Cheryl Pappas


Archive for May, 2012

Balancing the Bad News With A Hit of Personal Truth

Monday, May 21st, 2012

I’ve been wondering lately what it would be like to have just arrived on earth from another planet and turn on CNN for the first time.

Now playing might be bloody footage from Syria, political corruption trials, loud, mud-slinging campaign ads on behalf of Romney and Obama, and news pieces about hate being on the rise.

If such inter-galactic travelers existed who were reasonable, intelligent beings, what would they conclude about life on earth?

The real question is what do we conclude, we earthlings, consciously or otherwise, about our lives and other people, based on the daily flood of bad news from the media.

We are presented with a lot of garbage.

Like diners silently eating a bad restaurant meal, we barely acknowledge our feelings about it.

I often talk about the constant flow of toxic imagery in television drug commercials; the nonstop talk of hideous disease possibilities.

A willing audience is strapped into their seats receiving these fear-producing, vivid descriptions of various diseases.

One only needs a healthy imagination to take on the symptoms as described.

That’s a basic reality and it’s a big problem psychologically.

Yet it is only one fast example of the tidal wave of bad news that washes over our nerves daily.

What can we do about this?

The instant cure, of course, is to cut out all television and radio entirely.

Yeah, right. Not going to happen for most people, myself included.

Although I do argue out loud with the drug companies and the actors in those commercials, wonder how they sleep at night, (yes, I know they need the money), and cut off from watching anything harsh, violent, or news-repetitive.

But still, how to counteract the depressive effects of bad news?

It’s well and good to superficially write about the positives of our culture, how cool and awesome our distractions, our new hot sexual trends, books, and social media. It’s true; many cool and awesome things are indescribably cool and awesome.

So are a flood of celebrity news stories overlaying the sobering realities of what goes on personally for most people in America.

It turns out that focusing on positives and making it “all good” doesn’t wipe out the bad stuff. There is too much of it.

We need to identify it and acknowledge what our response to the “bad” is in order to be whole.

So it is that although distractions are popular and invite us to leave behind the irritations and sorrows of life, Americans are depressed.

We have come apart as a society. We no longer tell each other the truth.

My solution?

I would love to hear from well known people, American role models, who are committed to spilling it about the honest challenges that these times present in their own lives and thereby encouraging others to do the same.

This would be a radical departure from the lack of truth and emptiness that self-promotion stands in for.

I know there are people who put out connection through their own words and lives.

Can you think of examples?

There’s no denying the bad news.

Let’s tell the truth about how we really feel about it all, how it impacts our lives, and maybe we will finally become the voice of the movie, Network, where we are “mad as hell and not willing to take it anymore”.

Our truth can reconnect us.

Obama’s Accidental Heroism

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

And the Accidental Hero Award goes to President Barack Obama.

Yes, Obama finally “came out”, on Disney-owned ABC morning television, with the long-awaited magic words of support for gay marriage.

Historical, and somewhat hysterical, at the same time.

The hysteria is the gay rights community’s celebratory amnesia about this president’s audacity.

To put it simply, he stalled in “liberating” gay people from Washington-sanctioned discrimination for 3+ years as he purportedly “evolved” on the issue.

See, it turns out that Obama is the leader and public opinion tide turner, the approver—or disapprover-in-chief– and current “father” of America.

The gay community is a patient, loyal group of children, but even so, gay adolescent cries of injustice were beginning to escalate.

If we grant any credibility to Obama’s stated process of “evolving”, and I staunchly doubt the credibility of it, what exactly did he need to evolve from?

Was it an ingrown prejudice, perhaps fanned by Obama’s previous life, his years of Sunday attendance inhaling Reverend Wright’s fire against gays?

Did he not veer apart from those sermons?

More likely, his indifference was authentically part of the hard drive of his character; the gay matter itself an annoying swarm of gnats buzzing around him again and again.

As human beings, we sometimes are blessed with the opportunity and fortune to grow and evolve. Many of us believed we were hiring a president who would make good on his promise to represent “all the people in America”.

We certainly believed he was someone who was already evolved on civil rights.

This was a blind, even racist belief.

Just because Obama is half-black and a member of a minority himself, does not insure his understanding of others who are hated for being different.

I do not agree with those who say that history will delete this president’s four-year stall. Nor will history forget the timing of Obama’s announced turn-around.

We are smack in the middle of campaign season, and the political chess game just turned whimsically in the favor of gay people.

Timing is a big part of the story of civil rights, as is political motivation; each factor not easily struck from the record.

Speaking of striking, Obama’s initial silence was intense in response to the vice president and secretary of education speaking out for gay marriage.

This event obviously cornered him and presented him with a checkmate moment.

Really, what choice did he have?

Let’s review.

#1. The gay community, who so richly supported his 2008 election, backing him financially and emotionally, was stirring in their anger.

The threat of losing that money and that substantial voting block was fierce and urgent.

#2. Both the vice president and the secretary of education spoke out publicly and definitively in favor of gay marriage.

Two potentially deadly chess moves, and whamo! A supporter is born.

The scheduling of the President’s critical Wednesday announcement is a stroke of fortune.

Obama seems to have concluded his evolution just in time for Thursday night’s Hollywood fundraiser!

Without doubt, the President’s public support for gay marriage is nothing short of fabulous for the evolution of humanity. That the President finally was motivated to grant his approval, thus sanctioning and legitimizing the life of every gay person, is a wonderful event.

However, I stand apart from those who believe Obama’s 11th hour gay marriage support was risky and courageous.

I don’t believe he had many voters to lose in this strategic enactment, even as a beautiful new freedom rings forth.

Perhaps he has disappointed his fellow church people, but they will not turn against him.

Further, white homophobic people are likely not too bullish on black people or Obama either, and probably were never prone in great numbers to support him.

We can thank the vice president and the secretary of education who may or may not have been conscious of the essential role they were playing in politically setting the President up.

Yes, that one thing is certain; Obama was set up.

Set up by a previously generous, essential gay voting block, threatening to remove their resources for his re-election; who in turn were backed up by the common decency of support by our vice president and secretary of education.

This long-fought, happy confluence of light and favor in our time will stand as the key story in the history of justice and liberation for gay people.

In the last and lasting analysis, Obama is, at best, an accidental hero.

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