| Everything’s Coming Up Rosen

Everything’s Coming Up Rosen:Torn apart

Posted on 04 October 2018 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

Within the last several days, I’ve started this column a half dozen times. But with events moving faster than it takes a palmetto bug to scurry under the furniture in Florida, I’ve had to change its course that many times. I think I have alighted on its final theme: Senator Flake’s small “stitch” in the fabric of our country, citing his sad lamentation that it is being “torn apart.”

In a review of the book, The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War by Joanne Freeman in last Sunday’s book review section of the New York Times, the reviewer, began: “So, you think Congress is dysfunctional? …there was a time so polarized that politics generated a cycle of violence in Congress and out of it that led to the deadliest war in the nation’s history.”

Freeman unearthed an 11 volume document written between 1828 and 1870 revealing several of the most extreme physical clashes, almost to the point of murder that occurred on the senate floor leading up to and after the Civil War.

The review ends, “Freeman doesn’t make explicit comparisons between them and today. She doesn’t have to: a crippled Congress, opposing political sides that don’t communicate meaningfully… a seemingly unbridgeable cultural divide. Sound familiar? All that is missing is an Honest Abe to save us.”

From my own personal life experience and background, I easily honed in on the most significant truism above: the lack of meaningful communication. Meaningful communication is a skilled art that escapes many people especially during high tension emotional moments when dealing with the very core of their rigid belief system.

We all have rigid belief systems. That’s what makes us who we are. And how we handle these differences in belief systems, when it comes to relationships with others, is a function – not of our IQ but of our EQ – emotional intelligence. This is described by Daniel Goleman in his book of the same name and his many other subsequent writings on that and related subjects. It is a lesson in how to deal with people with whom you disagree without causing deadly combat. It’s not a secret, but you’ll have to read it for yourself.

Calling people derogatory names, demeaning them in public utterances and lashing out with damaging stereotypes rallies a crowd. And it also emboldens hatred of what is being sold as “the other.” This is so especially damaging because it is unnecessary when often those who engage in that kind of rhetoric have legitimately positive accomplishments to hype, which, alas, is boring compared to the hostile spate of playground warfare.

And so, Jeff Flake took the small step of displaying a willingness to be open-minded. But in the context of Congressional “steps” taken, it was an enormous step as he plowed through the vitriol wafting over the committee. Was it the elevator experience, or the sounds of a country being “torn apart?”

At this writing, there is no clue regarding the final outcome of the Kavanaugh nomination. So much of it went wrong on both sides. But there is much to say about the power of one vote, and much to say about the need to lower the rhetoric, to reach across the aisle, and to recognize that we are indeed living in a country that is being “torn apart,” and is crying out for leadership to bring us together.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Coincidences?

Posted on 05 September 2018 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

I don’t believe in co-incidences. I truly believe that the “all powerful” has created the ordered chaos we are feeling in our collective unconscious. Strange things happen in the universe but somehow the chaos does have order and meaning. We need not ponder very deeply to interpret it.

This past weekend, amidst warnings of violence and economic collapse, divisive talk, disparagement of many of the most stalwart pillars of democracy — our free press, our intelligence community — our need to prevent foreign intrusion into our Democracy — and a deep divide about the definition of “fake News” — amidst all that, we were pulled into the vortex of the real meaning of leadership, role-modeling and patriotism. The symbolism is not lost to those of us willing to acknowledge that some higher power has been working overtime to have produced this synchronicity of events — even to the matching death dates and alike diagnoses of John McCain and his across-the-aisle buddy Ted Kennedy.

Who cannot fail to recognize the juxtaposition of the timing and the impact, short term as it may turn out to be, of contrasts so stunningly illuminated? Who cannot be moved by the significance of character in leadership, and of the desperation with which we are now seeking a role model for the healing of our tribal severances? Are we asking too much to actually require a soupcon of virtue from our leadership — in addition to the nitty gritty of being or purporting to be — an “artful negotiator?”

