Stay Calm…And Vote!

We are only a few days from the Presidential election in the U.S. Joe Biden has a stable lead over Donald Trump that is outside the margin of error (which is very good thing for those of us who have had enough of Trump and Trumpism). However, we need to stay steady in our resolve to vote and get others to vote who are similarly tired of the way things are under Trump. Yesterday a friend in the U.S. sent me this comment from Facebook made by a Canadian: “Living just North of the United States these last four years has been like living in an apartment above a meth lab.” Well said, eh?

These last few days are going to be tough. We are going to hear a lot of different things on the news and via social media. Some of it is going to make us smile, some of it will enrage us, some of it will make us cry…in other words, it is going the same as every other day since November 8, 2016. Okay, maybe they will be a little tougher because the collective anxiety of the country is rising.

Nate Silver, the data nerd behind the polling website FiveThirtyEight. wrote a really excellent blog piece this last week titled 8 Tips to Stay Sane in the Final 15 Days of the Campaign. Take a look at his blog and breathe a bit easier…but do not stop voting, campaigning, calling, encouraging, and gently pushing others to vote as well. I will not go into the details of how FiveThirtyEight calculates everthing but there are two things I want to highlight.

First, Silver and his cohort of other data nerds run 40,000 computer simulations on possible outcomes of the Presidential Election. In 88% of those, Biden wins.

Second, FiveThirtyEight continuously calculates the average of polls in the U.S. so when you see, for example, that Biden is leading Trump by 9.7%, that is an average of those polls. Now, it is also important to note that FiveThirtyEight has assessed the polls for bias, rigor, method, etc., etc. When you filter the polls, you find those that have a C or higher grade, actually give Biden a larger lead.

Silver’s blog is really interesting because he explains some of this in greater detail. He also cautions, though, that there are limits to statistcal modeling. This means that while Trump has only a 13% chance of winning, he only needed a 30% chance of winning in 2016 to pull it off.

So, let’s stay calm AND let’s keep focused on finishing strong!

In Other News…well, COVID-19 News Anyway

Last week we hit new daily high in the number of COVID-19 cases. We are nearly back up to the same level of confirmed infections as we were in the height of the pandemic in the Spring.

We learning that something now in the U.S. that we learned last March from Masks4All – masks work. Recent research is showing there is a correlation between the number of people who report wearing masks and the number of people who know someone COVID-19 symptoms by geography. Check out the striking graphic within the article. Those who are less inclined to wear masks know more people with COVID-19 symptoms.

Over time, we learn more about the Coronavirus. Sometimes we forget its full name, right? It is the NOVEL Coronavirus which means we never saw it before, had no best practices related to it, and have to learn about it as we go. So, as a result what we know today may be different from what we new yesterday. So, remember how the medical experts have been saying that social interaction with someone who is a carrier of the virus should be less than 15 minutes? Turns out that is 15 minutes over a 24 hour period…not 15 minutes, then take a bathroom break, then 15 minutes more.

In a bit of good news, turns out a 14-year-old may have discovered a potential COVID-19 treatment at her free time…while sheltering in place. Sure makes me feel like I’ve a sloth during the pandemic.

In Other Scary News…

Trump now has the ability to replace civil servants with loyalists. Does this mean Dr. Anthony Fauci is about to be terminated? Stand by!

In Other Infuriating News…

Just as I was putting this blog to bed I got a text from a good friend from my native state of Iowa. He and his spouse tested positive for COVID-19 today and both are showing symptoms. By age and underlying health conditions, both were at risk for contracting the virus and now both are at risk of complications.

The couple has done everything they can do to avoid infection…masking up, social distancing, and even staying away from community activities, including their church where they have been been very active. We are talking very small town Iowa here. Community and church activities are nearly unavoidable but they have been avoiding them when possible, and when it wasn’t, masking and distancing on their own. They were also trying to shelter in place until the derecho that blew threw Iowa in late Summer destroyed their home. They have been in the process of rebuilding it but they have been camping out at a borrowed home in the area.

How could this happen?!? Because Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds is an idiot and has been in lockstep with the Grand Master of Idiots from day one. Add to that, too many people in Iowa who have been following her idiotic lead by not masking up or keeping distance. Just as the legacy of Trump will be the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans, Reynolds legacy will be the deaths of thousands of Iowans.

Four months ago, while my adopted home state of Maryland was struggling to breathe under the weight of COVID-19, Iowa was still largley untouched. Today, according to the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracker, Iowa is now catching up. There are over 117,000 confirmed cases in Iowa (not counting my two friends yet) to Maryland’s 141,000+. In terms of deaths, Maryland has registered 4,100+ deaths to Iowa’s 1600+ but it may be only a matter of time.

That’s what it was back in May when COVID-19 was pummeling Maryland and it was still “fake news” to Governor Reynolds…no, wait, it is STILL “fake news” to her because it is to the Grand Master Idiot as well.

Tonight I’m angry that my friends are sick. I’m worried sick about them. This did not have to be! They did the right things, so how did it happen? Because there is a pervasive fallacy that masking protects the wearer. That’s not even half true. In reality, masking protects everyone from you and from me! You and I cannot know for sure that we are not asymptomatic carriers.

Wearing a mask, keeping distance, and washing hands is an act of compassion and caring. It shows our character, our values, and our true patriotism because we understand that, really, we are all in this together. Is that too much to ask? Or is idiocy preferred? We’ll know soon enough now.

Beau of the Fifth Column

My friend K.D. introduced me to Beau’s YouTube talks. I’ve watch several now and I must say, I’m pretty impressed. A pretty thoughtful guy though I don’t think Beau and I would agree about everything. Still, I think I could have a very interesting, useful, and respectful conversation with him. With the holidays and family gatherings coming up – hopefully more virtual than in person, please – Beau’s got some pretty solid advice in this video. Check it out!

The View from Jeff

Jeff continues to align his drawings this month with prompts from Inktober.

Jeff Explains: Todays prompt is “Radio” and it made me think of the boombox in the dressing room of my Bantam A hockey team – the Regina Pythons.


This. Makes. Me. So. Angry.

National Public Radio and news outlets throughout the United States and world reported this number today. What is the number? Why is it significant?

