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Archive for the ‘Thoughts & Complaints’ Category

In the business world, and more so in politics, ugly is the only word I can use to describe the nasty things people so badly want you to hear about their opponent. I call it the “ugly truth” because it is no more related to facts than the monsters under the bed. It doesn’t seem to matter anymore whether these nasty things are based on fact.

With the advent of social networking, blogging and do-it-yourself website-creation people can say whatever they like; true or false. Many believe that if it’s on Facebook, Google or worse yet, YouTube, it must be true. Thus begins the ugly truth of renegade journalism, activist rhetoric and some of the joker’s who speak merely to hear the sound of their own voice.

It’s unfortunate; I’d like to think the audiences are smart enough to research their own truths, but sadly in large part they do not. And as Jack Nicholson so eloquently stated in A Few Good Men, we probably “couldn’t handle the truth” anyway!

Take election campaigns for instance, some political “strategists” have no conscience when stretching truths or pulling verbiage out of context. They think, strike that, they KNOW their voters won’t know the difference and they are counting on our laziness in seeking the facts; they count on our ignorance. That offends me more than anything!

If I were tuning in to American television during an election year I would think that politicians were the most dishonest, morally bankrupt and crazy people I’ve ever seen – at least if election campaigns were all I had to judge them by. It’s not an attractive portrayal of democracy; our forefather’s would be embarrassed. I don’t think freedom of speech wasn’t supposed to look like that. And I don’t think anyone ever intended our civil rights to be used for propagating lies.

I was on the receiving end of that kind of ugly this week in a fight over the state fair and my role in trying to save it. My first reaction was to retaliate. My second was to write down all the facts and make sure my “attacker” knew all the truths. My third reaction was to breathe.  I was hurt. I was shaken and hurt, but I had to breathe and pause. Thankfully, I didn’t retaliate and I didn’t stuff facts down their throat (but I really, really wanted to). The hurt stayed with me a while. I was starting to feel like a victim; the victim of politics on an entirely different level.

Being a victim is NOT the most flattering role for me or for anyone. I really wanted to address every untruth and tell them and everyone the facts, but facts are not what these people were interested in; making crazy accusations to get noticed, were.

During my “pause” I wrote two comments, three emails and four Facebook posts that I never sent. I had to get it out of my system…but still, I felt somewhat victimized.

There are times when it’s much easier to be the victim; you can garner sympathies and rally people to “see it your way.” It feels good to bask in piety and righteousness. It would feel so good to tell everybody that I’m right; people know I’m right and those other losers are wrong so I win, right?  Wrong! It’s not so simple.

One time at a seminar I learned that as long as someone is right, then someone else has to be wrong.  And trying to convince people to side with you is no better than your offender’s initial jab.  We all think that if people agree with “our side of the story” then the other person MUST be wrong, making us out to be the “winner.”  I’ve written about it before, but nobody wins if someone has to be wrong.  It’s scientifically impossible.

So “winning” wasn’t really in my cards today…but neither was wallowing in victimhood.  Ah, the rewards of higher ground.  

I had to make a conscious decision today: to either be a victim or to rise above it.  After a little kicking and screaming and venting and unsent emails, I rose above it.  And eventually, I even meant it!  I responded with kindness.   I chose to not make them wrong for their opinion, but to encourage them for the ONE right thing they had done.  It wasn’t easy, and in some way, I guess I won in the end; if winning is measured in how you respond to the ugly truths of other people’s realities.

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I’m fully engaged in the assault on social media.  I’m a warrior.  I love it. I have a website to maintain for work, two blogs, a LinkedIn profile, a Facebook account, two groups, a cause and two fan pages; I text often, I live on email and Blackberry, I message through myEmma and now I “tweet.” However, I don’t yet see the true value to the one-sided conversations I have on twitter.  Most of my “twittersations” are one-sided because I’m rarely sitting at a desktop reviewing who’s saying what to whom throughout each day and responding.  I think I’m burned out.

I’ve committed to one tweet a day for the State Fair and abhor the 10-tweet overload I receive from some of my “followers.”  People are over-tweeting and it’s getting excessive. I don’t care to know that much about anyone or anything. Am I cynical?  Maybe, but I’m practical. It’s hard to calculate the ROI from an oftentimes open-ended “relationship.” I’m not old by any means, but I’m old-fashioned. I still like interaction and reciprocation. All that said, I get excited when someone “retweets” one of my announcements or mentions me in a “#follow friday.” It’s like a glorious train wreck…you can’t stop looking and you are horrified at what you see.