And here’s the ultimate philosophical conundrum. We are a country worshipful of “winners.” We tend to throw our “losers” — as in second place-holders and even further-down-the-line losers — into the scrap heap of nonentities. And yet, in the lives of all of us, we have experienced “losing” at something. Losing often teaches us important lessons, often makes us better people. And, surely, losing is humbling. Humility counts for a lot in relationships, in accomplishing big things. It is a kind of secret quality, not often touted in expansive resumes but it has subtle life-enhancing power. It tends to even the playing field. And, contrary to some held opinions, it is not the antithesis of confidence or expertise — quite the opposite. It says I know how good I am and I can show it. I don’t need a bullhorn to make it understood.

So now, all the hoopla is over, and we’re back to reality. We’ve actually had it spelled out to us with the simplicity of a 1st grade reader. We’ve come face to face with contrasts. The non-coincidental acts empowered by the “all powerful” stand etched electronically for the world to see and repeat, and will, undoubtedly, be brought to the fore at each anniversary or as a reminder should any further act degrading our democracy come into play.

And even the Good Lord Herself will no doubt breathe a deep sigh as She intones the famous saying, “You can bring a horse to water. But you can’t make him drink.”

Or can you?

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Widowhood

Posted on 01 August 2018 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

My late husband trained me to be a widow. Well, of course, that was not his intention. Dead at age 87 for almost five years now, after our 59-year marriage, I thank him every day for my ability to meet the challenge of a new and different life after his life ended. I mourn the loss and think of him daily as I step into a world without him.

A product of marriage in the early 50s when men were breadwinners and the “little woman” stayed at home, he took his role to its maximum literal implication. At the end of each work day, his “job” was completed. Anything that had to do with “home” was included in my “job description.” And guess what, I did not know it could be otherwise. My dad had done the same.

I was “in charge” of mostly anything that kept our household together, including assignations with plumbers, electricians, general contractors and the kids. Well, that’s not entirely fair. It was pretty much 80-20 regarding most of the above. But, for sure, he was always there when we were choosing furniture — and ash trays (He was a cigar smoker!)

He never went to a bank. His secretary did that, then I did. And, in his later days, he had no interest in assembling or becoming informed about his tax information, which I did, obtaining his permanent signature. All this when he was in perfectly good health, mentally and physically.

Eventually, I trained him to remove dirty dishes from the table, and he actually graduated to removing dishes other than his own, placing them in the sink … dishwashers and washing machines — not his “thing.” He did learn how to “make” tea and turn on the toaster. I know, I know — but we’re not discussing co-dependency here. It worked for both of us.

Frequently, we traveled together to foreign destinations, and, at first, somewhat grudgingly, but eventually acceptingly, I traveled without him to wilderness locations in which he had no interest. We gave each other space to go places and do things that had no appeal to the other of us.

So now, I am alone with a very independent life – rich in its diverse nature. I am never lonely or bored, and I pursue activities that fulfill my need to be productive — often engaging in nostalgia, which translates into memories of pleasurable times. I hang on to my valued old friends but also have new much younger people in my life. It may be “a couples world,” but I have never felt uncomfortable navigating it. I savor my freedom to be my authentic self, to come and go and change my mind about both or either. And there is no household chore, or major choice that I am incapable of doing, “getting done” or making.

My children are loving and supportive and are probably waiting “for the other shoe to drop,” but, meanwhile, have no responsibilities — or even, decisions to make — regarding my life.

Sometimes I wonder if such independence makes me a social aberrant or might affect my ability to establish close relationships. I may never know the answer to that one, but it is just one more thing in life about which answers will never be forthcoming. I accepted that long ago.

Although I may not be the original “Merry Widow,” I discovered a new and exciting phase of life to which I have easily adapted — much thanks to my late husband.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Sprucing up your life — finding your bliss

Posted on 05 July 2018 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

A few days after her 85th birthday, on one of my frequent visits to her, my mother sidled up to me hesitantly, and almost apologetically said, “I’d like you to take me shopping.”

Of course, Ma,” I said.

What else is new?” I thought to myself, asking, “What do you want to buy?”

A new living room set,” she announced in the same tone as she might have said, “A bottle of milk.”

A what?” I asked.

A new living room set,” she reiterated,” this time in her most defiant voice.

What’s the matter with your living room?” I asked, sweeping my hand dramatically around the room, eyeing each piece of furniture as never before.