You will remember that Trump and his minions, in 2017, decided it was a good idea to deter the flow of undocumented people from Latin America countries south of the U.S./Mexico border by kidnapping their children. (Thank you, cowardly lawyers and Trump sycophants Jeff Sessions and Rod Rosenstein for making it “legal” for the U.S. to get into the kidnapping and human trafficking business.). In 2018 the ACLU sued and a court ordered the reunification of children with their families. However, there were about 1,000 families which were not covered by that order.

Of those approximately 1,000 families, there are 545 children whose parents still cannot be found according to the U.S. Justice Department and the ACLU. NBC reports that some of the parents who have been found elected to leave their children in the U.S. with family members or sponsors for fear of their child’s safety back in their home country. Yet parents of 545 children still cannot be found. Look at that number again: 545.

There is little news that I have a physical reaction to these days. Sadly, my tolerance for the inhumanity, cruelty, stupidity, and evil of the Trump administration has grown some and I’m less likely to get sick to my stomach when I hear about the latest act of barbarism. Not today though. I was made physically ill by this news.

I am struggling to reel in my rant at this point. I am so outraged, so angry. However, as respectfully and calmly as I can, I want pose a question to my friends who are thinking of voting for Trump because he is “pro-life” and “pro-family.,” Can you please tell me how “losing” these parents, likely making each of the 545 children orphans, is either “pro-life” or “pro-family?” Really. I’m not baiting you here. I’m asking.

Many Latin American families I know (and I am part of one) deeply love their children and are committed to their safety, well-being, and sense of family. From what I know and have observed, that is “baked in” to the culture.

For any child who is missing their parents and has no idea what became of them the hurt must be nearly unbearable. As a parent, this news makes me sick to my stomach, but it is my heart that hurts. Any parent who has known the pain of separation from a child knows that hurt. For many of us the hurt is temporary. That is not likely the case for these parents and children. They may never be with one another again.

Shame on you Donald Trump! Shame on you Jeff Sessions! Shame on you Rod Rosenstein! Shame on all of you cowards who suck up to such stupidity and evil each day!

And shame on you, my friends, if you dare give any more support to such evil.

What Trump Knew and When He Knew It

What did Trump know about the Coronavirus? It was the biggest national security threat of his presidency and far worse than anyone imagined.

When did he know it? January 28, 2020

Why did he not speak up then?

“I wanted to always play it down,” Mr. Trump told Mr. Woodward on March 19. “I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”

The New York Times, September 9, 2020

When did Trump finally speak the truth about the virus to the American people, including all of those who have pinned their hope on him? Today is September 10, 2020 and we are still waiting.

I had only one nerve left and Trump has finally gotten on it. That’s all I can handle today. More over the weekend.

In the meantime, in case you run into Trump in the grocery store…

It Feels Like Raindrops

True story…when I was in junior high school, my mother mentally prepared me to serve in the Vietnam War by playing Barry Sadler’s “Ballad of the Green Beret” each morning to wake me up for school. She made a point of regularly telling me how proud she would be if I became a Green Beret. That always struck me as an odd wish given the first two lines of the song are: “Fighting soldiers from the sky; Fearless men who jump and die.”

Rant on…

Where I grew up the two best career options were go to college or go to the military, unless you wanted to stay on the farm or take your chance at getting a good local factory job in nearby cities. Few people had the privilege of college, unless serving in the military first and then going to school on the GI Bill later. However, military service in the 1960’s and very early 1970’s carried the possibility of serving in the Vietnam War. My two cousins served in Vietnam. Dave was a Marine and Steve was an Army sniper. My brothers-in-law had all served – Air Force, Navy, and Army. In my small town there were many veterans, some even having served in World War I. Iowa farm boys were prime recruits.

However, when it was time for me to register for the draft, I attempted to do so as a Conscientious Objector. I was politely informed by the registrar that Louisa County, Iowa had a long, proud record of registering young men who were only 1-A, fit and fully ready for service. So I was not presented with another option. I was not unwilling to serve, only unwilling to take a life, even in war.

It turns out my worry was for naught. My draft lottery number came up as 364, which meant I would never be called up.

Today I am what I was only beginning to understand as an 18-year-old: a pacifist. I am a Quaker, in part, because I am a pacifist and it is a faith that practices pacifism. However, pacifism is a philosophy I embraced in my mid-20’s…after the Vietnam War.

Pacifism is a philosophical position, sometimes rooted in religious belief as mine is, that violence is never justified. As a general rule, pacifists do not buy into “just war” theory. Frankly, it is not an easy position to hold because there are times when an actual kick in the seat of the pants would be good for some people.

How I understand and practice pacifism is this: while nations may be quickly and strongly condemned for going to war, the individual soldiers are not, unless they commit war crimes. For this reason, I do not believe I have ever consciously condemned any person for having served in the military.

All of this to say: I would never call anyone who served in the military a “loser” or “sucker.” Especially if I were their Commander in Chief. But, of course, we know who did, right?

In record time Trump has labeled The Atlantic story “fake” but he has a problem. The story has been confirmed by multiple sources, including Trump’s favorite network, Fox News Channel, and about 325 million Americans, give or take a couple million. As CNN points out, we have seen and heard – with our own eyes and ears – Trump disparage American soldiers for their service. According to Military Times, Trump is already polling 4% points behind Biden with U.S. soldiers. This probably explains Trump’s immediate, strong reaction to the article.

Like a lot of folks, I have run out of words to describe the incomprehensible behavior of Trump. He might be crazy, but it does seem he might just be the lunatic some people are looking for. (My apologies, Billy Joel, it was irresistible). Increasingly, though, it appears fewer and fewer people are looking to him for leadership in the future. We can only hope that is true when we go to the polls.

One thing is a bit puzzling to me though. We watched and listened as Trump did and said many of these things while tightly wrapped in an American flag to look and sound patriotic and supportive of the U.S. military, its veterans, and its leadership. We knew then and we know now how he felt. Nothing in the article was a surprise.

Why is that we are only now outraged by it? For the same reason we do not always notice the rain until it accumulates as a puddle. When we finally have to put boots on to wade through it, we realize just how much it has been raining. I know. It seems awfully mild to compare Trump’s constant barrages of profanity, name-calling, and rants to the life-giving beauty of rain water. In Trump’s case, though, we do not have to wear boots only for the rain but for the constant flow of BS he produces. However, the comparison does work if we consider that it might not actually be water that is raining – just Trump delivering the ultimate insult of “taking a leak” on those who serve (even while they have heel spurs, too), We the People, and all of America.

...Rant off.

