Monday, August 14, 2017

A strong woman can change the world.

My walk on the beach at dawn.... 

(Warning: a real-life post ahead)

This morning I woke up to an overcast, hazy mist in the sky that somehow felt right, sort of a mirror of the heaviness I was feeling in my heart. It's so painful to see the country I love in such a broken state; six months of a Trump presidency and we're closer to a nuclear war with North Korea than ever before, we have Nazis and KKK marching in the streets and we're floundering as a nation without real moral leadership in our White House. 

This isn't about Democrats vs. Republicans or conservatives vs. liberals...blah blah blah.

I'm so sick of all the labeling and finger-pointing.

We are Americans first.

Yet without a unifying President that reaches across party lines and instead bullies and labels his adversaries as enemies....we're more divided as a people than ever.

It's really pretty basic. Every person who has parented kids knows that setting standards of behaviors and values all starts at the top. You want kids that communicate constructively and treat each other well? You have to role model those behaviors, be that person. It works the same at a company. Most of us know the power of a boss in creating a healthy environment among employees.

Our political world is not much different. 

Now we have all this anger spilling over at the drop of a hat when regular, nice people try to talk about politics or issues, have you noticed this?  

Suddenly there are real rifts between family members and friends and every day it feels like a new "hot" topic emerges that you can't talk about in mixed company. 

 I mean ...come on.

We have a President that has to be pressured into strongly disavowing violent white supremacy and Nazi groups?! 

Sorry to state the obvious but you cannot be a Proud American and a Nazi at the same time, and yes, I do wish we had a President that would blast this fact out instantly, no Teleprompter needed. 

Oh well.

Strong women don't require any mansplaining before we call a spade a spade.

What hurts my heart is this. 

The United States of America was once a beacon of light in the world representing core democratic values. Yes we're flawed, but we always aspired to stand for freedom and hope and equality for all people no matter their color or race. Yet today right in front of our eyes there's an insidious erosion of these core values happening, and most alarming is the undermining of our free press which is crucial to any true democracy.

Do you want to make a difference?

My point is, let's be informed by our history.

Let's value real facts.

Because I believe there is strength in being knowledgeable. Following current events and news is not an option for me, but I'll admit these days I regulate how much news I watch because frankly, it's pretty depressing.

(See? Every town has a Main Street and they all should matter)

I won't sugarcoat things. As a former mental health professional 
I recognize emotional instability in our current President and it's scary. I'm deeply disturbed by the direction of my beloved country.

So yes.

There are times I post pretty pictures and get lost in creative projects and happily distracted from politics. But I never stop coming back. Because no matter whom are leaders are, it's on us to be informed citizens.

Our democracy exists because of us, we have to care.

Today I honor Heather Heyer, a young woman who had the guts to go out and protest against real evil and tragically lost her life in the most violent way. My heart aches for her mother and everyone who knew her. 

But I figure, maybe I can keep Heather's courage alive in my own little way by striving to be the kind of woman who will stand up for what is morally right. Be the kind of woman who really listens to others and if needed, speaks respectfully about my own views even in the company of those who may disagree strongly. 

Like this blog post for instance. Oh I'm sure I'll lose followers as a result.

It's crazy how divisive our culture is right now.

But I think we have to stop worrying so much about what others think of us and instead, we need to care more about doing the right thing. 

Now more than ever, the truth really matters.

Let me know what you think.




Lori said...

Can I just say that I am pretty damn happy to be living in the country that I do. I will not speak what I think of the man in power in your country because my mother taught me manners. I shake my head most days and think his phone should be taken away from him! What will it take to unite your country again ~ all I know is that I am sad and scared that he is going to get us all killed. Wise words once again Leslie xoxo

Art and Sand said...

I am scared to death and worried about the world my new grandson will grow up in. It does not come close to the world in which I was raised. I hate to say it, but Steve and I talk about being glad that at 68, we won't be around to see how far we will fall.

I read the news and the am angry at myself for being sucked in by all the negativity. I keep hoping when something negative occurs that it will be the straw that breaks the camel's back and we will get back on track, but no, the straws keep being piled on. I really don't know what it will take for our country to recover.

After reading your strong post, I am embarrassed that I thought my little post on Instagram today would make a difference.

mdickson said...

