Sunday, September 9, 2012

Inspiration Trumps Hate forn Election 2012: Choose Kindness

Have you heard?  It's election season.  Unless you've been living in a cave, you've heard a little something about the candidates running for President of the United States, to be decided November 6, 2012. 

Over the last two weeks, folks for either side of the aisle have had their rock star moments during the respective Republican and Democratic Conventions.  I know I did!  There is something fantastic about standing in your living room three nights in a row, talking to your television, cheering in unison with the crowd on the screen, posting your reactions on your favorite social networks, crying during all of the emotional, heart-tugging moments, high-fiving your spouse, and feeling like you play a real part in deciding who will be the next Commander In Chief.

Wouldn't it be amazing if we could ride this wave of optimism and skip all of the negative ads, hate-speech, and devisiveness?  If we all took the euphoric feelings of optimism and directed it toward one goal?  Sound too much like hearts, flowers, puppies and unicorns?

Yeah, I know. 

The point I'm trying to make is that like everything else in our lives, we get to choose.  We choose how we are going to behave over the next couple of months.  Do we want to choose optimism or pessimism?  Do we want to engage in civil discussion, or close our ears and call eachother names? Do we want to cheer for our side or tear down the other?  Do we want to make people feel lousy, or inspire them? 

So here is a call for Mass Euphoria!  Feed the positive energy that steers you toward your candidate.  Shout from the rooftops about all of the good to come. Deny the negative.

For political junkies like me, this is fun stuff!  Enjoy the process, we are sooooo lucky to have it.  Celebrate the little victories along the way and the rise in the polls.  But do it in a way that is right.  Set a good example.  Be respectful. Choose kindness.  

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

USA For Africa: Nostalgic sentiment and motherly pride

I grew up in the eighties. Unlike some, I really loved that decade, especially the music.  I still love it.  One song in particular takes me waaaayyy back, and makes me happy...moves me even.

"We Are The World" was a compilation of all the great singers/songwriters of the time.  It was written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie and produced by Quincy Jones.  The idea was to bring together a huge number of incredibly talented and famous artists, and create a record that would sell across all demographics to raise money for humanitarian aid in Africa.  It worked.  That single raised over 63 million dollars in 1984.

There was a video of the song, taped during the recording session, that played on MTV over and over (back when MTV played strictly videos and was hosted by V-jays), now you can see it here on YouTube.  Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, Hall and Oates, Duran Duran, Bono, Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen,Paul Simon,Kenny Rogers,Billy Joel, Tina Turner, Willie Nelson...and on and on and on...

The trend to help Africa continued in the summer of 1985 with Live Aid...a completely different scene, a global effort to have live performances coincide all over the world to help end hunger in Ethiopia.  That was the first time I cried watching Bono and U2 onstage (wouldn't be the last) this day my favorite band of all time.

There was just something about growing up with all of that music on a mission. Not only were we in love with our rock stars, but they made us care about more than big hair and leg warmers.  They opened up our eyes to the rest of the world.

So imagine 25 years later, in a darkened auditorium, 100 student performers close their summer show with a rendition of "We Are The World".  Leading a kids cast of 2nd-5th graders, my son sauntered slowly down the aisle toward the stage.  At the top of the steps, he entered into the pool of stage light just as the chorus began to boom, "We are the world, we are the children".  My son's voice bellowed out the song, joining in with the older cast...heartfelt for him too, just in a different way.

I didn't expect to be emotional.  I knew the song was coming, had heard bits of it during rehearsal.  This was the first time, though, I had ever heard Sam sing it, seen him sing it, especially while wearing his USA for Africa tee shirt. I get misty just thinking about it.

The mixture of nostalgic sentiment and motherly pride is powerful stuff.  I am so happy my son had the opportunity to learn about the song, learn what it meant to so many. More than that, it was so nice to have this very special moment with him, a musical and emotional connection from my past to his present.

(Cheap Plug:  Sam is a member of Saline Varsity Blues.  Go to for more info.