Trevor Noah and the Shooting of Jacob Blake

When I tune into The Daily Show with Trevor Noah it is usually just for his opening monologue which almost always makes me chuckle if not laugh aloud. Recently, though, I hung out a little longer and saw a piece Noah did on the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. It is one of the most powerful commentaries on race and violence I have seen in a while. It takes about nine minutes to watch and it is nine minutes well spent.

The View from Jeff

Jeff explains: The weather isn’t quite as hot now, but Lizzie and I spent some quality time bonding next to the fan in August.

A Nod to Normalcy in the Midst of Chaos

If you have only recently begun reading this blog you probably think that much of my time is spent thinking and writing about Trump and politics. I can forgive you for that error. During this age of the COVID-19 pandemic and the incredible incompetence, perhaps even malice, of Trump, he has consumed a fair share of space in this blog. I cannot say I am happy about that. In fact, I spend as little time as possible thinking about Trump. While I am politically active, I am not an activist. However I am gravely concerned about the direction of our country under the “leadership” of Trump and those who fallen mindlessly in line with him.

Last night’s opening broadcast of the Republican National Convention only heightened my concern. At this point I am going to leave my comments at that. Perhaps as a cleansing of all the yelling and hate I heard last night, and because I could not sleep afterward anyway, I am posting at least one piece today that reflects how I really do spend my time: working to find ways to animate nonprofit organizations to achieve the greater good in their communities.

On Connection and Teamwork

Throughout my career I have led and participated in a variety of different teams. Each experience has been unique. Some have been comprised of volunteers. Some have been comprised of professionals. Some have been multi-sectoral or multi-organizational and sometimes both at once. Some have been geographically diverse and some were made diverse by age, gender, race, ethnicity, and religion. Some have been in person and some have been via telephone conference call, before the age of Zoom. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, like so many others, I have also led and participated in teams virtually.

There is something very important I have learned from my experience on teams. Regardless of how they meet it is important to make a connection with team members. This is true whether I am leading the team or participating in the team as a member. 

What do I mean by a “connection?” A connection is more than simply knowing who another person is or knowing their name. It is even more than having the ability to call them up or email them and expect a response. To have a connection is more personal, even in a professional context. 

There are three features which define a personal yet professional connection with another. 

  1. One is that you can present your ideas and opinions and know they will be thoughtfully considered. 
  2. Another is that you can be unguarded. Now that does not mean you have to be able to tell your deepest secrets but it does mean you can be open with others.
  3. Finally a genuine connection is mutual – you each experience that connection with the other.  

Team connectedness is important because it is the foundation for high-performance that gets the job done.

  • When team members are connected they more easily arrive at agreements needed to move their work forward.
  • All teams face challenges in their work. Connection helps create the camaraderie and unity which push the team through to success.
  • There are also times when team members do not agree with one another. At these times a sense of connection makes it easier to disagree productively, compromise when needed, and arrive at common solutions. 

A few years ago I was leading a team based in the same organization and housed in the same office complex. When I arrived for the day I would drop by the office of each member of the four person team. Sometimes it was to offer a quick greeting to begin the day and sometimes the dropins included brief conversations. Often they were a mixture of both personal and professional. For example, I might ask about a team member’s family member whom I knew was ill and then briefly preview a meeting we had together later in the day. I would also offer something more personal of myself, such as sharing about a movie I had recently seen, a book I was reading or a family event that was coming up. I wanted to have a connection with my team that said, “We are more than cogs in the wheel of this organization. I want to know you as a person as well as a colleague, and I want you to know me in the same way.” 

Making that kind of connection is pretty easy in an office setting of course. It is a bit more challenging when our only contact is virtual. However, it is not impossible. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, I saw video conferencing as a poor substitute for in-person meetings. Today I see it a little differently. It is still a substitute for in-person meetings for many reasons. However, I have learned it is not as poor as I originally thought it would be. 

In fact, during the physical distancing required by the pandemic, I have belonged to at least three groups that developed deep, personal connections with one another. 

There has been research on the qualities that contribute to making effective and connected teams. Gallup, a household name in research, has conducted and published some of this work. Specifically, Gallup studied the qualities of partnership which, in turn, contribute to creating high performing teams. These qualities of partnership are the qualities of connection.

Gallup identified eight qualities. As I think about my best experiences with teams, I can easily recognize each of the qualities in them.

First of all, complementary strengths help forge connections. All of us have our strengths and our weaknesses. Connections are often formed when a team recognizes how much the members need one another. Where we are strong, others may be weak; where we are weak, others may be strong. Acknowledging that we need one another is an important first step in a connection and forming a high performing team. 

Second, connections can be built around a shared mission or purpose. Teams get in trouble when the individual members have different ideas of why the team exists. In my experience different ideas about the purpose emerge when team members assume it is already so clear it does not need to be stated. That is the time when it needs to be stated the most frequently and clearly. A shared mission or purpose can be incredibly powerful for a team. When a team’s purpose is so compelling that every member owns it personally then each member is more likely to do whatever is necessary to fulfill the purpose. That includes making connections with team members they might not otherwise be inclined to connect with for the good of the team and its mission.

Third, there is fairness, also known as equity. One of the most important lessons I have learned in teamwork is that equality is not a substitute for equity. When I first started leading teams I thought all would be good if team members were treated equally – if everyone received the same thing in the same way. I learned pretty quickly, though, that focusing on equality privileged some and shortchanged others. For example, in one case I learned some team members needed very little one-on-one time with me to build a connection and working relationship while others needed considerably more time than I had planned. If I withheld the extra time from those that needed it in the spirit of equality, I felt guilty and also found the connection was not as strong as it needed to be for effective team work. Coming to understand that equity and equality were not the same was one of the hardest lessons I learned. Today I understand that equality is important sometimes, but fairness or equity is important all of the time. 

Fourth, connection requires trust and trust is the “high wire act” of teamwork. What do I mean by the “high wire act”? If you have seen a circus you know that one of the acts with the highest level of risk to the performers are those that involve walking on a tight wire high off the ground or stage. It is risky and it requires the performer to trust at so many levels: trust the wire to be tight; trust that it will not break; trust that if she or he fell they would survive – with or without a net below. To connect with another person is an act of trust because it requires us to believe the other person will honor that connection and protect it. 

