and on stages; for people who run things and make things, and repair things, and imagine new things, and offer new ideas … and for people who protect us and our things, and for the lives of people no longer here, but whose legacy make our own lives meaningful. Grateful we are, too, for the mistakes we’ve made from which we have learned many a valuable lesson, and for the freedom to make more of them without having to live in fear; for the off-button on remote controls; and for broccoli, kale, smoothies and chocolate. And, we are oh so grateful for humility, forgiveness, choice and hope.

Happy Thanksgiving to all. Add your own gratitudes and keep them in mind all year.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Wake up — It’s October — and I don’t have any rants

Posted on 05 October 2016 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

School is routine already. Vacation picture albums are stashed with the others which, after you’ve flashed them umpteen times on your smartphone, some will morph into hard copies, and you won’t look at them again until the next time you move.

You might take one last trip to see the turning of the leaves, but most likely you won’t. Instead, you will remember the last time you did. You might marvel at the fact that the ocean water is still warm and wonder if it has always been warm in October; and, if not, what’s up with that?

You might smile initially at the ubiquitous orange and black wherever you go, but will get sick and tired of it before Oct. 31. If you are planning to indulge in Halloween festivities for adults or kids, your creative brain has been cooking for a while. And somewhere within your soul, you have become aware that 2016 is on its last legs and that what you have to look forward to for the rest of this year is serious shopping, holiday parties, and, in some cases, the loneliness of being far away from family, and a few reflections on the overall quality of your life choices.

Maybe you’ll purchase some new spiffy seasonal clothes. Or, you will go into the back of your closet and, voila, come out with some “OMG, I forgot I had this. I haven’t worn it for 100 years.”

You are happy that daylight-savings time, which usually terminates in October, doesn’t end until the first week in November. Sunshine and light, after all, are one of the reasons for being in Florida.

You will be happily ensconced in your favorite chair for the return of Sunday and Monday night football, unless, of course, you’re like me, an aberrant, and couldn’t care less about football.

And you are prepared for the every four-year October political surprise that will emerge at the end of the month, but you won’t change your mind, no matter what about how you plan to vote. You are registered to vote, right? It’s not too late to request an absentee ballot in case you have an aversion to standing in line. In Broward County, call 954-712-1903. In Palm Beach County, call 561-656-6200 to have your ballot sent to you. Do it NOW.

And here’s the big event for which you will need to make preparations. It’s the post-election let-down. Well, sure there will be some immediate chatter about what happened and why, but the high theatrics are likely to subside. We’ll go back to murders, car crashes, rape, corruption, predictions about the holiday, retail economy and political grand-standing (and most likely paralysis) regardless of who wins. But the big question is – what will happen to the Donald Trump show, if he wins or if he loses? Will we face serious withdrawal symptoms if he becomes presidential? Or, if he slinks back into limited notoriety, what will we do for entertainment?

Yes, I know. This is serious stuff, folks, but if we lose our sense of humor, then all is lost.

Hail to October, the beginning of the end of another year and a good time for reflection on the year, so far.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Smartphone-itis

Posted on 01 September 2016 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

Surely, you know it’s a disease. Of what proportions is unknown, as of yet. Will it show up in the genes of the next generation – and to what extent? Will human fingers mutate? This is also unknown. Some addictions, we know, pass down through heredity. So many words, so many articles, columns, books, discussions have been written on the societal “effect” of the smartphone. When do you not use it?

For me, the impact clicked when looking at the iconic over-the-top cartoon showing a car with “Just Married” emblazoned all over it. The bride, still dressed in her flowing gown, the groom in his groomsman’s attire, are leaning on the front car bumper as close to each other as strawberries and whipped cream with nary a sign of recognition of each other. Both are busy with their eyes lowered as they text (to each other?)

As with most impactful technological innovations, there is the good and the bad. It is wonderful to be able to communicate at an airport, to have the GPS lady lead you through mazes of unfamiliar miles to your destination, to be able to give a heads-up text to your significant other who is in an important meeting that can’t be interrupted, reporting that you won’t be there on time because of a flat tire. And it is great to get answers to the endless answers to questions about pure trivia from Google, like who played the lead in a 1972 movie, and to receive the myriad “alerts,” and, well, you know I could fill pages with this.