Love your writing les!

Leslie Harris said...

Lori. Believe me, I know exactly how you feel. We sure love our Canadian friends.

Leslie Harris said...

Oh Carol please don't say that! Embarrassed is the absolute last thing you should feel, my gosh you have no idea what a delight you are to your readers! I'm your #1 fan and truly appreciate the light, beauty-filled images you share, especially your last one. Please don't underestimate the impact you have on us readers, it's a gift to be able to lift up others. You do that, believe me!

Leslie Harris said...

Oh thanks for reading this Mare, my first post ever mentioning politics yikes. 😊 Been thinking of you!

Cathi said...

I agree with everything you've said here, Leslie - it's truly frightening times in our country. It is plain craziness! It baffles and angers me to no end that there are people in our country who support this idiot. You would not believe how many heated conversations I have been in since the election ( I just can't help but speak my mind). But I also have true optimism that we will get thru this despite the events of the past week that have set our country back decades! Wonderful and thought provoking post, Leslie!

Anonymous said...

I too stepped away from blogging . . . popping in with a post now and then. The sedentary hobby began to effect my health. I also think I was beginning to write to impress others, and no longer from my own heart. In September, I plan to return with a simple journal format.

A blog is a good voice. With the addition of community service, both enable the exercise of freedom to speak, and exchange thoughts and ideas. Our freedom to speak is the most important right we hold as Americans. It is the first right because our founders knew that without it no other rights were possible.

There are too many forces at work in our country that believe limiting this right will make us safer. It will not.

However, NO ONE has a right to incite violence, to threaten, assault, or to promote wicked acts while cloaking themselves in the protection of our Constitution.

As a white woman, I condemn and deplore the wicked - evil movement we observed this weekend.

As an Independent, I grieve for Heather Heyer and her family and friends as I grieved for Kate Stienle and her family and friends. She too, the victim of another wave of injustice.

Trump is the result of years of the political strategy of two parties constantly projecting blame on each other, demonizing each other and their supporters, and running a candidate equally corrupt, although bettered "filtered" as he.

Morality departed the White House, Washington, and society long, long ago. I only have to walk out my front door to see the results of failed social engineering and the moral demise of the past forty years. Yet we stay to breath life in this once well kept little blue collar, single family neighborhood for a few more years.

The sad thing is we continue to allow the extremes on either side to run the narrative and insight hate. We should stand up to Trump just as we should have called out Hillary's indecretions instead of once again projecting blame onto something else.

Our "Free Press" is contrived and has turned as sensational as The National Inquirer.

Keep speaking.

For the most part, we agree dear, Leslie.

I read with an open mind.


Blue Cottage said...

Hi Leslie, you have a new follower to your blog.

Thank you for posting this well written post. My husband was a counter protestor representing our family on Saturday since all of us couldn't be in Charlottesville. We were proud of him marching and participating for what we believe. Our daughter graduated from UVA and currently resides in Charlottesville. It is a democratic city that will not put up with this domestic terrorism. Our fathers did not fight to bring down Hitler in WWII to have this happen again. Unbelievable.

I say kudos to Airbnb and GoDaddy for standing up to the White Nationalists.

Also, to the Merck, Intel and UnderArmour CEOs. People are finally standing up to the bully in the White House. It took 2 days to get his tweet right condemning the White Nationalists about Cville but only 1 hour to send a nasty tweet about Ken Frazier.

I totally agree that we should have a woman as President. Many other countries have had women leaders for decades. Why are we so behind?

Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...


I have always love your authenticity. Although people in social media like to portray their lives as perfect the fact is the life is messy. Sadly this country is in a bad place and we have been for a long time. People want to blame President Trump for all of the negativity but the facts are that there has been a rising tide of negativity and divisiveness. I personally am sick and tired of an entire government that can accomplish nothing. Why? Because they do not want too. Everyone is working on their "own"agenda instead of working on the agenda of the people who elected them. These two parties need to get together and get something done for the good of this country.