Fifth, acceptance is an essential part of connection. All of us are informed by our training, education, and life experiences. As a result, we have different ways of seeing the world. When we connect with someone, and they with us, acceptance makes it possible for each of us to honor and respect how the other sees things, even if our view is different. 

Sixth, forgiveness makes it possible for us to stay connected when either of us “blow it” or make a mistake. Because each of us are fallible human beings, there is always a risk each of us will do something wrong. Without the ability and willingness to forgive, the relationship can become adversarial and the connection will dissolve. 

Seventh, the most basic way to coordinate with a colleague or a whole team is by communicating. We may think others are mind readers, and we may occasionally think we are as well, but none of us are. At the start of our efforts to build a connection with another person or our team, communicating minimizes misunderstandings and builds trust. Think about that a second…it is easy to mistrust another when we do not know what is going on with them. Trustworthiness is established between two people and among whole teams through open communication. As our relationship grows, communicating consistently, continuously, and clearly makes it easier for us to work efficiently and effectively together. 

Eighth, and finally, there is unselfishness. How do we know when we have made an unselfish connection to another individual? When we celebrate their success as enthusiastically as we would celebrate our own. I know that might be oversimplified a little. Still the idea is the same…unselfishness means we want for others on the team what we want for ourselves. A spirit of unselfishness means that the team is well on its way to forming a powerful, effective collaboration which is able to do far more together than each could do on their own. That is what teamwork is about, right? 

These eight qualities of partnership and connection do not just – “poof!” – appear like magic. They take some effort and intentionality. 

Our ability to form high performing teams is related to our ability, and willingness, to build and maintain connections. This is true whether the team is able to gather in person or virtually over distance. Connection makes it easier for our team to achieve high performance and get the job done. 

What I have noticed is that the process of building and maintaining connection is the same, whether in-person or virtually. It takes time. It takes courage to risk being open with one another person. And, it takes a willingness to respond in kind – to also be open.

References: Wagner, R. & Muller, G. (2009). Power of two: How to make the most of your partnerships at work and in life. New York: Gallup Press.

A Worthy Read

I have been receiving Letters from an American everyday now for the past couple of weeks. The letters are from Heather Cox Richardson and, no, they are not personal letters. I signed up for her daily letter at the recommendation of my friend Dave. I have been enjoying them a great deal. They are politically oriented, however, they offer much more perspective than punditry. Each letter offers a summary of the political news of the day with Richardson’s perspective sometimes woven in. In this time of fast moving news, I have found it very useful to have this letter awaiting each morning when I wake up. I do wonder though when this woman sleeps? Today’s newsletter was particularly interesting and I do consider it worthy of your and my time and effort today. Here is an excerpt from today’s Letter that may tempt you to read more:

The Republicans have written no platform to outline policies and goals for the future. Instead they passed a resolution saying that “the Republican Party has and will continue to enthusiastically support the President’s America-first agenda.” The party appears now to be Trump’s.

Heather Cox Richardson, August 23, 2020 – Letters from An American

You can quickly and easily see some of Richardson’s back issues at Moyers on Democracy.

A Matter of Character

Not long ago I started reading again David Brook’s The Road to Character. The more I have read it, the more I have become troubled by Trump and his alliance with White Evangelicals. After reading Mary Trump’s book about her famous uncle, I was not surprised by the content of the recordings that were released this weekend in which Trumps sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, castigated her younger brothers on his core character. I was surprised, though, that Mary Trump released the tapes. It would appear that the gloves have come off in the Trump family, which should make for a very interesting holiday dinners later this year.

This morning I came across the video featured below. I have debated whether I would share it here because I have tried to differentiate between Republicans and Trump because I do not believe, philosophically, Trump is a Republican. He is all about himself and has, in fact, changed party affiliations no less than five times since 1987. As recently as 2009 he was a member of the Democratic Party. Had he had the opening in the Democratic Party the Republicans gave him in the GOP, I have no doubt he would have run as a Democrat and today it would the Democratic Party that would have been taken over and become “Trumpist.”

This phrase come to mind for me: “There but for the grace of God…”

The video is compelling because it uses only the words of other Republicans who ran against Trump in the 2016 primaries. The assessment each one makes goes to the issue of character. It raises an important question for my Republican friends: Now that we all know very clearly the character of Trump, I respectfully ask, do you really still want this person, in the name of your party, to have so much power in our country?

Chickenman – Episode 95 – Only 2 Episodes Left!

The Winged Warrior, fresh off his defeat in the election for Police Commissioner, is called upon to quell a riot at the Saturday afternoon matinee.

When Is It Worth the Risk?

check out “american rehab”

Reveal is a podcast from the Center for Investigative Reporting. Until recently the podcast has featured only free-standing, individual episodes. I have found them to be interesting. Often I have been left wanting even more information.

Last Winter and Spring Reveal was slated to offer its first-of-a-kind series but it was delayed until the Summer due to the pandemic. Last week I just finished listening to the eight-episode series American Rehab. It was one of the most compelling podcast series I have ever heard. It was the culmination of a three year investigation into the drug and alcohol rehabilitation movement started by Synanon and its larger, more powerful offshoot Cenikor.

My interest in the topic is both personal and professional. Professionally, my master’s degree is in mental health counseling with a specialty in addictive and compulsive disorder treatment using group therapy modality. Personally, I’ve been through a treatment experience which used some of the same techniques as Synanon and Centikor, hence my interest. My treatment experience was related to a diagnosis of co-dependency, not to alcohol and chemical addiction, as the adult child of an alcoholic. Co-dependency is a common issue for people who grow up in alcoholic and drug addicted families as I did. I’m not revealing any new truth here, by the way. I’ve written extensively about the experience in at least one book I published in the late 1980s, in various trade articles, and in this blog fairly recently.

My treatment experience included something similar to what is decribed in the podcast as the Synanon Game or what has also been called “verbal attack therapy.” To be clear, though, my experience was not as intense as that which is described in the American Rehab podcast, but it was not the most pleasant thing either.

What I found particularly interesting, though, was the last episode, which was finished in the midst of the pandemic. It brought together the Trump administration’s mishandling of the pandemic with America’s opioid epidemic in a most compelling way.

The reason Reveal decided to investigate Synanon and its prodigy in the rehab world because of the sketchy origin of the practices that are still used, including the use of work without pay. You will be surprised by the well-known recovery programs and institutions that use some of the horrific Synanon-inspired practices including work without pay, which is, in fact, a form of slavery. Even more, you will be shocked to learn of several of the major U.S. corporations that get free laborers from Centikor and other Synanon-inspired rehab groups.

