Tag Archive | "everything"

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For better or for worse

Posted on 03 October 2019 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen



I met my late husband on a blind date in 1952, the year Adlai Stevenson (Democrat) was running for President against General Dwight D. Eisenhower. (Republican) We were both political junkies — Democrats, and, since he was still in dental school, I had to be a “cheap date.” And so he “courted” me at free Stevenson rallies. We were very vociferous and proactive, and despondent over our loss when Eisenhower won.

Fast forward to a time when we were married and my husband was finally earning money — which was about the time he switched parties and voted for Nixon. Our “mixed marriage” survived all 57 years until his demise in 2013. We listened respectfully to each other, recognized the extent to which we were both “dug into” our (his “new”) belief system and learned from each other. We didn’t think the other was stupid, ignorant, scheming or unpatriotic. (He was a veteran of the Battle of the Bulge). Neither thought the other was a “bad” person, based on our political beliefs — or on anything else for that matter.

I will admit there were times when I entertained ideas about how to keep him away from the voting booth on election day, or tearing up his vote-by-mail ballot when I saw it in the out-mail box, but they never materialized. And so we both experienced political ups and downs as Nixon was followed by four more Republican presidents in my husband’s lifetime (not in this order): Ford, Reagan, Bush (1), Bush (2) and three Democrats: Carter, Clinton and Obama.

And I will never know if he would have become the “No Trump” Republican as did so many conservatives of our acquaintance. And I won’t even conjecture for this writing.

But I do know several “mixed marriage” couples now who are having a hard time with their relationship over this issue. I know, too, of dating couples who have either broken up over it or, if seeking a partner, have placed politics as an issue among their top criteria for a match.

What has happened to past civility and respect for our differences? For me, this is the single most frightening aspect of our current political climate. If we could only shed the idea that our disagreements make us natural enemies…

I must admit, I get stymied when I ask people from “the other side,” “Are you not outraged by the disrespect and direct defiance of law, or by inciting language or by lack of transparency ?” and I discover the answer, in most cases, to be “Well, I don’t like it, but it doesn’t  affect my support” followed by some version of a reference to “wonderful policies” and “what “everybody else” does. And that’s when I pull back and realize what “dug into” means. It means, “I ain’t budging” — and it comes from both sides.

So, it is true. I may not budge and they may not budge, which should not make us enemies. This is where history is such a balm. When I read about some of the most bellicose periods our country has experienced during its few hundred years of existence, I am comforted to know that we have always managed to survive in relative unity. This one may be the ultimate test.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Reality? Truth?

Posted on 05 July 2019 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen



I was always a big fan of “reality.” My relationship with Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy didn’t last very long. Myths, magical realism, religious stories based on fantasy were fun but always overruled by my skepticism and, to some extent, distrust.

Having adults tell me lies made me feel like my intellect was being demeaned. How stupid did they think I was to believe that the prince actually climbed up Rapunzel’s hair to the tower to rescue her?  

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed Mother Goose and Cinderella like most kids, but I was never caught up in the magic of dismissing my belief system. I always took great comfort in what I knew was reality. I relied on truth as the one steady reliable “thing” in life, and, if the truth was bad for me, I could handle it because I knew it to be indisputable, and I knew I had to change circumstances and formulate a different truth for myself.

I believe that I can speak for many others who dare to think of the ramifications of the crumbling of the nature of “truth.” We are living during a period of major societal disruption, and the loss of reality seems to be pushing us over the edge.

Surely in political circles, there are very distinct “realities” — different “truths” held to be equally immutable by each side. Anyone who switches from [one cable newscast to others] is transported to a completely different reality. The question is can society live peaceably within a state of two palpably different realities. I am not talking about two opposing belief systems. This is different. I am talking about viewing the same set of circumstances and transmitting different interpretations to the brain. And this is where my faith in reality falters. Perhaps, it (reality) actually doesn’t exist.

And so with these musings in mind, and in recognition that we are again celebrating our most significant national holiday, I transition to the revered words of Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self evident: that all “men” are created equal [with women and African Americans relegated to lesser status],  that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights — that among them are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

I look at those words these 243 years later and suppress a groan of incredulity. Those truths were self evident? Those truths were acclaimed during all these years as being sacred to the values of our country, and yet how fictitious they were, and how for two centuries — centuries! —“all men” were certainly not deemed to have been created as the “equal” to white-skinned men, by any stretch of the political, social or economic imagination. And, in our blustering “patriotism,” we got away with worshiping those hollow deceitful words.

Perhaps non-white men and women, as well as people regarded as “other,” might soon produce a declaration of their own that can be interpreted by all as a mirror of truth and reality and can be revered as an updated document to which we will be proud to pledge our allegiance.

We honor Thomas Jefferson and our founders for their political genius and for guiding us in the direction of our not yet perfect union. We can still do better and, hopefully, will never stop trying. And maybe someday, the larger truth to which we all aspire, may be monolithic.

Happy Barbecue or whatever you do to celebrate our gratitude for an ever striving-to-be-great country.

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