I am probably going to get some flack for this but I cannot believe that so many are trying to re-write, and erase the messy history of the USA. Yes many if not all of the founding fathers had slaves, yes there were Confederates and many other aspects of history that maybe you don't like but that is the way it is. We don't just decide to erase all of the good that Jefferson, Washington and the rest did because they owned slaves. They are talking now about obliterating Jefferson from the University of Va, which I might add he founded! IF that is the case are we to destroy the Library of Congress which was started with Thomas Jeffersons books? Are we to tear down Monticello and Montipelier. What about Arlington Cemetery which was the home of Robert E. Lee, are we to go in their and dig of the confederate dead? We have to stop this!

Thanks for sharing your thought Leslie. We can only pray that there are better times ahead.

Brenda Pruitt said...

Agree with you 100%. Wrote about this yesterday myself.

Preppy Empty Nester said...

Amen Leslie! Well said!!!

Susan said...

Excellent post, Leslie~
The trouble is, a lot of people don't seem to know what "the right thing" is! Our country's morals are on a downward spiral and it's gaining momentum. It's so easy to feel helpless, under the circumstances. I've lived a lot of years, almost 64, and this is the first time that I've felt scared for our country and it's people.

jeanne said...

This was so good to read and what so many of us are feeling. I am sickened and so sad about what is happening to our country. This man is so undeserving of the office he holds.

Please always be yourself and write from your heart. It is so necessary at this time and appreciated always.

OzzienDiane said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Well said! I agree with you. I also am a former mental health professional. I recognize unstable thought processes and find Trump's behavior frightening. I not only fear a war with North Korea but a civil war in my country. I have had to limit my time watching TV because I find it too upsetting. I feel like our President's behavior on all forms of media incites people to be hateful. It certainly does nothing to unite people. I even feel a certain tension in my neighborhood since Trump starting campaigning that only seems to deepen now that he is President and also every time he opens his mouth. It will be most important for everyone to vote and regain the checks and balances in the White House. I have had enough of reality TV Apprentice taking place in the White House. I feel I have to do my part: Vote and be kind to everyone!

La Contessa said...

I AGREE WITH YOU AND YES I spoke about HIM when he got elected.............
WE NEED TO SPEAK UP.If the people who VOTED for HIM still think he should be PRESIDENT There is something terribly terribly WRONG with THEM..............
He is a DISGRACE........and an embarrassment!WHat will it take for those REPUBLICANS to stand up to HIM?YOU just know there is eye rolling going on and FEAR!

LauraJ said...

Unfortunately the seeds of the country's racial and political unrest were cultivated during the last several years, and to blame them on President Trump is a gross over reach. The press, which should be reporting unbiased news on both sides, has made it clear that the masses are not capable understanding the issues and need to be instructed on the evils of Conservatives. I am a middle age, middle class, married with children, white female. I'm not a racist, not a neo-nazi, not anti immigration, nor are any of my conservative friends. While I STRONGLY disapprove of the White Nationalists, I also disapprove of the group that showed up with baseball bats. We are fortunate to live in a country that allows us to express our views, we owe it to our fellow Americans to do so peacefully. People need to wake up and realize that factions of our society are purposely inciting division for their own gain. I'm looking at you Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer,Nancy Pelosi, Ashley Judd, Madonna, ....

LauraJ said...

I'm sorry to say I won't be reading your blog again.

Unknown said...

I could not have said it any better! Thank you for this beautiful message and thank you for returning to your blog. Peace and blessings Leslie.

Susan Nowell @ My Place to Yours said...

My heart breaks over the hatred so graphically portrayed in Charlottesville. I’ve read articles and blog posts. I’ve watched news coverage. I’ve seen the finger-pointing. But Leslie, I don’t believe our problems are caused by skin color, religious beliefs, or who’s president.

At the bottom of all the divisiveness, arrogance, bigotry, racism, name-calling, and hatred is a reality that has affected every generation of mankind since the very beginning: We’re not living up to our potential. Mankind—every one of us—is made in the image of our Creator. At our core, we bear His image. I believe we were created to desire relationship—with God, and with all humans; with others created in the image of God. To do anything less devalues our fellow man and fails to recognize each person as a fellow image-bearer.

We were created to see God in each other. But in that very first generation of mankind, sin entered the picture, and the brilliant, God-reflecting glory humans received at creation was tarnished. Mankind has been a participant in the Good vs. Evil battle ever since.