On the Reveal website you can find resources from the American Rehab series worthy of a closer look. One is a database of rehab groups around the country that use Synanon inspired strategies, including forced work without pay. You can search by state. I was surprised by what I found in my home state of Iowa.

Even if you are not a podcast fan, I think you will find American Rehab to be one you cannot put down until the end.

when is it worthwhile to risk contracting covid-19?

As the presidential election draws near amid the many voter suppression tactics being undertaken by Trump (denegration of mail-in voting; attempts to further weaken the U.S. postal service; etc.), I have been wondering what to do about voting.

In Maryland we can request an absentee ballot and vote by mail. We also have early voting, from October 22 to October 29, 2020. Our polling place is only a half-mile from where we live. It is in a Senior Center that undoubtedly will be using many protocols to protect people given so many voters there will be older and, therefore, at high risk for contracting COVID-19. So we have options.

Still, the option of in-person voting still has a greater risk. That brings me to my first reflective question: What is my tolerance for risk when it comes to COVID-19? Clemencia and I have been doing a good job of self-isolating since mid-March. Our social life has not suffered much because we stay in touch with people through our work on Zoom and we also meet with friends and family via Zoom regularly. The only thing that has been missing is ballroom dancing. Well, for me, golf too.

There is a second question that follows the tolerance question: Are there any circumstances that would cause me to take the risk of exposure to COVID-19? In fact, there are several. However, they are all circumstances over which I have no control…such as a fire or medical emergency or natural disaster impacting me or a family member.

When it comes to circumstances over which I do have control, there is only one that would compell me to take the risk: If it is the only way I could vote my conscience to preserve a liberal democracy in November. (You may find it interesting to also look up “illiberal democracy,” by the way, because that is what we are dealing with in our country today.)

What about you? What do you feel so strong about that it would move you to risk COVID-19 infection?

with appreciation…

A friend and frequent reader from Hawai`i, Judy Clark, shared some resources from One Shared Future for self-care in the midst of this pandemic. Hawai`i had done a very good job of managing the pandemic in its early stages but now, like many other states, is succumbing to the impact of COVID-19. These resources are well-appreciated in the Islands and I hope those of us on the mainland find them useful was well.

Also, Judy sent me a brief interview she did for a local televions feature, Island Focus. She does a really nice job of articulating the value of nonprofit organizations and youth involvement, especially during this pandemic. If you are a nonprofit leader you may find some her framing useful as well.

Thanks for both of these, Judy!

chickenman – episode 89 – Only 9 Left!

Chickenman is being bested by the Very Diabolical armed with a bowl of lumpy oatmeal.

M.I.A. and at the 19th Hole

A BLM Protester & KKK Member went to a BBQ…

No, that’s actually NOT the opening line of a weird joke. It almost happened this past weekend in Zinc, Arkansas. A group of Black Lives Matter protesters showed up in Zinc to protest near the home of Thomas Robb, the National Director of the Ku Klux Klan. The protesters were met by locals with guns. Police, however, were present to ensure protesters and locals kept the peace and, apparently, they did. This link to an article at Daily features a number of photos taken during the encounter in Zinc.

The BLM protesters said they wanted to open a dialogue with local people and, as the photos show, there was some success. The protesters also brought BBQ and all the trimmings with them. They invited everyone and anyone to lunch but it is not clear that any of the locals did.

I liked what the BLM protesters were trying to do and I hope they continue these kinds of tactics throughout the country. Some of my research has focused on the issue of intractable ideological conflict on highly sensitive issues.


The model above comes out my research into intractable conflict and represents how some conflict tends to become never ending. In an intractable conflict we may feel so worn out from previous battles that we don’t feel we can fight any more and, in fact, we don’t want to fight anymore. Then a new battle in the conflict emerges and at some point we feel we’ve got to enter the fight. Soon enough, the “gloves come off” and we are in it to win it. However, as happens in intractable conflict, the combatants exhaust one another and both eventually get to their corners only to vow again, “I can’t fight anymore.”

Racism is one of many ideological conflicts we see in American culture and society that is seemingly intractable and never ending. Just as the infinity loop indicates above, it is an iterative conflict until we find the courage to break the cycle. The ability to engage in genuine dialogue is key to getting us out of the loop. Dialogue is not discussion, debate, chatting, or negotiating common ground. It is suspending our words and first impressions, listening, hearing, and finally speaking with respect and understanding.

Kudos to those BLM protesters and Zinc locals who were able to engage in dialogue! Keep going!


One of the most disturbing pieces of news over the weekend came from a surprising source – Dr. Deborah Birx. She is the woman with the scarves who would stand with Dr. Anthony Fauci behind Trump during the infamous Coronavirus Updates. She was often thought to be grimacing at the mis-information being provided by Trump yet she rarely contradicted him.

This weekend Dr. Birx told CNN the virus was now “extraordinarily widespread.” With these two words Dr. Birx confirmed the same thing Dr. Fauci has been trying to tell us for quite sometime and something we’ve known instinctively but did not want to admit: we are in deep, deep doo doo.

Trump did not like this very much. In fact, he Tweeted that he thought Birx had been influenced by criticism of her from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

So what is the President of the United States (POTUS) doing about the pandemic? Fortunately, he is on the front lines of protecting America’s golf courses, especially those that bear his name.

Trump Golf Count is a website that tracks whenever Trump takes time to play golf since his inauguration. So far, including those few times when he went to a golf course but might not have played, it is 268 as of August 2, 2020. In fact, this past weekend, he played on both Saturday and Sunday at his course in Potomac Falls, Virginia.

Now, I’m a golfer and I love to play, so I do not fault any golfer for taking any opportunity he or she can to hit the links, including Trump. However, 268 times in the approximately 1,277 days he’s been in office? Seriously, that means nearly 21% of those days have been spent on the golf course. Doesn’t that seem a bit excessive…given:

  1. Trump was so critical of President Obama for golfing too much (it is estimated that Trump plays, on average, 91 rounds per year as president while Obama’s average was less than half that at 42 rounds per year);
  2. It has cost American taxpayers more or less than $138,000,000 at a time when our economy is, at best, struggling; many people have lost or are losing their jobs; and a growing number of people have to scramble just to have enough to eat;
  3. Trumps latest golf outings both came on the same days that Congressional representatives and “White House officials” (which suggests to me one of them might actually be Trump, but nope, it isn’t) were in negotiations on a new pandemic relief package that has stalemated; and,
  4. Worst of all, we are in the midst of a pandemic that has now killed more 150,000 Americans and is likely to kill more than 200,000 by the election in November.