It’s old and I’m tired of it and I feel like sprucing up,” she said as she sat back in her comfy chair in her “I dare you to deny it” pose and folded her arms around her belly.

I sputtered a bit, shushing my thoughts, struggling to keep them away from my voice, “For God’s sake, you’re 85 years old — how much longer do you think you’ll be using new furniture?” and indeed, I silenced that voice. Eventually, I regained my equilibrium.

Ok, Ma. When do you want to go — and where?”

My mother lived eight more years, approximately 2,820 days, basking in the pleasure of her “spruced up” living room.

So why, at the age of 91, do I stare at my used underwear and think, “I can’t throw them away. They still fit, and are not torn and are undeniably serviceable — and how long am I likely to use new ones?”

Remembering my mom, I decided to “spruce up” from the bottom up.

And the more I think about it, the more I become an advocate of living as if there were no such thing as dying.

In deference to my progeny, I have always said that I can’t die until I clean up my desk, and throw away some more of the trash I didn’t throw away last time I threw away trash. So, tell me the truth: Isn’t the act of cleaning my desk tantamount to suicide? It paves the way for a smooth, easy, guilt-free trip to the hereafter. But what’s the rush?

People are living much longer these days — and for some, living now is better than the stressful days of their youth. For those of us who have managed to eschew doctor visits as the social activity of our daily lives, there is so much to be said about this time of life as being a new phase – a challenge of discovery. Even for those of us who are more sedentary now than in the past, there are more places we can go on the Internet than ever we might have imagined – physical places and places of the mind.

Joseph Campbell famously exhorted: “follow your bliss.” And, alas, after years of total immersion in family matters – bringing up kids, caring for elders, developing careers, creating social enclaves, too many people have lost their sense of bliss, or are unable to articulate it even to themselves. It is most likely something beyond buying new furniture, or bras. I’m thinking of giving a class to people over 80 in “Finding Your Bliss.” I hope some of you will enroll — or send a loved one.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: The sun will come out tomorrow

Posted on 07 June 2018 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

It was one of those endless rainy May days — this one, and at that particular moment, especially torrential. It was the kind of day that anyone who had a slight inclination towards depression could latch onto as an excuse to inhibit a smile or a warm hello. And there I was waiting for an elevator in the lobby of Boca Regional Hospital shaking out my soaked umbrella and shivering as my wet clothes were assaulted by the icy air conditioning. My ultimate destination: a visit with a friend who had experienced a series of orthopedic screw-ups landing her here for the second time in two weeks, and, she was a legitimately unhappy “camper.” What’s more, the elevators were operating on a “don’t-rush-me-I’ll-be-there-eventually” current.

You’re one smart lady,” said the 60-ish-year-old tall well put-together gentleman sitting on the waiting-bench, in clothes that looked like they hadn’t reached the washing machine rinse cycle, evidently unprepared for the sudden deluge.

Uh — you mean the umbrella?” I asked

Yeah. I usually keep about a half dozen of them in my car. And, dummy that I am, they are all still there,” he said in mild self-deprecation.

Well, here, would you want to use this to get one from your car – and I’ll wait at the entrance for you to return it?” I asked.

No, no, no, thanks. I’m going to visit my mother. I will probably be here for hours. Maybe the rain will stop by then, but thanks anyway,” he responded.

The elevator arrived and we entered together and, as it creeped vertically at a horse and buggy pace, this stranger, whose last name, “Friend,” I could read from the hospital ID pasted to his jacket — made my day.

Ya know,” he told me, “I buy a bunch of umbrellas at Walmart for a couple of bucks, cheap, ya know … and every so often, when it rains, I give them to people I see in the street — some of them homeless, others just caught in a mess of rain getting battered and wet. They are so surprised and grateful — and I just keep on driving.”

What a great thing to do!

Then, “Friend” exited from the elevator on the floor below mine — poof and gone!

I had just enough time to reconfigure my negative thoughts for the day. By God, the “good people” are going to win. Assaulted day and night in all venues by the ugliness and selfishness, and corruption and veniality, that seemingly has overtaken our social norms, we tend to forget — or not be exposed to — the inherent good that goes on behind the pages of newspapers and the cable newsrooms. And I reminded myself, as I so often have to do lately, that good and evil have been in conflict since the beginning of time. Nor is that conflict ever likely to abate. And, by my calculation, “good” still had the statistical edge.

