what a girl!!!

I never know how to feel on days like this. My little girl isn't so little anymore. It's funny how I can't remember what food I put in my mouth yesterday, but I remember the smallest details of this day 19 years ago when the earth, or at least my part of it, sighed and smiled when Casie Rachelle Bishop became a part of it. That little prune of a newborn human very quickly became one of the world's most beautiful, smart, caring examples of the best our species has to offer. Newborn, toddler,... preteen, teenager,... As quickly as I typed it, it happened. She's made me awfully proud in less than twenty years. I look at her today and feel pretty good about myself. Happy birthday baby doll! You always win.


talking politics - not politicians

I'm not good at political debate. You'd think with the work I do at the place I do around the folks I do that I would be all about a good round or two of defending my allies and debasing my opponents. Problem is, I don't see those who view political ideas different than mine as my enemies.

First off, I chose several years ago not to allow politics to choose my friends. I have a lot of conservative, Republican friends. I also have a lot of conservative, Democrat friends. I have just as many friends from both parties who are much more liberal. They are all my friends, even when we disagree on politics.

There is much, much more to their person than their politics. And hear this; they all have valid reasons for believing the way they do, and often valid arguments for their opinions. Both sides of every issue are usually very passionate about their ideas.

There are such things as atheist Republicans and praying Democrats. Interestingly enough, those are the ones who usually say that politics and religion should not mix.

If you listen to the conservatives, they will tell you, with lots of emotion, that the media in the United States these days is made up of screaming liberals. Oddly enough, the liberals say the same thing, only opposite. The conservatives feel that CNN, the New York Times, the Washington Post and all of the big TV networks are propagandist carrier pigeons for the liberal wing of the Democratic party. The liberals are sure that Rush, Sean and Bill, along with Fox News and the Washington Times are loudmouthed ultraconservatives just shy of Nazism.

Personally, I think they're all wrong. Or maybe they're all right, but only as a whole. If you watch CNN long enough you'll likely be convinced it leans to the left. The same amount of tube time will leave you with the impression that Fox News nods to the right. It seems to me that the only way to get all the parts of a story, bias and all, is to watch both, put the left and right together, take out the over-the-top rhetoric, and maybe, just maybe you'll get enough of the truth to make an honest judgment about what you've just seen and heard.

News rooms are run by people. People have opinions. As much as we'd like to believe that news reporting agencies are motivated by reporting just the facts - all sides of a story, I'm afraid there are no major media outlets that do it that way. You and I see and hear what an editor with an opinion one way or another on what he/she is disseminating, decides we should be exposed to. As a friend of mine in the news business once told me, "Sometimes facts just get in the way."

Sex sells. High drama and violence caught on tape sells. The word "exclusive" sells. Whistle-blowers who expose corruption or deceit sells. Politicians caught in the act sells. All of these things make for good business for the people who sell us the news. People tune in or log on to that sort of stuff. No one buys chastity. Watching a run of the mill traffic stop or routine city council meeting gets no ones attention. Someone bragging on the performance of a hard working elected official doesn't usually gather cameras. When people do what they're supposed to do no one is interested. Thus, the majority of everything good or normal that happens in a day is never mentioned at six o'clock.

There are 535 senators and congressmen in Washington, DC. When one or a handful of them messes up or does something dumb it's a scandal of monumental proportions. When the overwhelming majority of them report for work, represent their peeps and do the business of government it's not news. And when the reporters who circle the Hill like vultures smell blood, they make sure the shock is felt around the world. They'll make it as big as they can.

The reporters aren't the only guilty solicitors in such cases either. If a Repub gets caught jaywalking the Dems make sure we see them in horns and tail by sundown. The GOPers are just as guilty. Then they both complain that it's an overreaction. Is there any reason our elected officials are looked upon with great disgust and tremendous mistrust?

The first rule of a successful political race is defining your candidate as a deceiving demon at worst or an incompetent oaf at least. Most of the time they are neither. And the real humor of it all (if there is any) is that we are asked to respect the winner of the nasty, ugly and misleading duel in the end. I know a lot of honorable and good men and women who serve their constituents well. I know a lot of others who would do a fine job in the elected halls, they just don't want to subject themselves or their families to the innuendo, traps and grime of a political campaign. The most qualified don't want it that bad - and don't deserve the mud in their face.

Sometimes I'll be in a group of Republican friends who are talking trash about Democrats. They say ugly things. When they ask my opinion, or prod me to join in, I tell them that I think some Democratic ideas are good. They see the other party as an enemy. I don't. When I'm hanging with a group of Democrat friends they try and bait me into either feeling embarrassed about my conservative beliefs, or demeaning me for simply acknowledging there are good Republican people. Both sides accuse the other of being dumb, blind or arrogant. I say, if you feel that way about the other political party it probably describes you.

Tony Campolo is, in my opinion, a wonderfully brilliant man. I heard him say once, when someone asks him what political party he belongs to, he simply says, "State the issue please." I'm like Tony. If an idea is one of truth and honor, I'm for it. If it is proposed by the Republicans, so be it. If it is advanced by the Democrats, so be it. The ideal is what is important. The party of origin is not.