Fortunately, Mr. Trump’s heel spurs have not prevented him from fighting the good fight on our behalf on America’s…well, HIS…golf courses. Thank you, Mr. President! Have another Diet Coke, on us as always, at the 19th Hole, please.

Why is Donald Trump M.I.A. on COVID-19? After reading Mary Trump’s book I have a theory and it is quite simple: It is because Trump never developed the competencies he claims and he is in way over his head. Look, I didn’t say it was going to be an earth-shattering, innovative theory, only a simple one.

Trump’s father, Fred Trump, had those competencies, but Donald Trump does not. Donald Trump became expert at spending money, making bad business decisions, going bankrupt, and getting his father to bail him out and cover up his missteps. Add to these that Trump never really worked for anyone but his father and we can begin to understand why Trump prefers to hide out on a golf course than face the responsibilities of the office he holds. Fred Trump knew the “art of the deal” but Donald only knew the art of getting bailed out of trouble. Like Nero, infamous for fiddling while Rome burned, Trump is puttering about in luxury, enriching his own golf courses with Americans’ taxes, while those same Americans die.

For Your Consideration

If you’ve ever wondered how the myth of Donald Trump came to be, you’ll find this 18-minute segment from The New Yorker Radio Hour to be quite informative. It describes how the guy who gave us “Survivor” also gave us “The Apprentice” and made Donald Trump appear far more competent than he has proven to be, especially under pressure. Listen to An Insider from “The Apprentice” on How the Show Made Donald Trump.

Trump, Inc. is a podcast from WNYC and ProPublica which has been doing in-depth, investigative reporting on Trump, his family, and members of his administration. The project began in 2018 and I listened through what I thought was the full series as I found the episodes very informative and very interesting. In revisiting the website today I learned the podcast has continued up to the present time. Time to put in my earbuds!

chickenman – episode 87

Chickenman finally confronts the Very Diabolical.

Follow the Leader?!?

A few weeks ago I did a video interview with my long time friend Lamar Roth. The video told the story of how Lamar and his company navigated the tragedy of a workplace shooting and has been applying the lessons learned from that to the disruption caused by the current pandemic. Since posting it, along with a couple of short vignettes of key sections, I’ve had over 200 views on the Tenacious Change LLC YouTube channel. I know, that’s not a huge amount but it is about four times more than I had hoped.

It has inspired me to do additional video interviews. I’m in the process of lining them up now and actually do them in late Summer and early Fall. I’ve got three more that I plan to do this year. One is an interview with a young man from Baltimore who works in love, justice, and education. I’m anxious to talk with him about a concept he is defining and writing about as “the work of love.” Another is on community change in the time of the pandemic featuring a colleague from Canada with whom I’ve done considerable work over the past few years. Finally, for now, I’m lining up an interview with a woman who studies “toxic followership.” In her research she interviewed survivors of the Jonestown massacre in an effort to understand more clearly the dynamics of the leader/follower relationship which led to over 900 people taking their own lives.

This week, as I was focusing on all things media related in my work, I discovered that my podcast hosting platform had been inadvertently redirecting people who were trying to find it to a different podcast. Ugh! Hopefully I’ll have that sorted by next week as I’d like to also dive back into podcasting. I have some really good interviews on hand that I need to edit, produce, and upload before I do anymore.

All of this to say…stay tuned.

what if we shouldn’t follow the leader?

Speaking of “toxic followership,” at some point we’ve really got to talk about why it is that people find themselves stuck on following inadequate, inept, and inconceivably bad leaders. (Pretty good alliteration, huh?) You are probably rushing ahead to imagine I’m thinking about Trump here…and I am…but the phenomenon is not unique to Trump. We have seen it time and again: on sports teams; in clubs; in families; in faith communities; in organizations, agencies, and governments; in towns and cities; etc.

First it has to be recognized that every leader has “fans” who would follow them anywhere, even to death. Therefore it is difficult to assert that it rests solely on the shoulders of the person in the leadership role. Some very good, ethical, honorable, and highly effective leaders have such wildly devoted fans who are, really, just too devoted.

It is also true, though, that some lousy, unethical, dishonorable, and incredibly ineffective leaders have such followers. Sometimes that is by accident. The leader may be as amazed and clueless about the existence of such followers as we are. Frankly, they are probably also clueless about just how lousy they are as leaders.

However, sometimes accumulating such die hard followers is by design of some of the worst leaders. These scare me the most. They are leaders who want people to follow their every command. They seem to have an innate ability to latch on to folks who are most susceptible to their brand of “leadership” as control.

Within the larger field of leadership studies there is authentic transformational leadership (usually just known as transformational leadership or simply TL). Transformational leadership emerged through the work of James MacGregor Burns in his 1978 book Leadership. For Burns, his concept of leadership was not based in power over followers but in power with followers to accomplish the goals of both. Transformational leaders use four core strategies that are very positive and follower focused:

  • Attending to the needs of follows and acting as a mentor or coach (Individualized Consideration)
  • Engaging with followers and asking for and receiving their ideas and feedback (Intellectual Stimulation)
  • Articulating a vision to followers that is appealing and inspiring (Inspirational Motivation)
  • Being a role model with and for the kind of behavior that instills pride, gains respect and trust, and is highly ethical (Idealized Influence)

Then there is also pseudo-transformational leadership, which, as the name implies, uses the trappings of transformational leadership to gain power over followers. Pseudo-transformational leaders use the behaviors of transformational leadership to the nefarious ends of having devoted followers who will do anything they want them to do. They do this by appearing to regard followers in this way and acting as if they are doing the same four things but, in fact, they are being deceptive and using them only for their own ends. It is, to borrow the well-worn phrase, to be “a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”

Pseudo-transformational leadership is defined by self-serving, yet highly inspirational leadership behaviors, unwillingness to encourage independent thought in subordinates, and little caring for one’s subordinates more generally.