And with an extra bounce, I entered my friend’s hospital room with this story on my tongue noting the quick change of expression on her face – from a deep frown of physical pain to her old smile. We both know that the sun will come out tomorrow — well, maybe the next day — but eventually.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Another birthday – OMG … so many!

Posted on 04 April 2018 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

Well, I am having another birthday this month. It‘s a biggie plus one — not a big deal. But, here’s the thing … after all these years, I’ve learned so much, not only about living, but living well. And now, I would like to start all over again.

But would I?

Mistakes, I have made, of course. Who hasn’t! But that’s part of the mix, and “starting all over,” with the aim of perfection, is destined to become a life without pain or challenge, kind of Barbie and Ken life. I’m not into boring.

So what’s my secret and what have I learned? My secret is not a secret. I have been blessed with just plain luck and the willingness to acknowledge that fact. I was born to two loving parents in the U.S.A., a minute before the great depression, at a time when unimagined evil was brewing in Europe. I didn’t know we were poor because all the people we knew were enduring the same economic struggle. We weren’t poverty-poor, just walk-instead-of-paying-for-a-bus poor.

And I was blessed with many genetic assets — none of which came to me as a result of any struggle or effort on my part, most importantly, good health for which I do take some slight responsibility in the sense that I adhere to the rules … in full recognition that some others who also adhere to the rules are just not as lucky. I have an even, calm temperament. It comes without effort. I am not even sure that I own a temper. I don’t crave sweets, alcohol or caffeine, and the one time I inhaled a cigarette at age 16, I choked with such fury that I swore I would never do it again, which inhibits my ability to get any of the oft-touted results of weed. By some standards, this could make me a bore. Luckily (again) I was born a good listener and most people need to feel heard. “Feeling heard” trumps being bored.

And, although I never knew it until someone pointed it out to me, my personal life philosophy is in direct compliance with the Serenity Prayer: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. My own version of this is layered on the concept of expectations.

And this is the most important thing I have learned in all my many years … I am easily able to recognize the difference between reasonable expectations, as in it is reasonable to expect my friend to check her e-mail messages at least every few days, if not more often. She always promises to do so, but often it takes weeks … and realistic expectations, as in she simply will not check her messages frequently; to recognize that it is reasonable to expect your husband to join you at a family event but, in some cases, the reality is that he believes he has reasons for refusing.

I have learned to train myself to expect only what’s realistic, which eliminates a whole range of toxic emotions: disappointment, hurt, anger, rage and down the line from there. Sounds simple but too many people cannot distinguish the difference between reasonable and realistic, especially in their personal relationships. It’s worth working on.

Actually, I learned a lot more, so far, in this lifetime. For instance, I learned how to make a really good quiche today — my first. Every day, I learn something new. Life is good.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Join my club

Posted on 08 March 2018 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

I am the self-appointed president/dictator of “The Bleeding Tongues” club. We (“I”) do not yet have a sophisticated organization and so I am acting in my additional capacity as membership chairperson.

Here is the very simple criteria for membership. Listen up, young people. You may soon be one of us.

1) You must be the parent of an adult child. This entitles you to a Category One membership.

2) As a parent of a married adult child, you become a Category Two member. Dues decrease as your category number increases, because – I said so.

3) The parent of a married adult child with children of his or her own hits the jackpot as a Category Three member, with dues deferment.

Adult children, of course, refers to anyone over the age of 18, until which age you have nominal and legal control (responsibility) over some very specific areas of their lives – namely – money! Beyond 18, we are talking (legally) optional. Until that age they behave as if they believe themselves to be adults. At 18, they know they are adults and separation from parents is the nirvana many of them seek.

This is when you have lost control. Sure, a nice “let me tell you why I believe there is a better way to handle this” sometimes works. But, when it doesn’t and the “adult kid” is determined to do something that is nuts (which may actually not be nuts, but I’m on your side here), that’s when it’s time for the tongue to go back in its cage, possibly with a slight nip.

