I’ve been going back and forth on this blog – and Carol even advised me not to post it. I came home from yoga tonight having decided NOT to post this, and then watched the newsfeed from a DC restaurant with well dressed individuals offering up the “Sieg Heil Salute” – so post I must. I’m 62, and feel I have earned the right to speak my mind so here goes…
IMHO and Grass Clippings started out as a way to communicate with my stores, and if it included a little self-promotion… well “guilty as charged”. I think I’m past that now; I have so much on my mind – and I need a means to “get it out”. There is something very cathartic for those of us who love to “put pen to paper” whether one writes for a living… or someone like me who just considers blogging one of his hobbies. I used to be so careful to be PC, and make sure I didn’t ruffle anyone’s feathers with my posts, especially my clients. Please know that is still my goal – hurting anyone in any way is not cool. The main purpose of my writing is to get you to think. I’m not sure why, but all of my life people have looked to me for advice. That includes my bosses, my customers, and my family. My idea of advice is not to tell you what to do, but rather to help you think things through for yourself; by asking questions or offering ideas you may not have considered – and thus allowing you come to the “right” conclusion on your own.
Politics and The Presidency Let’s face it… if your customer base is The Northeast – you have a very diverse clientele. As many of my neighbors were reminded of last week, the whole world is not Chester County – and that’s a good thing. Some of my favorite customers are from upstate NY and Western Pennsylvania, and this helps me remember that the majority of the 135 million people who voted last Tuesday are good, solid citizens who care deeply about this country. People who live in rural America are no more racist than the people on my street… in fact these are the same voters who elected our first black president 8 years ago – and then re-elected him again 4 years later.
That being said we are a very divided nation, and I fear we are in for some rocky times ahead. And I blame social media and particularly Facebook for a lot of it. I admit I do go on Facebook, and find some of it interesting, informative, and enlightening. The internet is an endless sea of information, but one must navigate with caution. Many of us are not really interested in “learning”, but rather read and watch TV in the hopes of validating our preconceived notions. This is particularly dangerous in an open society, when the media and politics are so inundated with the almighty dollar.
I believe this is the greatest country in the world – warts and all. Much of what makes us great is our democracy, but Winston Churchill was right…
“Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others”.
Our constitution is the foundation of our government, but you can’t pick and choose which amendments you like. While requiring some “updating”, I do believe in the second amendment. But one can’t swear by the second amendment, and then say that people who are upset with something don’t have a right to peacefully protest. The first amendment doesn’t say arbitrary citizens get to decide which gripes are OK to protest about and which ones make you a “whiner”. That being said…
If you get violent in any way and/or damage property during your protest - you should be locked up. There is no place for this in a civilized society. And if you are one of the 96 million people who didn’t vote last week and are out in the streets protesting the results of the election – GO HOME!!!!
In case you can’t tell, I did not vote for Donald Trump last Tuesday. But he won and he is going to be our next president. I have some serious questions of how the next 4 years are going to play out, but rules are rules and he won. This is still the same basic country today as it was at 8PM last Tuesday evening, so we all need to calm down a little. If your candidate won, you have every right to be happy; the key however is whether the country “won” – and only time will tell that. But gloating is never pretty, and all of us should learn how to be magnanimous in our victories.
Over the past 8 years, I watched with disgust the disrespectful way our last president was spoken about on Facebook, in the media, and even in the halls of congress. I was taught that The President of the United States deserved respect above all else, and the veteran fathers of some of my FB “friends” would be rolling around in their graves if they read what I’ve read. For me, respecting the 45th president is going to be very difficult to do based on the past 18 months, but I plan on taking a wait and see attitude and am hoping he earns the respect I am willing to give to him “on the come”.
And I hope there will be just as much outrage at the recent swastikas and racial slurs (see above) being reported as there is about some young, college students who happen to have voted in their first election and are feeling firsthand what it’s like when their candidate loses. I can’t help it but I’m against ALL forms of racism and bigotry… and am particularly sensitive to swastikas.
Facebook Rules When I first joined Facebook about 5 years ago I had no idea what I was getting into, and before I knew it I had tons of “friends” – some whom I hardly knew. I sent out very few friend requests, and accepted almost anyone who friended me. That ended up not being the best of strategies. I probably should have set up a few rules first, and maybe that would have helped a little. But alas I just kept clicking “accept” and before I knew it I was up to over 500 friends between my 2 accounts. If I could go back in time, I would have probably posted the following at the top of my Facebook page on day one – just as a public disclosure:
1. Religion is a very private thing to me. If religion is important to you that’s great, but please understand... I am Jewish (mostly in theory) and have more questions than answers. I really don’t care what religion you are and I certainly don’t want to be converted at 62. Feel free to make a religious post if that’s your thing, but… I definitely don’t want to see anything on my wall professing that one religion is better than another. As if it is a “negative” to be Muslim or an atheist… shame on some of you.
2. I am equally private about politics. Someone recently asked me “what do you do when your customers want to talk politics with you”? My answer… “Democrat or Republican – I just don’t go there.” As I said to her – “It’s an art form and I’ve become very good at dancing”. However you “lean”, Facebook just isn’t the best place to make yourself an educated citizen. If you want to become President, it’s a GREAT way to reach the voters, but I didn’t accept either Clinton’s nor Trump’s friend request purposely. If you’d like to have a serious political discussion with me, invite me to dinner and let’s share a bottle of wine – I’ll even pick up the check. For most of the Facebook world, it’s virtually impossible to avoid politics, so this is not a total “ban”. But keep it civil, and respect the fact that no matter what you post, there are going to be just about 50% of the people who read it who are going to believe the exact opposite!
3. Most of what I post is business or health and wellness related, as that is my “thing”. If I do happen to break my own rule (see below) and post something bordering on politics designed to make you think, please don’t take it as an invitation to argue with me – or bully me. Feel free to respectfully disagree however – the key word being “respectfully”.
4. Understand that when you comment on someone else’s post – because you are my “friend” - that appears on my wall as well. And that allows me to “view” that entire conversation – and to see how some people spend their entire day getting into contentious arguments with dozens of people they never met. It really makes little difference to me if this is the way you choose to spend your day – but just realize that your children (assuming you are FB friends with your kids which most people are) are able to see this banter as well. In short…THINK!
A Group Email Last week I received an email from my boss with a “reminder” about paperwork procedures for new accounts. It was actually addressed to the entire sales staff but I read it “defensively” and questioned her in the email reply “Does this reminder apply to me”? As anal as I am about following instructions I doubted it, and she called me and assured me that it didn’t – but that she preferred to handle things like this in a group email, and that I could ignore it.
This post is kind of like that email. I am choosing to “send” it to my entire circle of contacts – even though it is really directed at only a few of them. Mostly because I want you ALL to hear what I have to say. So if any of this applies to you, just keep it in mind the next time you post something. I have no interest in being the “Facebook Police”, so I will not be calling you out on it – this is your only "warning". If you happen to check your list of Facebook friends one day and realize that we are no longer friends – don’t be upset. If I liked or admired you before… I probably still do. If you have something “important” to say to me, you’ll just have to do it “the old-fashioned way” – and email or call me. I promise I will still take your call!
And finally, it is Thanksgiving on Thursday, my favorite holiday. Take a look around you. My guess is that you are going to be sitting at a table with a roof over your head surrounded by a loving family and/or friends (and have shoes on your feet). All of this should not be taken for granted as much of the world is far less fortunate.
Warts and all… we have much to be thankful for.