Christie, A., Barling, Julian, & Turner, N. (2011). Pseudo‐Transformational Leadership: Model Specification and Outcomes 1, Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 41. DOI: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.2011.00858.x

The challenge presented to followers is that transformational leaders and pseudo-transformational leaders may look very much alike – at the beginning. By the time we’ve figured out that we are following a charlatan we may be in so deep that it becomes impossible to extract ourselves. Or, once we realize that we’ve been duped, we may stay in because we are embarrassed and want to save face. Or, in a worst case scenario, we don’t want out because we have bought into the pseudo-transformational leader’s vision, regardless of how bad it is for us and others.

One of things I’m looking forward to in my upcoming interview with the woman who studies “toxic followership” is talking with her about why it is that people stay in line behind pseudo-transformational leaders. Truthfully, we’ve all done it, you know. We’ve all, at one time or another, got in line behind a leader who was not worthy of our trust and only wanted power over us. It would be a good thing if we could figure this out, don’t you think?

chickenman – episode 86

Chickenman returns to get his orders for dealing with the Very Diabolical: Go Winged Warrior fast!

the view from jeff

Jeff explains: On the first day of Biking Camp Matthew wished he had read Pastor Juli’s email a little closer!! Make sure you register for NewGate Baptist Summer Camps, sadly no Viking Camps (at least this year). (Jeff, and his spouse Juli, are co-pastors at this multi-cultural church in Calgary.)

July 21, 2020 – An Audience of One

minimalist strategy planning

Last week I had to turn down a potential client who wanted me to lead a strategic planning process. It’s not that I didn’t like the client or that I’m work adverse. It just didn’t feel right ethically.

A strategy plan is developed in relationship to the context in which an organization or group exists and functions. In fact, the strategy is all about how to negotiate the context or environment to ensure organizational effectiveness, sustainability, or overall success. A strategy plan, which usually is a multi-year plan, is dependent on the context being reasonably stable. It assumes the context will be mostly stable throughout the lifetime of the plan. Traumatic disruptions do occur, of course, often in the form of an immediate crisis that occurs and then passes in a matter of weeks. Even then it may be necessary to put the plan on pause or make some adjustments to it.

What if, though, the context is unsettled, unstable, and uncertain? You know, like in the midst of a raging pandemic that seems to have no end in sight? That makes strategy planning nearly impossible. To begin a contract to lead a strategy planning process in the current environment is not only unethical, it would be a nightmare to do. Until the context and environment settles into some time of regular routine (note, I did not say “normal”) again, I’m encouraging my clients to avoid long-range strategy planning.

However, we want to be able to plan. Plus, our understanding of “best practices” for organizational development have conditioned us to have a strategic plan in place…whether we pay attention to it or not, right? (By the way, there was a fascinating segment from On The Media last weekend about “shifting baselines” that relates to this post and is quite interesting and worth a few minutes of your time.)

The alternative is what I call, for a lack of a better term, “minimalist strategy planning.” It sounds fancy, eh? In fact, it is really just the practice of adaptive leadership but, sometimes, folks just need to hear the words they expect to hear.

Early in our pandemic year (back in April which seems a long time ago now), I worked with several colleagues on putting together some resources for nonprofits. The resources were anchored in adaptive leadership. You can access that series, Leading in Crisis, Part 1 and Part 2, at this top of the page titled Work in the Time of COVID-19 on this website and by just clicking on the previous link.

We created those resources believing they would be obsolete within weeks as we all went back to our “normal” lives with the passing of the pandemic. Now, three months later, I am seeing the resources still offer relevant, solid advice for negotiating the future. They allow us to practice “minimalist strategy planning” as we feel our way through these current times.

an audience of one

I’ve been reading Mary L. Trump’s book on her famous, powerful uncle, Donald Trump, over the past few days. It is a fascinating insider’s view of the Trump family, particularly Donald. What makes it quite powerful is that, by virtue of her training as a clinical psychologist, Mary Trump is able to also write the book from a unique professional perspective.

By the way, in case you were wondering, Mary Trump does not diagnose her uncle. She does suggest the possible diagnoses from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual that could explain his behavior, but she stops short of making a diagnosis.

Though I’m still working my way through the book, the one idea that sticks with me is the degree to which Donald Trump has played, throughout his life, to an audience of one: his father, Fred Trump, Sr. Have you ever noticed, in pictures of Trump in the Oval Office, that a picture of his father sits on the credenza behind him? It is as if he is looking over his shoulder…as he seems to have done in life, from the time of Donald’s birth.

This is a point at which I have some empathy for Donald Trump because I have also played to an audience of one for most of my life. In my case, that one person was my mother. It took me until I was over 50 years old and she was 88 years old that I was finally able to exit her theater. Until that moment the sub-plot of my life was to find a way to win her approval and her love. If she ever felt any of these, she did not express them to me. To the best of my knowledge, I don’t know that she ever expressed them to my sisters either.

Many people have an audience of one they are playing to. It is far more common than we’d like to admit in a culture that worships at the altar of bootstrapism – usually described in terms such as self-efficacy, self-sufficiency, autonomy, and independence. Without help we give away our lives in the pursuit of something we will never get from that one audience member. Our desire to play that part in the hope of even a little applause can drive us to other and self-destruction. The stage lighting blinds us making it difficult, if not impossible, to see that we are responsible for our actions in the play by virtue of our choice stay on stage, in the theater, and pursue the approval of the one.

In truth, we are all responsible for ourselves – our actions, our beliefs, our attitutdes – regardless of who is in the audience and what their approval means to us. Hence, I feel empathy for Donald Trump but he is still responsible for managing it in a way that is healthy for himself, his family, and the country that he has been entrusted to steward.

This last weekend Donald Trump sat for an interview with Chris Wallace of Fox News. Kudos to Chris Wallace for a very powerful and revealing interview. I have been watching or listening to him recently on his Sunday morning interview show and have been increasingly impressed with this skills as an interviewer and competency as a journalist.

As I watched the interview this morning I was very aware of Trump’s audience of one. I’m convinced he does not share that same awareness. I’ve put a link to the interview below. It is approximately 40 minutes in the length and it is well worth the time to watch it. Be mindful who Donald Trump’s audience really is -it’s not his base, contrary to what he and many pundits believe. It is his father whose disapproval he has feared more than anything in his life. It is Donald Trump’s refusal – or inability – to get off the stage that Fred Trump, Sr. built, where he is continuously playing to his father, that makes him so very dangerous to all of us in this moment.

chickenman – episode 82

The Masked Maternal Marauder (Chickenman’s mother) has to step in for him while he continues his flight across the Atlantic.

the view from jeff

Jeff explains: With the return of professional hockey I am afraid that I may strain some unused cheering muscles!! I will need to enter in slowly with low stakes cheering – maybe one of the eastern playoff games first.