But the dislocated ability to confront people eye to eye says something important about relationships, as does the misguided need to respond to every signal. When the phone rings, why must it be answered immediately if it’s your sister and you are lunching with a friend or at a dinner party table? Yes; it’s good for emergencies, but not every “Hello. How are you doing?” is an emergency. And then, when you whip out pictures of your kids or grandkids or greats — about whom most of your surrounding companions care not a whit – is that an act of cluelessness or narcissism? The sheer discourtesy of being inattentive to your immediate surroundings speaks to misplaced priorities.

Personally, I am offended when people place their phones in plain sight in social situations – unless they declare some kind of expectation of an emergency. Perhaps, it’s my age, but it is not hard to remember a time when folks called on land phones and left messages when you weren’t home. They weren’t expecting an instantly gratifying response.

Many colleges have done serious research on the effects of slavishness to smartphones in regard to relationships. I’ve checked out several and learned of a predisposition towards feelings of rejection on the part of romantic partners when phones are used excessively. Google “smart phones and relationships.” You’ll be amazed at the abundance of scholarly interest in this.

Yes, yes, times are a-changing… but fast.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Time for ‘voter’ school

Posted on 04 August 2016 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

I received the big envelope today — the one with a bunch of names, some of which ring a bell, others of which pull a blank – my “test” of citizenship. It’s my ballot for the local primary elections on Aug. 30 and my instinct is to put it aside and pray for the gods to fill it out judiciously for me. (Call your Supervisor of Elections if you haven’t received yours – Broward County : 954-712-1903, Palm Beach County: 561-276-1226)

Unless you’re a “party regular” or actually pay attention to the junk mail ads you get, how would you know what to believe? These people are a sea of faces with important jobs. But are, nonetheless, mostly invisible to the majority of us, including me – a political junkie – who is still faced with the dilemma of executing good choices.

Unless you make primary voting the focus of your life or you are an integral part of the inner circle of the party of your choice, you will be hard pressed to find the resources required to make informed decisions. You can tap a friend or an acquaintance, a person “who knows,” whose judgment is in alignment with your own, and copycat his or her choices, or you can follow the editorial lead of a newspaper of choice [The Observer Election issue is Aug. 25]. You can Google individual names and make judgments based on their experience, background and the position they take on issues, or you can go down the list, guessing and marking names as you used to do with multiple-choice tests in school.

www.vote411.org is a good source sponsored by the non-partisan League of Women Voters, providing information on candidates and the election process. In preparation for the Aug. 30 primary, the league has contacted each local candidate requesting that they complete questionnaires with biographical information and their positions on issues. Voters who go to this website enter their address and it shows only candidates who will be on their ballot. They can compare candidate information and even print out a ballot with their choices.

So while the kids are stocking up on their school supplies, buying new outfits and reconnecting with friends they haven’t seen all summer, it would be a good idea for you to go to “voting school” [to get informed] this month. Do you even know what district you are in? Decide on who you want for state attorney, state senator for your district, circuit judge for your judicial circuit … There are several groups on several ballots, county court judges, school board members, the office of sheriff, property appraiser, supervisor of elections, amendments to the Florida constitution and questions on local ordinances.

Boring? It may not be fun, folks – but it is the bedrock of our democracy which is the ultimate greatness of our country. If we don’t make it our business to become informed about our local governance, then we will no longer have legitimate “griping rights.” Granted — it’s not as exciting as national politics, but this is where it all begins folks.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Who am I?

Posted on 07 July 2016 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

So this is what it’s like to be a writer: sometimes you get stuck. Here’s the deadline and you’re staring at a blank piece of paper, and the current political scene — to which you are addicted and pulsing to writing about – is off limits. So instead, you open the latest e-mail from a friend, with a link to a recommended book and you don’t even peek into the content. You fall in love with the title — well, actually, the subtitle: “My life as a Pretender.” The whole title is Reckless: My Life As A Pretender by Chrissie Hynde, founding member of the rock band The Pretenders.

