Category Archives: politics

How to Feel a Little Happier Tomorrow

About a year ago, in the spirit of trying to be more organized, I mapped out a calendar of posts I wanted to write instead of my usual writing-everything-on-the-fly-however-the-muse-moves-me way of blogging.

Intentions were good. Output was poor.

I also didn’t pay particular attention to particular events, like the election, and how we all might be feeling post-voting. This week I had “laundry post,” slated.

But I’ve been feeling rather despondent post-election. A laundry post seemed rather…trivial. Didn’t our country need more? I could only stare glumly at the black screen…who cares about laundry? Write something important, something meaningful, something big.

So I wrote nothing.

Not to worry, my heart is coming back. How is the state of your heart?

So I unplugged for a bit and boy was it refreshing. Even Hilary went for a walk the day after! Nature is soul cleansing. When I run outside in the woods, breathe in fall air, crunch in leaves, our sweet land of liberty feels good. It’s not what happens to us, but thinking that makes it so.

As always is the case, when you are searching, you find. This gem from Sarah:

There should be less talk, a preaching point is not always a meeting point. What do you do then? Take a broom and clean someone’s house. That says enough. All of us are but His instruments who do our little bit and pass joy.

-Mother Theresa here

Isn’t that great? Take a broom and clean someone else’s house! Oh yes, I am 100% positive that if you picked up a broom in my house, I would feel very JOYFUL.

Mother Theresa, oh wise one, also said:

War is the fruit of politics, 

so I don’t involve myself, that’s all. 

If I get stuck in politics, I will stop loving. 

Because I will have to stand by one, and not stand by all.  

This is the difference.

This is the difference. I’ve had a personal political crisis of late, but these words speak to me, reminding that I can only control what is in my circle of influence, and that is enough. In fact, if we all did that a little better with our own families, the world would take care of itself.


If that feels too big at this very moment, try something smaller: make your bed.

Yes, that’s the advice from happiness guru, Gretchen Rubin. Sounds trivial and small, perhaps, but maybe there’s more to it. The simple act of getting out of bed and pulling up your covers is not only satisfying, it marks the start of the day. It makes our world feel a little more orderly and organized. And every time you walk back into your room, it’s a nicer place to enter.

I think the making of the bed also signifies something bigger for us: It’s time to rise up! A bed made signals a resolve to face the world. You can’t crawl under the sheets and hide anymore. You must rise, and find a way to be good and brave and kind.

So there we go. It’s rather simple. Turn off the news, find Nature, pick up a broom for someone, make the bed. And than all will be well, my friends.

God speed.


Staying in the Room

My cousin Nate, interviewing Ann Romney

I am squeamish about a politics blog post.
But here it goes.
My cousin Nate is a news reporter in Virginia.  This is his perfect job.  When we were kids running barefoot around the South Jordan suburbs, he loved worshipped Oprah.  Not kidding.  He wanted to be her when he grew up.  And Reba.  We once went to a Reba concert together and ate 5 Arby sandwiches.  It remains both disgustingly good and memorable.  Sorry, Natey, I just can’t help it.  I remember way back when. Oh, I have so many good stories I could use…  

Nate, Clin (more good stories), and I taped multiple interviews using a microphone and a tape player.  When we listen to them now I am shocked at how good my multiple personality disorder was.

Nate gets to interview people all the time.  He texted me last weekend and said, “Interviewing Ann Romney in a few, what should I ask her?  I have five minutes.”  Uh… 

Later this week he gets Mitt and Paul Ryan.  It’s not just the Republicans.  He’s also asked for interviews with Michelle and Barack. Obama!  Since Virginia is a swing state he’s likely to get them.

Did I mention insanely jealous?  It’s a great weakness, I know.  I offered to be his make-up girl and tag along.  I imagine myself interviewing the candidates and wives and trying to be serious…”So, what are your thoughts on the economy?” and they would burst out laughing.

I think it would be safer if I stuck to diapers and the garden.  Side note:  My nightmare job?  The candidate’s wife.  Ugh. Worst job ever. 