What if we humans started taking seriously our role as image-bearers? If we look at each other and see ourselves, imperfect as we are? What if we let being an image-bearer woo us back to the most basic, wholesome form of humanity? What if we love our neighbor as ourselves? What if we ask God to restore his image in us?

Donnamae said... are certainly not going to be losing this follower! I agree with you 100%. I am so frightened these days...we have a man as President who does not know what it is to lead. He only knows how to be a bully. I'm going to stay informed, I'm going to try and help to change my little corner of the world, and unite with like-minded people. I'm just hoping and praying that someone would get through to that man before he starts another war. God help is all! ;)

Erika said...

Yes and again, yes. My heart hurts for our country. Thank you for having the courage to speak up-more need to.

Karen said...

I appreciate your words. Im so saddened in our nation's current administration and the hatred that seems to prevail over kindness and peace. I pray for furure leadership that migh begin to repair the damage done these past few six months.

Carla from The River said...

Thank you, Leslie,
Well said! My husband and I both have talked about what kind of future will our boys have? I am so sad at all the hate that is all around. No one seems to care for each other. No one seems to want to actually HELP but instead cause division.
Love, Carla

JoanMarie said...

Leslie - first let me say I was delighted to see your new post and hope that you have enjoyed the summer. I agree with your words and feel it is more important than ever to be near those people in our lives who lift us up and make us smile - those that "do the right thing". That, my Dear, is you!

Anonymous said...

I want to thank you for speaking out. Our president has created a culture where the neo-nazis think it's ok to spew hate. We were created in God's image and commanded to love one another. You think it would be pretty simple.

Simply LKJ said...

A beautiful heartfelt post Leslie. I have to say that unfortunately this is what we have been dealing with since Eve decided to eat of the apple in the garden of Eden. The devil saw his chance and he continues to tempt anyone and everyone each and every day. We as individuals need to recognize his sneaky attacks for what they are, an attempt at keeping us from what and who we truly believe in . Our world has been broken since that dreadful day in Genesis chapter 3.

Leslie Harris said...

Thank you JoanMarie and I return the feelings. i'm glad to be back, and look forward to catching up with your beautiful blog. I so appreciate the kinship I feel with you and I'm not surprised you could relate to this post. It was definitely going out of my comfort zone to share it, but as usual I'm truly fascinated and touched as I hear the views of other women.
hugs to you,

Leslie Harris said...

Lynn, I have always detected such a wisdom in your words and once again I feel the same.
Beginning of course with the blogging break. I think it's so perceptive to be aware of writing for others, I've found it to be an insidious change that happens too easily if we're not careful. I can relate to feeling this too and I find it zaps the joy from my blogging when it happens. In fact, I can't do it. I think in retrospect my absence from my blog started as a kind of avoidance. Every time I thought about my blog I began to feel a nagging stress as if I was chronically behind schedule, not keeping up somehow. And god that's an awful feeling, one that affects creativity. Turns out that it led to a kind of identity crisis about my entire blog that I had to figure out. Maybe it's similar to when a mother launches her kids and is confronted with the question, "If I'm not mothering, who am I?" Well it was similar with my DIY projects. When I found myself focusing on other parts of my life instead of my home improvements, I suddenly felt like, "If I'm not showing my house and projects anymore, what do I have to offer?"

It was all self inflicted, mostly from comparing myself with these immensely creative design bloggers ----of which I am really not--and anyway whew, I just needed to step away from it all. And it somehow seems to be working itself out.
Thanks for reading this post, I noticed that I found myself nodding as I read your comments, very astute paragraph " Trump is the result of years of political strategy ...."
I'm also an Independent and find myself shaking my head at both parties, and I worry deeply when I see people demonize the 'other side' without even trying to empathize or understand the other perspective. I'm not quite as cynical yet about the idea of morality 'departing the White House, Washington and society long long ago' although I do agree we've got a Congress and Senate right now that's full of moral weaklings and spineless men. Hmm, also don't know what "social engineering' means.
But I do agree we have to choose to care more about our country than our affiliation with any one political party.
hugs to you, can't wait to see your September launch.

Robin in Umbria said...

Leslie, Thank you for writing this blog post. You eloquently put into words, how I feel.