I do a little Googling and You Tube-ing and now I know Chrissie Hynde. But I only have less than 24 hours – and no time to find and read her book. And it wouldn’t matter because “pretending” is something I think about often and about which I find myself in frequent conflict.

I have sadly concluded that one cannot get though life without having to tarnish one’s sense of authenticity.

Unless you are Henry David Thoreau and willing to live the life of a hermit, then the very act of comingling with others demands a degree of self restraint — zipping up your lip, and engaging in occasional activities that don’t comport with your desires or your sense of self. You see yourself as this “good” person: a friend in need, someone who talks the talk of walking in the shoes of others, empathetic and kind. But in order to be totally true to that image, you are often called upon to ignore your base thoughts and/or feelings in order to fulfill the larger “calling” of your self image. Therein lies the seeds of ambivalence.

So, you don’t say some of the things that are on your mind, that you truly believe, because those “things” can be construed as “negative,” and transmuted to “hostile.” And sensitive people don’t “cotton” to their perception of “criticism.” So you retreat to your “turtle” persona crawling into your shell, exhibiting your most charming “yes” smile – saying one thing while thinking another.

Do we call this “lying,” “self protection,” “kindness” – or inauthenticity? I’m still trying to figure it out and still trying to find an acceptable balance which will help me to be the “good” person I aspire to being, and also the real person I absolutely need to be. The fact that therein lies a conflict keeps me mindfully aware that – after all these many years — I am still trying to figure out who I am.

And I often conclude that I – like many others – am not one monolithic person, but rather a tangle of many me-s.

But, aha! Soon will come the day when our thoughts will be read by the progeny of “Siri” and her counterparts – and nothing that comes into our heads will be off-limit for reading by anyone so inclined. Add that to the list of scaries in the year 2016 – as if we didn’t have enough to worry about.

But you know what? Life is good!

 

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: You can go home again

Posted on 02 June 2016 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

Was it the red rocks? Was it the New Age-ism surrounding us? Was it our history? Was it the place where we stayed? Was it our mutual yen to get away? Was it the incredible freedom to be our totally uncensored selves? Or was it a mish-mash of all the above? Who cares! What it was was our version of five days of perfection.

The last time I saw Ivy, almost 30 years ago, we had tripped cross country together when she decided to move to California to be near her parents, after her live-in relationship with my son had ended – amicably. (Neither has since married – happily.) When we parted, we promised each other a version of a “do over,” when she reached the age that I was then (we’re 30 years apart). We’ve kept in touch, though unseen. Good people keep promises, if good luck be with them.

We met at the Phoenix airport, her salt and pepper hair braided Indian style slung over her left shoulder and rippling to her waist. Yep! That was Ivy. And for all the incessant picture taking that we did, no one was there for the moment we first spotted each other and hugged like the long lost souls that we were.

With apologies to Thomas Wolfe, you can go home again, or that is to say, you can recapture the bliss of those long ago moments. Well, we could, and did. Ivy, the artist/yoga-teacher/health food specialist/positive-energy-seeker, was the official log-burner on chilly nights at our temporary home at the Oak Creek Terrace Resort in Sedona. There we warmed ourselves by the fireplace and splashed in the double Jacuzzi, swung on the double swings on the top terrace in the morning sun, and toppled a few times in the double hammocks as we stared mesmerized at the creek waters hissing in speedy movement across the rocks at the lower terrace. We giggled a lot, too.

But we came for the reds and managed to find them while walking and hiking trails daily that spirited us to heights we couldn’t believe possible. Me … an ol’ lady, dragging up those trails. Wow! And one day we spent on a flat mesa, way high up, with not a soul in sight, hugged by Cathedral Rock, or was it Bell Rock? Chimney Rock? Thunder Mountain? Whichever one, it felt cozy and protected, emitting vibes of harmony and peace … oh, yes, love, too.

