Charlotte A. Stout

If you missed an ealier post, this page has my previous January 2017 Reflection postings.
If you want to read some earlier Reflections, click on the links below for the month you are interested in:

January 27th: “WOMXN’s March” – January 21, 2017
It was my pleasure and honor to spend this past Saturday marching with a dear friend in the womxn’s march to bring attention to human rights issues encountered by all who are not of a certain color, gender, sexual orientation, political party, economic stratum, or…(fill in the blank).

While the march was extraordinary, bringing people together who might otherwise not seek one another out; demonstrated a love for one another and this country and a tolerance for all, it was one day and one day may not a difference make. Below is an excerpt from the organizers of the women’s march on next steps. Please join me in continuing to take action against injustices toward any person.

“As we regroup to identify next steps in #marchingforward, we remind the world of our core mission, and implore people to let this march be the beginning of the greatest movement toward equity and social justice the world has ever seen. In the days ahead, with the passion of the Womxn’s March fresh in our minds and forever in our memories, we pledge the following:

We vow, in our daily lives, to question the status quo; to conscientiously and constantly ask who isn't at the table; to bring up equity in the most banal situations so that it becomes embedded in our personalities and our souls, regardless of comfort levels and polite dominant culture norms.

We vow to trust womxn, to lift them up, to lift up people of color, LGBTQI people, and people of other abilities, and trust these people as leaders in this movement, and in our professional lives.

We vow to value the words, actions and involvement of marginalized people and neighborhoods of color more than we value statements from politicians.
We vow to be brave in our discussions, and to pursue the intersectionality of our experiences.

We vow to confront the daunting complexities and subtleties of oppressions with open minds and the promise to believe the oppressed.”

We have a difficult four years ahead under the new administration. Make your voice heard to ensure justice for all. Write letters, make phone calls if you see injustice. Only action affords change.

January 20th: Legal Authority or Moral Legitimacy

I follow the writings of Dr. Richard Hanson. I find his outlook on life, his values and morals align quite well with mine. I find him to be intelligent, articulate and able to express difficult issues calmly (unlike me and my drama). So, I am sharing below his thoughts that align with mine about the recent election. Go Dr. Hanson.

“The United States has only one national election - for President - and Democrats have won the popular vote four out of the last five times. Yet through the actions of the Republican-allied Supreme Court in 2000 and FBI in 2016, two out of four - 50% - of those popular votes have been effectively nullified to appoint a Republican President. Most recently, a foreign power shook the foundation of our republic: the electoral process. How do you think the Wall Street Journal, Paul Ryan, the Koch brothers, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and the National Rifle Association would react if these facts were reversed?

Besides common ground, the common good requires common values. Rights for us must be rights for them, and rules for them must be rules for us. We respect fair competition on a level playing field even if we don't like the result. But if one team has to cheat to win, that's a team that deserves to lose.

It's human nature to accuse others of the darkness we hope to hide in ourselves. For decades Trump and others like him have accused their opponents of being illegitimate. But actually it is Trump and his allies who've acquired power through rigging the system, and it is Democrats who have championed voting rights, whose policies are preferred by most Americans, and whose candidates have won most recent national elections.

Bought with blood, our Constitution's guiding principle is that legitimate power comes only from the people. Trump and his allies have acquired legal authority. But they have certainly not earned moral legitimacy. He knows it and they know it.

That's why we see such panicked attempts to deny Russian influence, dismiss Clinton's 2.9 million vote victory, intimidate the press, and attack anyone who dares to question the legitimacy of a con-man with a chip on his shoulder who talks like a populist but acts like an authoritarian plutocrat.

Knowing these facts and knowing your values - no one can take that away from you. You may not be able to change injustice, but it is calming and strengthening to know where you stand about it (see Take Heart, Find Your Ground, and Find the Good That Lasts for more on this).

Then stand up. I am trying to stand up myself here.

Then we can stand together now and in the years ahead. Standing for what is true and what we value. For our own sake, and that of all others.”

January 6th: Inhale the Future – Exhale the Past

I saw the above expression tattooed on the inside arm of a young lady who works at the gym I frequent. I was so struck by the words that I spent time reflecting on the significance and symbolism of each inhale and exhale.

Every single breath we take in is a new moment in our life. As we exhale what was a new moment becomes our past. It is that quick and happens tens of thousands of times a day.

With each new breath we have the opportunity to consciously change the way we think and act. If we were angry on the inhale let’s blow that anger out on the exhale. If we were happy on the inhale let’s exhale and spread that happiness all around us.

It is a bit mind boggling to think we have so many chances every day to change what we choose to inhale and exhale. In a Nano-second we have the choice with each new breath to shape our future.

As I start this new year, I am choosing to inhale a positive future filled with new experiences; continued learning; healthy habits, deepening friendships; being consciously aware of those in need and helping when and where I can; feeling and showing compassion for others; and, accepting and loving myself (not an easy thing to do sometimes).

What do you choose with each inhale, knowing that with the exhale you have lost another moment of life?

I feel this inhale – exhale exercise is especially critical this year as that “dumbass” elected by less than the majority of Americans moves into the White House. Just sayin! I need a new inhale moment. :-)