As your adult children with children of their own (especially, but not limited to – teenage kids) wrestle with the unbridled spirits who have absolute certainty that their parent (your child) is a bloomin’ idiot who has never been their age and surely has no sensitivity or understanding of their feelings, (never meander into a dangling sentence like this) — then these adults in their crazed state will inspire you to tell them a thing or two about raising kids.

The bottom line is watch it all happen and keep your mouth shut. Put your tongue back in your head, bite a little harder and somehow manage to say “yes, dear.” He or she has enough trouble from the other end and doesn’t need any mouth from you, much as you have wisdom on your side.

You will want (here, I am conjecturing) to maintain the most respectful and loving relationship possible with your own progeny. You do not accomplish this by criticizing, or by suggesting that they don’t know how to parent, and that if they would only do it your way, it will transform the kids (your grandkids) into – what’s the English word for “Mensch?” And if you start to notice a bit of blood oozing from your tongue [as you bite it], well, so be it.

For those of you in categories 1 and 2 – you’ll be dealing with your child’s choice of college, career, friendships, lifestyle and — oh, Lord! — choice (or non-choice) of spouse.

This, of course, will give you a head start on hauling in the tongue, especially the last one. With the discipline you’ve learned from these experiences, you will be eligible for Category Three Membership in the Bleeding Tongues Club wherein we provide shoulders to cry on, plenty of free tissues, and pathways to a free-er life wherein you will learn to find joy and fulfillment without giving your kids the benefit of your infinite wisdom — at which time, the bleeding will stop.

Applications at my email address.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Cyber-stuff

Posted on 31 January 2018 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

This will meander around cyber-stuff – in some of its iterations – finally landing on love. Be patient … It comes at the end. It is, after all, February.

Decadent as this may sound, I am an e-mail person, a throwback to actual letters in an actual mailbox. Ancient people like myself have a hard time keeping up with the speed of modern written communication. And truth is, it was not very long ago — you might even remember the days — when you could be fairly certain that an e-mail you sent would be received and read within about 24 hours or even sooner.

But, alas, today, if you want your e-mail to be read, you need to Facebook, (that’s become a verb) tweet, text, message (also a verb) or, God forbid, make an actual telephone call to remind the recipient to check her email. And, by then – why bother? Just repeat the content of the message on the phone. But which phone? Landline? Cell? WhatsApp? and the dozens more free phone call apps that I don’t know about. Is this all part of “You can’t be too thin or too rich” and now it’s too “cyber-social?” Or is this the definition of “excess?” Are we really in a contest to find out who has the most “friends” or a contest to label the person with the most cyber social outlets?

I really need to vent at people who “message” me on Facebook. Why can’t they simply e-mail the message to me directly? Once I go to Facebook — and please don’t encourage me to do that — I lose hours meandering all over the place, collecting information about people I mostly don’t much care about. It’s becoming a kind of voyeurism … and a local version of the famous gossip page 6 of the New York Post. Don’t you just love those baby pictures?

And finally, I will tackle the angst of finding love in cyberspace, as this is “love month.” I recently gave a workshop for people interested in writing a profile for a dating site — a kind of combination of getting to “know who you are” before knowing how to find the person you want as a companion. To the many of you who have infiltrated this segment of society, your stories are worthy of publication. Matches don’t come easily and the mismatches can be disappointing, but also hilarious.

And the number and variety of dating services seem to be increasing exponentially … and now available in several apps — Bumble, Tinder, Hinge. It won’t be long before someone will open a website as a “Cyber Navigator” to help those of us to come to these “newbies” way behind everyone else. But, sooner or later, we get there. It helps to have “kin” in their teens and early 20s.

So have fun in cyber space and come down to Earth every once in a while where love still abounds in massive doses – and I wish it to you all.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Bye Bye 2017

Posted on 04 January 2018 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

A year of transition was 17 — unlike any year I remember

Polarization to the max, right through the end of December.

Snuggling each in corners apart, the Rs and the Ds stood their ground

Playing the game of political chess, or more like kids on a merry-go-round.

For some quick reminders these names I will cite, lest they fade from the memory scene

I’ll add some events only because they’re germane to “17.”