A hike on the path to the Buddhist Stupa in Peace Park, where we each engaged in our own style of meditation, topped off that day of soulfulness as the rains burst out of the clouds just as we closed the doors to the car. “Car-ma” indeed.

There were the eat places, greens and beans and soy in a myriad of iterations, and, once, a sneaked-in hunk of bison for the abs and brains, in garden settings with obsequious monk-like staff And oh, BTW, Ivy had sworn off liquor and I don’t drink alone, so no booze.

So throw away your anti-depressants, say good-bye to your shrink, book your flight to Sedona, and hide the TV remote when you get there. If you’re not smothered in constant bliss during your stay, I will eat your boarding pass.

As for Ivy, same time next year. I don’t have 30 more in me.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Mother stuff and more

Posted on 05 May 2016 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

This is about mothers and sons, and aging and mental health, and who knows what else. Sometimes stuff comes up when I write a column and I get surprised at how it ends.

Today, I received the following email from my son, who is very edgy as he approaches his 60th birthday this month. In the subject line, he wrote, “For Your Next Column.” How fortuitous! In his usual cryptic tone, he wrote, “The concept of ‘How could this come back to haunt me in the future’ only seems to come with age.”

And in my very cryptic tone, I responded, “What are you talking about?”

To which he responded, “When you’re young, you don’t think of the consequences of your actions.”

Well, duh! Did he think he discovered the origin of life?

There followed some reminders to him of his youthful follies, and a subtle vague response which led me to believe that he actually did not want to follow that path. Why then, did he bring it up? Perhaps, his Peter Pan persona is faltering as he faces the reality of actually coming face-to-face with being twice the age of the hippie slogan “Never trust anyone over the age of 30”.

You might remember from your history books, or from real life, what it was like to live during my son’s “coming of age” – in the turbulent 1960s – the burgeoning of Rock & Roll, the explosion of the drug culture, Woodstock, Vietnam protests, civil rights upheavals, political and racial assassinations, convention riots, all of which make today’s political porridge seem tame by comparison (so far). And so, we never went much further than his musing about youthful poor judgment (a mild description of the blatant behaviors of his and too many other kids of that era.)

But time slogs on at its sure-fire pace – slow or speedy depending on your vantage point, and there are different, though, in some ways, similar, triggers fueling the behavior of young people today. The major difference, however, is that everything they do is indelibly recorded for eternity – and, sure as shootin’, they are not thinking that some of it ‘will come back to haunt me’.

All of which makes my participation in the support group called My Generation held at the Faulk Center For Counseling in Boca Raton (www.faulkcenterforcounseling.org) such an enlightening experience. With a mix of high school teenagers and older adults sharing their stories, and many of their now extinct (adults) or current (kids) customs, experiences and relationships, the interaction results in a greater understanding and acceptance of each other, and provides an educational and emotional high for each age group.

And, since May is Mental Health Awareness Month, this is a reminder that physical health is dependent on mental health, and that society needs to recognize and respond with equal drive to the concerns of each.

Since Mother’s Day is upon us, another reminder, that mothering (indeed, parenting) is the most important job any of us have, and as the stimuli around us become ever more potent, the job becomes ever more difficult and more demanding of attention. So, let’s hear it for the moms, as well as the kids who actually consider the consequences of their actions – now or whenever.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Adventure revisited

Posted on 07 April 2016 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

Bet you never heard of Cades Cove, an enclave in the Great Smokey Mountain Range in Tennessee, pioneered in the 18th century by Cherokee Indians. Wikipedia has recorded its rich history, but nowhere is there any mention of the 1987 adventure of Ivy and Emily, rolling blissfully in the lineup of haystacks placed in the heart of this mountainous retreat … hundreds of haystacks deftly linked together like railroad tracks, for what possible purpose remains a mystery to this day. It does not matter.