Did you watch the political conventions?  I was totally into it.  Even when I was in the kitchen scooping Friendly’s Forbidden Chocolate and falling asleep on the couch through half the speeches.  I was there!

At this very moment my family is engaged in a friendly and feisty discussion/debate over email regarding the current campaign.  With every statistic, there is another comeback.  It’s good stuff, let me tell you.

When I emailed my father saying how much I loved Clinton’s 48 minute speech, I thought he might hop on a plane and get me into a Republican intervention, starting with a tour of the Reagan library where my Uncle Herb gives tours and teaches advanced law at Pepperdine.  Alongside Ken Starr. “Oh Amy…” My father’s voice is clear even over email.  I can see the clutching of the chest, the gasp of shock.  “Don’t you let those east coast Democrats…”

He is kidding, kidding.  But you see, my father is a serious Republican.  The Dems don’t want you to know this, but he’s a Republican AND really does care about people.  He serves, serves, serves.  And runs a small business that is already heavily taxed.  He’s open-minded and intelligent.  Gregor just loves to get him going.

My twin reacted to my Clinton comment with, “You’re not the first woman Clinton has wooed.”


Yes, one must stand firm like the oak tree in my family.

One of the best things to happen to me was to grow up in a conservative family, then move in with a liberal (after we were married, of course!  I’m a Mormon!).

This has been wonderfully eye-opening.  I have come to the conclusion that most people want to get along.  Most of us all want the same things in life.  There are just different ways of getting there. 

Instead of leaving the room when the subject of politics comes us, I’m trying to stay in the room and listen.  I am committing to more awareness.  Shouldn’t we?  These people work for us.  Shouldn’t I know who they are? 

I notice we get awfully tense and nervous when the subject of politics comes up.  Faces freeze.  I tend to look around for the nearest exit.  I suddenly feel itchy and uncomfortable.  My stomach tenses and the butterflies flap nervously.

Childhood.  This is where, I’m convinced, the deeply engrained beliefs are formed on any issue.  We grow up and embrace or reject, but for most, we accept the things we are taught. Isn’t scary to think how different you would be if you’d been born, to say, racist skinheads?  Just sayin’.  Life might be viewed a little differently.

Take that and your current surrounding culture, and you’ve got a political opinion.  It just works that way.  We are influenced by those we are surrounded with.

And we all think we’re right.

With my deeply engrained political beliefs of small government, fiscal conservatism, and belief in family, I was proud of the Republican party at the convention.  After Ann got going, I really enjoyed listening to her.  Rubio was great.  I thought Romney was inspiring.  Though the press often paints him as heartless, I don’t believe that’s true.

Plus, let’s just get it out there – there’s the Mormon connection. Gregor went to school with a Romney son and introduced us at the airport once.  Tagg Romney coaches my cousin’s son’s soccer team.  Even though there are millions, the Mormon world sometimes feels very small; through a few small degrees, we all know seem to know each other.  With a Romney or Marriott in the house, people talk.  And Mormons have loved the Romneys for a very long time.  Without even personally knowing him, I do know what it takes to be a Mormon Bishop.  I have seen it first hand time after time after time.  You have to be incredibly upstanding.  It is a life of unselfish service.  But that’s largely left out of what we know about Romney.  And maybe it should be.

And when he mentioned the Mormon Church in his speech?  My mouth dropped open.  We are at that point in time where a presidential candidate can stand at a podium, in front of millions, and it’s okay to be a Mormon.  

It is freeing.

I loathed Clinton as President.  The “scandel” rocked my world and I didn’t believe a man who was so immoral and dishonest in his private life could be honest and moral in his public life.

Yet, since, Clinton has grown on me.  He does really good work now.  He’s devoted his life to service.  His 48 minute speech held me entranced.  I thought he knocked it right out of the park.

I noticed George W. Bush was nowhere near the convention.  I actually feel sorry him.  He did America and his own a party a great disservice.  Our debt sky-rocketed under his administration.  How can we believe the Republicans will be fiscally responsible when they weren’t before?  