The “coronation” of Donald Trump as our 45th Pres-i-dent

The proliferation of “tweets” from him, displaying his child-like bent

The March of Women the following day, a clue that dissension was real

And the staunch support he received from his base, a sign of the strength of their zeal.

Will the following folks still be around as part of our “household” names

As “18” rolls on and filters them out — and brings us some “midterm” games?

Bannon, Comey, Rosenstein, Flynn, Manifort, Papadopoulos

Kaepernick, Spicer, Huckabee-Sanders, but not the turtles in the Galapagos.

Preibus, Kelly, Conway and Kushner, Junior, Ivanka and more

Life at Mar-a-Lago, where the lingo begins with “fore”

Harvey, Irma, Maria, Mayor Cruz of old San Juan

Non Hero” McCain kills healthcare “reform;” he recognizes a “con.”

Bob Mueller, Neil Gorsuch and Vladimir P. and “Little Rocket Man” too

Las Vegas and Charlottesville (shades of the Klan) and Weinstein producing “#metoo”

Charlie Rose and Matt Lauer, no-jokin’ Al Franken, and others caught up in the web

The grabs and the touches, the lack of respect will hopefully be on the ebb.

Will we move our Israeli embassy or was that merely meant to alarm?

And what to do about “alternate facts?” Do they cause societal harm?

Is the “Free Press” only doing its job or is a “witch hunt” underway?

Will the Russian investigations finally end some day?

The Dreamers still are dreaming and the Muslim Ban engenders fears

No wall yet — but hark! It looks like there’s still 3 more years

The “tax cut” passed by a hair — and one of the winners was Don

And the stock market’s racing skyward. How long can that go on?

Surely, the year’s entertainer was President Donald J. Trump

But the character of our nation — underwent a significant bump

Presidents should role-model values — of love, respect and peace

And language is how that translates — as a country we can’t let that cease.

So bye bye to 17 — May 18 bring us together

All of us love our country — and that makes us birds of a feather.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Goodwill to all

Posted on 07 December 2017 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

I had never met David Eller in person; despite that, I’ve been writing a column for this paper since — actually I lost count, but my guess would be since the early 2000s when Judy Wilson was the editor. I’ve written about everything under the sun, except the thing I am most passionate about — politics. Pretty nearly early on, it was clear that my political beliefs were at the opposite pole from Mr. Eller’s and I was very politely asked to [refrain from expressing my personal opinion], which presented me with two options: to write about other “stuff” or to walk away on my “high horse” telling myself that I was standing up for my ‘principles.’ But, what was my most basic principle?

In truth it didn’t take long for me to come up with an answer, and the main belief that I had in common with Mr. Eller was that it is a good thing that we live in a capitalist society – and that citizens still had the freedom of choice. He owned the newspaper and had the right to set the rules. I was free to stay on his terms or go. I respected his wishes and stayed. I was free to express my opinions in other venues.

And in reading his obituary this past week, I was privileged to meet the human being who was more than his politics and who was such a positive and important influence on his community. This got me to thinking — continue thinking — how important it is for us, in this era of such turmoil, distrust and insidious vituperation on both sides — to cool it, to listen to opposing views as they are expressed with the same sincerity and passion as my own views and to respect our differences, without inserting the element of hatred. It is the “hatred” that is poisoning us.

We’re living in a cement mixer of societal changes and daily we are witnessing major differences between what is acceptable today and what was “then.” Some of it will be seen as good and some as bad, and even within that framework people will differ. And I so much believe that it is our differences that make us strong and innovative and creative as a society. A monolithic belief system creates a staleness that leads to decay. It is no accident that we are not a planet of clones.

And so, as the “Peace on Earth, Goodwill Toward Men” season descends once again, it is the last part of that prayer that we need especially to heed, before the first part will ever become a reality i.e. “goodwill,” especially, toward the humans with whom we have what seems to be incompatible belief systems. We need to understand that people aren’t all one thing. Let’s look for other qualities that make up their character, qualities we can admire and respect.

I send my deepest condolences to the Eller and Observer family, and my everlasting hope for “Goodwill towards men” and that includes a heartfelt Happy Chanukah, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa and good holiday time to all.

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