Do we know who really reads our tweets? Who takes action on them? Who is capitalizing from them? I am beginning to wonder if there is any more substance to the platform than feeding my own ego. Today’s blog is completely rhetorical in nature, but I really do want the answers. I can’t help but want to put a practical value on each initiative and my time.

With my website for instance, I can track visitors to my site, see which pages they viewed, know how long they were on my site and tally each city and state …that is something I can sink my teeth into. You can’t judge a tweeter by his followers, that’s for sure. There are people out there with thousands of followers who think that actually means something…then I see the content of their messages and think, “will someone think I’m like these cheesy salespeople?” Quite honestly, I’ve seen so many of these “get rich quick” or “multi-level marketing” people on twitter its scary. Is it a smoke-screen that gives an appearance of importance, of wealth and of value? It seems that you can be anything or anybody you want when the conversation is controlled by you. You can tell people anything you want about your wonderful self…whether it’s true or not. Should this frighten us about the future and integrity of social media? Again, I just don’t know the answer.

It’s a double-edged sword…now that I have followers, I am committed to sending a message…but even if I tried to stop cold turkey (I say it as if it’s like an addiction, because it is) I can’t stop…my people are WAITING…as if news from the Tennessee State Fair could change the world. Seriously, would they notice if I stopped? I’d like to think there are people hanging on my every word, but chances are, they’re just hoping that I mention them in one of my next tweets. Yep, I’m twitterfried for sure! And speaking of fried: @tnstatefair Don’t miss the TN State Fair September 11-20; home of the Deep Fried Goo Goo Cluster! It’s relentless.

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I sit here thinking about words of encouragement and pearls of wisdom for the working woman on this Sunday before Memorial Day and I am at a loss.  My words seem so insignificant, but I’m writing anyway.  This Monday morning deserves more than best practices and philosophies.  No level of business prowess can trump the efforts and sacrifices made by the men and women of our armed forces through the decades.  This Monday I get the day off to pay homage to those warriors of days past, but will I actually do that?

Will I reflect on the stories of heroism for those who survived and those who died in honor of their country–my country?  War has never been something I have understood, but it is something that always has been…like air and water…it just is.

I am humbled and I am broken as I watch the PBS Memorial Day concert.  I am guilt-ridden when I think for one moment that I’ve had a remotely difficult day lately…or ever in comparison.  I’ve never been to a National Cemetery on Memorial Day and I’m ashamed…tomorrow I begin the tradition.  I cannot enjoy a day with friends without first making the somber trip to pay my respects.  I can only apologize.  I have become one of those people who takes for granted my fortunate life and my blessed existence.

Who do I thank?  How many people do I owe a debt of gratitude? When and where did they fight? Can I make up for lost time and begin a tradition of memorializing our fallen heroes?  I’m going to try.

According to HomeOfHeroes.com, since the birth of the United States of America on July 4, 1776, no single generation of Americans has been spared the responsibility of defending freedom by force of arms.  More than 42 Million American men and women have served in time of war…more than a MILLION have purchased freedom with their lives.  Below are statistics from the US Department of Veterans Affairs detailing the war service and sacrifice of America’s sons and daughters.  I’ve got some making up to do.

My final thoughts are to say to all who served, “thank you, I’m sorry, please forgive me and I love you for what you’ve done for me.”

War Dates Served Battle Deaths Other Deaths Wounded
American Revolution 1775 – 1783 217,000 4,435 Unknown 6,188
War of 1812 1812 – 1815 286,730 2,260 Unknown 4,505
Indian Wars 1817 – 1898 106,000 1,000 Unknown

Unknown

Mexican War 1846 – 1848 78,718 1,733 11,550 4,152
Civil War (North) 1861 – 1865 2,213,363 140,414 224,097 281,881
Civil War (South) 1,050,000 74,524 59,297

Unknown

Spanish-American War 1898 – 1902 306,760 385 2,061 1,662
World War I 1917 – 1918 4,734,991 53,402 63,114 204,002
World War II 1940 – 1945 16,112,566 291,557 113,842 671,846
Korean War 1950 – 1953 5,720,000 33,686 20,560 103,284
Vietnam War 1964 – 1975 9,200,000 47,410 42,788 153,303
Gulf War 1990 – 1991 2,322,332 148 1,194 467

Totals 42,348,460 650,954 538,503 1,431,290

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