Campfire Diplomacy

I know, from reading my friend Kurt Harden’s blog, that we may not see completely eye-to-eye politically. But, a fact of which I’m absolutely certain of is that we could sit down around a campfire with two fingers of whiskey and a decent cigar each and come around to more that we agreed on than disagreed. And, with that which we do not agree on we would at least recognize that, in the grand scheme, we both want to be good Boy Scouts and leave the world a better place than we found it for our children. That we share this same goal. We simply have different ideas as to what “better” may look like but we can honor the other’s perspective.

Regardless, I can’t help but think of how much I need this right now. To know that my many friends on the “other side” of all of this would like to embark on some campfire diplomacy such as this with me. Creating the space for goal-oriented persuasive conversation so that “we” may once again become “we the people”. Because history tells us the consequences if we don’t.

Kurt, if you’re reading this, I’ll bring the whiskey if you pick up the cigars. Let’s build a fire.

Facts on Impeachment

A history reminder:

  • Number of US Presidents that have been impeached: 2
  • Number that have been removed: 0

Impeach ≠ You’re fired (Further reading here.)

An impeachment is technically synonymous with indictment. It is simply the U.S. House of Representatives charging a public official with a crime. Just because one is charged does not mean they must resign or are in any way impeded from carrying out their duties. I think people get confused because of Former President Richard Nixon who resigned before the impeachment process was done. Former President Bill Clinton (one of the two above), for instance, was impeached for committing perjury. The Senate declined to hold a trial on the charges and, well, that was that.

Removing a sitting President is a constitutional mechanism without precedent. There is an Article that outlines the reasons a President can be forcibly removed but the bar is pretty high. It, also, would likely be a long process (The impeachment, the Senate hearings/trial, the legal battles, the challenges, etc.) We don’t know, it has never happened. Therefore there is no precedent with which to gauge it.

My eyes are just tired from rolling whenever I hear folks talking about impeachment being the answer. It’s barely a question, historically. So, if that’s what you are hoping for in regards to the current or a future President, please understand what you are actually asking for. What you are likely hoping for is an “Article 2; Section 4 Removal” which simply begins with an impeachment.

I hope this information helps you and others in future conversations regarding this.

A Small Lift to The Ordinary

My favorite Christmas present I received this year was from my wife. She found a nice set of silverplate ware at a local antique shop that is going out of business. I’m unsure of it’s age. It’s simple in style and not too ornate. The certificate says it was made so that a “family of small income can enjoy quality silverplate”. It’s not a full set. In fact, it’s mostly incomplete. But it has enough spoons, forks, and knives for our daily use.

I keep them in a stoneware vessel on our counter, separate from the stainless steel stuff we’ve had for years which, for now, remains in the drawer. It would seem a shame to hide these away like that. I find them beautiful, the sentiment touching, and it ensures they are used daily as intended.

Her idea was that it would be nice to have some real silver to use every day. That it was inexpensive enough to not treat preciously and that we could throw into the dishwasher without too much stress. That it would add a touch of elegance to each meal no matter how humble. A small lift to the ordinary. And, it does.

Rhone Koan — Meaningful Work

Not all work will be meaningful. Some will be meaningful to others but not for you. Some, will be drudgery. Some, will be necessary. Some will just be the thing you have to do until the next thing you have to do comes along until finally, after so much just-stuff, something will come along that is meaningful until, eventually, you’re done with that and doing the next thing you do because it’s just the thing you have to do. The everyday meaningful work is very rare and even then is punctuated by small bursts of just-stuff that you have to do to support the meaningful. But, the true meaning of work will come when one accepts that all work is meaningful work and none of it is and that both of these are simultaneously true.

Pause, Hear, and See

It breaks my heart whenever Beatrix apologizes for asking so many questions. She’s naturally deeply curious. It’s one of the things I love most about my little girl and Bethany and I try to foster it. Therefore, I let her know that it’s what we want her to do. That it’s what she should do.

If there’s any fault in it at all, it’s that sometimes she’s so busy asking questions or thinking up the follow-up ones that she fails to to listen for the answer. I remind her that, while asking questions is a good thing, taking the time to listen and observe is important too. That, many times, the answer is apparent if you pause for a bit to hear and see it. It’s something we all would do well to learn more of.

Fill The Jar

This past year was a hard one. Everyone I’ve spoken with seems to agree with a universality that seems statistically impossible. Despite the fact that the reasons it was a tough year is personal to each of us, we’ve all seemed to have suffered a shared traumatic experience. There were good things, sure. There had to be. But they seemed to be so beset on all sides with the bad stuff that it’s hard to remember the good. The good just doesn’t stand out.

The other day, my wife dusted off a a tall clear jar. Beside it, she placed some small slips of paper and a pen. The slips are large enough only for a sentence or two. The plan: Anytime something good happens,we write it down and put it in the jar. This way, we won’t forget. This year, no matter how bad we perceive things to be, look in the jar, focus on what is good, remember these things. And, if this time next year comes and one speaks of only the bad hard stuff when we look back, one of us will point to the jar and say, "Look in there." We will judge the year by how full the jar is instead.

The Action Hyphen

Henry David Thoreau, in his journals, places a hyphen between such words as to-day or to-morrow. Was this an affectation of his? Of the place or the time? No matter. I find it a delight. Perhaps something I should adopt. A simple hyphen gives such words added action. Forward movement. Makes one feel like they are going into a day or morrow with intention and purpose.

I’ll tell you how the Sun rose…

I’ll tell you how the Sun rose —
A Ribbon at a time —
The Steeples swam in Amethyst —
The news, like Squirrels, ran —
The Hills untied their Bonnets —
The Bobolinks — begun —
Then I said softly to myself —
“That must have been the Sun”!
But how he set — I know not —
There seemed a purple stile
That little Yellow boys and girls
Were climbing all the while —
Till when they reached the other side,
A Dominie in Gray —
Put gently up the evening Bars —
And led the flock away —

by Emily Dickinson

An incomplete list of smart folks that make my day better…

Here, presented in no particular order, are the online writers whose posts and newsletters almost always make my day a bit better and leave me feeling smarter by giving me things worth pondering, enjoying, and sharing.

Disclaimer: I’m sure there’s some I’m forgetting. Once remembered, they will be added.