June 3, 2020 – Other Voices

Today is Wednesday, June 3 and this is Repeat Day. Today is Wednesday, June 3 and this is Repeat Day.

other voices

Today I’m bringing other voices into The Daily Drivel. However, what they have to say is not drivelous. I appreciate their thinking, the clarity of their speech, the beauty of their voices, and their prespectives.

The first voice is that of my son, Jake. Yesterday, at exactly the same time I was writing my blog about him, he was writing in Facebook. I reached out to him early yesterday evening to review my blog before I posted it. He approved of what I had written and, as you will see below, it was aligned with what he also had written. I have also asked and received his permission to share his posting to Facebook. Here’s what he wrote:

The second voice is that of Stephen Colbert, the host of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on CBS. Colbert stands in the long, honored tradition of the court jester who could deliver bad news to the king with impunity. The mantle of the jester rests today on the shoulders of many stand up comedians, including Colbert. Colbert’s monologue on Monday, June 1st was speaking truth to power in a more serious way than is typical for him. It is 12 minutes worth watching if you haven’t seen it.

The next voices are musical. I have selected them because they are songs that I have always associated with healing, compassion, love, and unity. All are in short supply at the moment, but we can’t blame the pandemic on that.

I will forever appreciate the performance delivered by John Legend in the Easter 2018 live performance of Jesus Christ Superstar. It was one of the most powerful and beautiful performances on any stage I’ve ever seen. If you’ve not seen it before, take time to find it and watch it now. It is relevant to these times. However, the voice of John Legend comes with a different message today. His rendition of the Simon & Garfunkel song Bridge Over Troubled Water is like a healing balm. You hear it in his voice and in the voices of the audience who join him on the chorus.

At the risk of redundancy, the next voice is Chris Mann singing the same tune. Mann’s COVID-19 song parodies have been featured here already but this is no parody. It is a beautiful a capella version which appears to have been posted just today by Mann. Don’t be distracted by the (too many) images of Mann in this video because the music is incredible. Just listen, you don’t have to watch.

The day after Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States I was at Dulles International Airport to catch a flight. There were throngs of people there who were going back home after having attended that historic event.

I joined a long line of people trying to buy coffee and so did a small woman who was right behind me. I knew it was going to be a while so I decided to do what I always do: strike up a conversation. The two people ahead of me were friends and already chatting. I didn’t want to interrupt. The woman behind me appeared to be alone and she smiled back when I smiled at her. I remember it seemed to me she was dressed too casually for an older woman – sweat pants, sweatshirt, and a baseball cap – who exuded a certain fine dignity and style. Still, she seemed a likely candidate so I started a conversation with her.

We talked for about five minutes and then I realized something was familiar about her. When she realized that I was recognizing her she stopped the conversation. She leaned toward me, fixed her eyes on mine, and said, “Yes, you know me.” I leaned toward her and said, in barely a whisper (in case I was wrong), “Dionne Warwick?” She nodded. For the next 25 minutes we had the most wonderful conversation.

The next musical voice is that of Ms. Dionne Warwick. This video was filmed in March 29, 2019, ten years after that serendipitous conversation at Dulles. She is older now but her music is timeless. This is one of my favorites from her songbook. When the song was written in the early 60’s it was first offered to her by the songwriters, but she turned it down. Eventually she did record it twice though. First on an album. Then, in 1996, she recorded it as a single.

It is also a timely song. Some may feel the sentiment may be a little sappy but remember that it was originally recorded in the midst of the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement. Those were not sappy times.

Marvin Gaye‘s is the next voice singing Abraham, Martin, & John, a song that was made famous by Dion in 1968. It is a tribute to the memory and work of Abraham Lincoln, Dr. Martin Luther King, John F. Kennedy, and Bobby Kennedy and Gaye’s rendition is powerful. These men had a powerful impact on our country. They were each imperfect people – a fact which Mr. Trump should take comfort in – but they usually were still able to put the country and the greater good before themselves – a fact Mr. Trump should allow to convict to his soul.

The final voice belongs to that of Pete Seeger, the legendary folk singer. Though Seeger did not write This Land is Your Land (it was written by his contemporary Woody Guthrie) he probably did as much to popularize it. A little known fact about Seeger, except in Quaker circles, is that he was good friends with Friends and we, therefore, lay a bit of claim to him.

There are two things I really like about this song. First, it’s origin story. Guthrie wrote it as a critical response to Irving Berlin’s nationalistic anthem, God Bless America. You’ve got to wonder what he might have written had he had to endure endless renditions of God Bless the U.S.A.

Second, its possibilities. Frankly, I am not a fan of the musicality of our national anthem. It is hard to sing and the music is lousy. Seriously, can you ever think of any rendition of the Star Spangled Banner that didn’t make you want to check your phone or go to the kitchen for more salsa? I didn’t think so. Me neither. (Do you know how risky it is to hold this view and live so close to Baltimore where it was penned?) However, This Land is Your Land is a wonderful candidate to be our national anthem. The music is fun and it is immensely singable, right? Maybe that is why it is one of the first songs taught in grade school music class. The only thing standing in the song’s way of being our national anthem is it’s aspirational message of unity and inclusion. Uh oh. That could be a problem, huh?

This Land is Your Land is also in the long, proud tradition of protest songs. Maybe it is a good option for today’s protesters who still want to raise their voices. Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie would be proud!

(P.S. If you aren’t really sure this is a protest song, be sure to read Woody Guthrie’s original 1940 lyrics in Wikipedia. Actually, this version incorporate a number of those original lyrics. Listen carefully to Seeger’s call and response, you didn’t learn this version in grade school!

Chickenman – Episode 47

The final voice belongs to Chickenman but not because he has anything important to say. Besides, today he has amnesia and can’t remember what to say. It’s because we still need to find reasons to smile and laugh in the midst of everything else that is happening.

Take time and care to laugh as well as cry; pray for hope as well as justice; speak in whispers as well as shouts; listen to music as well as speeches; and sit in peace as well as march for peace. All are okay. The balance keeps us healthy, it keeps us sane in an insane world.

Stay safe, be well, keep calm, keep washing your hands, keep wearing your mask, and keep remembering to stay in balance.


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