And then President Obama speaks.  And guess what?  He wants the same things too!  I didn’t think it was his best speech, but he was still good.  His oratorical gift is unmatched.  I am always moved listening to him.  When I watch the crowd I feel the emotion; they love him.  They believe him.  I’m convinced he’s a very moral and good man who only has the best intentions for this country.  Again, we are at a point in history where our president is a black man.  Awesome.

I am turned off by either extreme.  I land somewhere in the middle.  Passionless?  No.  I’d say balanced.  Unfortunately, both candidates of both parties must convince their base, and the extreme, so they can win.  That’s when I want to walk out of the room…

The question of this election and all others – Will he be a good president?  My dad would say it’s a clear choice of philosophy and direction.

We all must answer.

Who’s the guy?  Next time it might be a girl.

In two months I’ll be walking into the voting booth.  I’m excited for that day.  I came to the realization that if our first Mormon president is elected, I will be thrilled, but sad for Obama.  And if Obama wins I will be excited that we still have our first black president, but sad for the Republicans.  And the Mormons.  But either way, it will be somewhat thrilling for me, no matter who wins.  It just feels like we’re all in this together.

Are you still in the room?  Do you have an opinion on the matter?  I hope we’re still friends.


This Cemetery

I’m a little obsessed with this cemetery.  It’s a beautiful memorial to the service men and women, a military burial ground that sits between my house and Concord.  Whenever I go to south on Route 11, I glance over and want to stop.  Most times I don’t, but when I start to make the turn in, even my kids like it now.
Many of our World War II veterans are getting old and dying.  Those are the ones that make me feel a gratitude without the sadness – the ones who came home and hopefully led a good and happy life.  I know wars leave scars and devastation, but at least they got to come home.

The ones that really get me are the young boys that only recently left and aren’t coming back.  Sometimes it amazes me…we are still fighting?

Last fall, right after a frost, I stopped.  The entire cemetery was quiet and reverent.  I stood with my kids in silence, watching the sun hit the horizon.  Then all of a sudden, somewhere across the lawn, a trumpet began to play taps.  I’ll never forget that.
Paige just crawled on my lap…”Are you looking at the cemetery?” she asked.
My grandpa Frank is getting old, 84, I think.  He was always so athletic – a college swimmer, a lifeguard, a great runner.  He was so good-looking he could have been in the movies.  He always took us to the water park when I was young and went on all the huge slides, tickled he’d gotten in free as a “senior citizen.”
He had six brothers.  All seven sons went off to WWII – navy, army, air force.  All seven of them came back home.  Isn’t that amazing?  I asked him about that on my last visit this summer.  He is not an emotional man, but tears came to his eyes and he shakingly said, “Yep, that was really something.”

The Speech

Why haven’t Presidents done this before?

Cope (age 10, 5th grade) said:
I never knew he had such a hard life.  He was poor.  His father left at age 2.  And he still became President.

Gee, tell me where the brainwashing is? Even after they heard the speech some kids were told by their parents that he “said more later” and “he wanted us to pledge allegiance to him.”  Really?
Politics aside please.  This is how bipartisan begins.  We talk too each other, not tell our kids he’s the bad guy (and use really, really bad and false evidence).

When the president speaks we should listen.  We don’t have to agree.  But come on, you think our President would really say anything controversial to the children on national and live t.v.?  I don’t think so.

The more I hear, the more I see, the more I like this man.  Politics aside.  He’s a class act.
And that’s what I have to say about that.

We Are All Socialists Now

This was the headline on this week’s Newsweek.  I had to check it out.  It was interesting and scary.  It pointed out that our new “socialistic” society, or our recent era of big government didn’t begin with the “liberals.”  President Bush inherited a surplus from a fiscally conservative democrat,  Bill Clinton.  Bush wanted to give this money back to me and you so we all got about $600 bucks in tax returns.  Obama has inherited BILLIONS of dollars worth of debt, just eight years after having this surplus.  Yeah, I know, the war…but still.  I voted for the man twice.  And I’m just kinda ticked off.