I look forward to every post you publish, on every subject. I have learned so much from you. Please do what feels best for you and brings you joy.

I wish to strive for kindness, compassion and empathy. Robin

Leslie Harris said...

Blue Cottage, I know I already left a comment on Brenda's blog for you but I had to repeat how much I appreciate your confident, strong voice on this topic. Thank you for reading my post and taking the time to leave your thoughts, it really means so much to me. And a big thank you to your husband for representing all of us on that day in Charlottesville. As I write these words this issue continues to spiral and today Republican Senator Corker stated that our President has "not displayed the stability or competence to lead our country" and added he shows a lack of understanding about our nation's character. It's all quite stunning.


Leslie Harris said...

Thanks Katie!

Leslie Harris said...

I totally relate to that "helpless" feeling and I was talking to my hairdresser about it and she actually introduced me to a constructive activist group. Haha yep at my age, it helps me feel like I'm "doing" something, heck just making calls and receiving factual info about issues is something.
Thanks for sharing your views dear.

Leslie Harris said...

You're so sweet thank you Jeanne.

Leslie Harris said...

Thanks for reading this and sharing your views Erika. I really do love to hear what my readers are thinking and it's nice to hear that I'm not alone in my beliefs.

Leslie Harris said...

Thanks Karen, I'm right there with you, praying too!

Leslie Harris said...

Unfortunately I don't believe he is a spiritual man so it may not be so simple for him.
Thanks so much for sharing your views here I really appreciate hearing from you.

Leslie Harris said...

Beautifully said. Thanks Lauren.

Stonecropsister said...

Hi Leslie,
It's become a surreal daily experience, opening up the browser and clicking on CNN or Washington Post links, my morning staples. Despite the stories that appear before me each and every week since January, I cannot seem to help myself. It's like I can't help but watch the same version of a train wreck over and over. But I also see and hear the good. The pictures of the march by Michael Moore after his show to Trump tower, the joint statement from Bush Jr and Sr. The CEO's who resigned in protest. It filled me with pride and hope, and it's not even my country! I think your post pointed out that people should be able to talk about this, and somehow even that seems to have become a risky thing to do.
My daughter has been travelling for a few months in Europe with two girlfriends. In Naples, they sat outside at the end of a hot long day, close to 90F, and she told me they decided to forgo buying water for the table, as they are watching their budget (and frankly probably wanted to spend on wine), and an older couple at the next table (aka my age likely) sent over water for them. They got talking, and they were from New Jersey. The couple later sent over dessert. Heaven! And then they said their goodbyes, and wished each other well. And when my daughter and her friends went in to pay, the entire bill had been taken care of. There are no better people on the face of the earth than Americans. You are just a fabulous nation, and it is actually quite a stunning experience to witness the country coming together, even though many say it is falling apart. Keep the faith. xx Nancy

Blondie's Journal said...

I have to come back, Leslie...this is a lot to absorb and I'd like to read the comments as well. I want to send you a big hug for expressing in a very non combative voice how you feel. Very well written and I know you must really feel strongly to come back from what I hope was just a blogging break.

Our feelings are one....watching MSNBC right now and the repeated image of Senator Corker questioning Trumps stability. it is terrifying. While every day has given us more reason to grab a bucket of popcorn and watch the telly, we are now wanting to run to the toilet to vomit.

I'll get back to you.

Bravo for your words.

Jane x

J said...

The President did condemn the hate groups fueled by bigotry and racism on both sides in his statement. He also stated that our country must not tolerate these acts of evilness coming from either side of the political spectrum. Just as there was no place for it when a deranged shooter came to a baseball practice and asked if they were Republicans before he began, or killing police officers, or other acts of violence at political rallies- all carried out by the extreme left. Sadly, the media finds those facts inconvenient since it doesn't suit their political bent. You won't lose me as a reader and I hope that you also respect and appreciate a different perspective from another strong woman.

Unknown said...

