As Americans, we have the unfortunate habit of thinking about others by seeing their actions and reactions from our point of view. We put ourselves in their figurative shoes, i.e., we know about their situations, constraints, advantages and options, but we don't know what is going on in their minds. This may be due to our relative lack of diversity, the geographic size of our nation or our relatively insular upbringing.
The first two months of 2014 are all but done, and there is only a little more than eight months left until the midterm elections. The House is projected to remain Republican. In the Senate, the seats up for election are currently split between 21 Democratic seats and 15 Republican seats. This difference in open Senate seats, combined with a midterm election, a sluggish economy, and the decline of President Obama's international performance creates an opportunity for the Republicans to potentially pick up the Senate.
Thursday is my mother's birthday; she would have been 78. This is the first year that she won't be with us to celebrate, but will be in heaven looking down. In my mind, she is still with us in spirit and love.
They can make fun of us if they want. Georgians know that grace and generosity are more important than blame. While others may make fun and cast blame, the important stories are not about how weather happens, snow comes and we get caught in traffic jams for hours or how we abandon cars and pick them up a day to two later. The real stories are about strangers handing out food and water, stores and restaurants welcoming those who are stranded, providing them shelter for the night. They are of neighbors getting together for large dinners, friends walking miles to ...
Two ads are seared into my memory from childhood. One is by Keep America Beautiful for Earth Day in 1970. The commercial portrayed what appeared to be an American Indian crying over the pollution that littered our country. Later, we found out the actor was neither an Indian nor really crying.
As parents of two middle-schoolers (eighth grade and sixth), my husband and I spend time attempting to help them develop characteristics that we believe are useful and good.
My mother's father died of cancer before I was born. My mother was pregnant with me, but had not told her father that she was to have a second child. The story I've been told is that they opened him up to remove the cancer -- and found it everywhere. They closed him back up and sent him home to die.
The start of the year is when many companies, organizations, families and people review their plans and their priorities. This process often includes deciding where they should focus their time, energy and effort, and how to judge, at year's end, whether they have succeeded.
The discord between Democrats and Republicans regarding the three-month extension of unemployment benefits will be used by the Democrats for political fodder against the Republicans, if Republicans let them.
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In order to win next month, Republican nominee Mitt Romney will have to articulate the reason why the choice for him is right. The choice has to be about more than Mitt Romney, and really about more than President Barack Obama. The compelling choice should contrast the very different futures each man would seek to create. The ability to describe and contrast two potential visions of the future -- one under Obama and the other under Romney -- will likely prove key to who wins.
Ronald Reagan had this linguistic ability, which he honed over decades of work.
The Obama administration's policies are bad. Bad in the sense that the policies are morally corrupting. They take money and control away from people and give them to government bureaucrats, who then decide what should be done. The policies encourage people to be less responsible personally and to rely more on the government.
The challenge for modern-day campaigns is that the rapid speed of the news cycle ensures that new news is created on a daily basis, even when it is not really news. Blame the hunger for something novel and fresh that can eat up time on the 24-hour cable news channels.
The question this fall is clear: Do we want a president who cares for others but is not competent or a president who might care, if he could just show it, but has proved his competence?
One of my mother's favorite sayings is to do the best you can with what you have at the time. She should know.
In politics, where there are more men than women in elected positions, it's easy to get the impression that men matter most. You see them on TV, see their pictures in the paper, hear them pontificating on the issues on TV and radio.
So it may surprise you to learn that women matter more than might be evident. Why? They outvote men.
We are less than three months out from the presidential election. Yes, I know that it seems as if it has already lasted forever, but so far, it's simply been the warm-up.
Here's my first admission: I'm a geek. In school, I was the bookish girl who kept her head down during class and barely talked with other students. A bit of a nerd, geek or whatever other slang word would fit at the time. A voracious reader, I spent most lunch hours during my eighth-grade year reading in the library. It was easier to go there than it was to endure the process of trying to find someone to sit with in the cafeteria.
Our fascination with the Olympics goes beyond the near-perfect performances of the athletes. It also includes their stories. We watch and experience the trials and triumphs of people who fail, who get up and who triumph once again. Possibly through watching how Olympians perform under pressure, we can learn how to perform under pressure, as well.
Two examples stand out in my mind from this week, in women's gymnastics and men's swimming.
I'm ready for the Olympic Games, ready to watch the best athletes in the world giving it all they have. I'm ready to be inspired.
After a long Republican presidential primary soap opera, continuing mediocre economic news, ongoing information on the Greek crisis, the current silliness of the presidential campaign quips of the day, and last week's tragedy in Aurora, Colo., Americans are in desperate need of inspiration.
When I think of the word enthusiasm, I am reminded of a scene out of the 1987 movie "The Untouchables" about gangster Al Capone. In the scene, Capone (played by Robert De Niro) is walking around a table that is surrounded by his men. As he walks, he talks.
What are Americans interested in? According to a Gallup poll released on June 14, it's the economy, in a variety of forms.
The poll found that "68 percent of Americans mention some aspect of the economy when asked about the most important problem facing the country today, with the economy in general (31 percent) and unemployment (25 percent) most often mentioned as specific concerns." (Poll of 1,004 adults, conducted June 7-10, with a sampling error of plus-or-minus 4 points.)
There is something special about looking forward to something. Knowing that there is something good that is going to happen, or even might happen, gives us a reason to get up a bit earlier and work a bit harder. Optimism is the fuel that leads us to put our noses to the grindstone and persevere in the face of the inevitable setbacks.
We declared our independence from Great Britain 236 years ago next week. It was a declaration long in coming, brought about by the overreaching rule of King George III and Britain's insistence on taxation without representation.
John Winthrop, the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, crossed the ocean from England to New England aboard the Arabella in early 1630. While aboard, he penned a directive that he read to those traveling with him either while they were still on board the ship or shortly after they had disembarked that June in Salem. Most of them were Puritans, who were leaving England for religious freedom as well as to start afresh in a New World, as directed by God.