What does matter is that Ivy, at age 30, and Emily, at age 60, spent a few hours off the trail rolling, lolling, giggling and squealing like 6-year-olds, sniffing the tangy, earthy scent, enduring the stray strands of dry twigs adhering to our warm up suits, (it was November) inebriated with mountain air and becoming completely mindless in the ecstasy of the moment —two city girls — women — who had never before been up front and close to a haystack. Okay, so it wasn’t sex. But some experiences come damned close.

When we came down from our high, walking toward the car to continue our road trip from Westchester County in New York to our Los Angeles destination, it went like this:

Emily: “Ivy, when you’re 60 and I’m 90, we’ll have to do something like this again.”

Ivy: “That’s a promise.”

Ivy had been my son’s live-in girlfriend. They broke up amicably and she decided to move to California to be close to her parents who had recently relocated there. She packed up her tiny Honda Civic, with her art supplies and personal effects, and mapped out her solo route to the left coast.

Ivy,” I said when she announced her plan to me (she and I had become buddies). “Do you really want to take that trip alone?”

Are you kidding? I’m dreading it. I wish I could find someone to go with me.”

Thus, we became the two generation, cross-country travelers of the late ‘80s. That trip has already been recorded in all of its quirky iterations, stops along strange by-ways, plans made and tossed, and remade, sketching the richness and diversity of people, culture, landscape and noteworthy encounters.

Twenty nine years have since passed. Ivy and I have kept in touch. For the curious, neither she nor my son have married – much to the betterment of any who might have succumbed to either of them. Both are happy in their singlehood, but that’s another story.

The e-mail I received from her a few weeks ago said, “Emily! We waited 29 years. My parents aren’t well. Who knows what next year will bring. I don’t want to wait another year to keep our promise. Let’s do it NOW!”

And so, plans were made. We’re meeting in Phoenix in May en route to Sedona, a different one of our enchanted places. Ivy is in charge of finding the haystacks. If that doesn’t work, there are plenty of mountains to climb.

 

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: My b-a-a-d

Posted on 03 March 2016 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

It was a Saturday night and I was “frolicking” with a group of friends when my smart phone signaled that I had received a text. I tell you that I am obsessed about not answering those damn gadgets in a social situation. To me, this is the height of rudeness. Nonetheless, something made me take a quick glance at the screen which told me in a nanosecond that Justice Scalia had died. I could not squelch my initial reaction, which was an audible, “Yay!” bringing a number of friends to my side to share what seemed to be my good news.

I tell you this in the spirit of a confessional. It is one of those moments of which I am not proud. True, the good Justice had handed down decisions that were completely anathema to me, and sent me virtually screaming in the dark, trying for a split minute each time to fathom the rationale that would arrive at a place so far beyond the range of what I considered to be rational.

And then the media – overjoyed at the prospect of being diverted from the Trump Travesty – began to expose the Life of Scalia and my closed mind began to open. In a typically narrow-minded political vise, I had not bothered to view him as a person, but saw only one side of the man and made my judgment according to my ignorance. People do that, and it’s so wrong.

I began to see him as a principled man of high intelligence and humor who just happened to see things from a perspective different from mine – but nonetheless an honest one. Was I an “originalist” as regards the interpretation of the constitution? I had given it some thought as major SCOTUS decisions were highlighted by the media, but my thoughts were fleeting as life continued to “happen.”

But that’s for another treatise. The fact that Scalia’s judgment had national consequences that I found to be abhorrent is what living in a democracy is all about. The fact that I could not separate the man from his views is scary in this time of political parody and lack of civility – and I do not want to fall in line with political haters. The more I looked into the life of Antonin Scalia, the more I could admire his qualities as a human being who felt as passionately about his views as I do about mine. Mankind is not monolithic. We are all “many people” in one body.

We talk about tolerance all the time. We talk about acceptance. We talk about coming together. We talk about compromise. These are the high values that truly make America great. It is worth noting that the Roman Empire fell into decline as onlookers cheered the gladiators for their fierceness at dirty fighting.

And so, with all due respect, and a lesson learned, I can acknowledge with sorrow, the demise of a patriot and one who was true to himself. May he rest in peace.

 

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