Leslie dear, This is truly a heartfelt and articulate post. Your ability to put your thoughts into meaningful discourse is one of the things I appreciate about you and your inspiring blog. Welcome back!
I have beloved family and friends on all side of this political coin and have learned to keep my political views mostly private over the years. Truth is, I struggled so much with casting my vote last November that I ended up writing my husband's name in for president. I value his integrity, honesty, and vision far more than either option we had. That said, I had hoped that things would calm down after the election. We've been incredulous hearing some of the remarks and tweets of late. As a fellow mental health professional/psychologist, I deeply share your concerns about the mental health issues I'm seeing. I share your sadness and concern for our country.
Thank you for sharing your truth.
xx, Heather

Leslie Harris said...

What a great little story to share, thank you Nancy. To be honest, I've never really understood the whole "make America great again" theme that Trump was touting through his campaign, all the discontent and complaints about our country, or government. Maybe I've been a political optimist all along and simply didn't realize it. :) Now. Despite my previous views I have to admit Trump's ascension seems to have lifted a scab off the uglier parts of our nation. And I'm hearing a lot of pent up anger out there from good people, and bad.
 Certainly we've seen this in Charlottesville and in other acts of violence. 

These are troubling times under this President, I won't lie. No one is blaming him for 'all the problems' that seems to be a complaint by his followers. But simple observation alone shows that he not the stable unifying figure our country needs right now. And I honestly don't believe he recognizes his own role in inciting hate and division. Maybe this is what makes him so scary. 
I'm so glad your girls had a safe and fun adventure in Europe.
hugs to you my wise friend,

Leslie Harris said...

Thank you Jane, I appreciate you reading this. It is nice to read the comments and reflect on your feelings before writing. I know I've done that too.

Leslie Harris said...


I notice that you're listed as a no-reply blogger and I really hope you this response.
Because the first thing I did when I read your comment was get a big, happy grin on my face.
And honestly, I felt like doin' the dance of HOPE, if there was one.
hope. hope. hope. That's how you made me feel.

Why you may ask? Because YOU-- J, are an aberration these days.
You are an awesome communicator.
You are a real-life strong woman who can be part of a conversation with people who think very differently than you, and not only do you state your views respectfully, but I applaud you for not needing to leave in anger. For not needing to leave in a huff and slam the proverbial door on my face. And tell me that you never want to read my blog again!!" because I think differently than you do.

THIS is the kind of world I want to live in. I want to be able to talk with others who see life through a different lens and I want listen to their views. Because I'm genuinely curious; I don't have a need to 'win or lose,' but instead, I'd like to understand you better.
How did we get here? How did we get to these very different viewpoints?
And my hope is that the other person can hear a different viewpoint too ...and we both can care how the other person feels.
This is the kind of world I want to live in.

Thanks for being part of this conversation friend. I really do appreciate hearing your view.


J said...

My pleasure, sweet Leslie. I'm not an anomaly in terms of perspective- so many other strong women out there with like sentiments. Beautiful, thinking, real-life ladies- everywhere! Thank YOU!

cindy hattersley design said...

Leslie this was powerfully written. You are so right it is not about Democrats or Republicans. We are all Americans first. My husband and I did exactly what Heather did (a nonvote because we were so disenchanted with the choices) Frankly, I am a republican, but I am completely disgusted by what our leader is teaching our children.

karen@somewhatquirky said...

Oh Leslie, thank you so much for writing this post. Since November I have spent a good portion of EACH DAY trying to manage the heaviness of my heart over this issue. I feel it is my responsibility to follow what is going on, and find myself like one of the commenters above, finding myself unable to look away - like a bad train wreck. Most days now I am able to clean my heart out through activity. I am using podcasts to keep my mind focused on good or informative things. I haven't blogged about it because I literally am afraid of what might come out. I'll reference my favorite quote here - "when the world shakes you up and spills you out, what comes out is what you are full of." Just reading your post makes my heart hurt and beat heavily . . . like I need a big hug just to keep it from bursting out of my chest. Again, thank you.

Sharon said...

Maybe the last 8 years of "lawlessness" is coming to a head?

Incredible that all of a sudden we are "divided" country.

Vannessa@Luxuria said...

I am in the UK Leslie but we are also terrified at how erratic your President is. Only last week we booked to go to NYC for Christmas. Then all the N.Korea shenanigans started and we stopped everything. We are just too nervous to take a chance which is so sad. As you say it is his unpredictability that is just unnerving the whole world really. When and how will it all end?
Hope you are well nonetheless lovely lady xx

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