Best Intentions

Best intentions, not an end, but a starting point,

Be not just content to have “best intentions” rather,

Frequently be re-accessing actions, to attend, align yourself with what is best practice, plan, actions,

And remove ego, so that your evaluation and following efforts are properly aligned not just for you but for all,

For all, the good of the many, best intentions truest goal,

GOOD.

The Declaration of Independence

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, —

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–

Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.

The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them. He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only. He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures. He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands. He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers. He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries. He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power. He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation: For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us: For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States: For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world: For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies: For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:
Column 1
Georgia: Button Gwinnett Lyman Hall George Walton
Column 2
North Carolina: William Hooper Joseph Hewes John PennSouth Carolina: Edward Rutledge Thomas Heyward, Jr. Thomas Lynch, Jr. Arthur Middleton
Column 3
Massachusetts: John HancockMaryland: Samuel Chase William Paca Thomas Stone Charles Carroll of CarrolltonVirginia: George Wythe Richard Henry Lee Thomas Jefferson Benjamin Harrison Thomas Nelson, Jr. Francis Lightfoot Lee Carter Braxton
Column 4
Pennsylvania: Robert Morris Benjamin Rush Benjamin Franklin John Morton George Clymer James Smith George Taylor James Wilson George RossDelaware: Caesar Rodney George Read Thomas McKean
Column 5
New York: William Floyd Philip Livingston Francis Lewis Lewis MorrisNew Jersey: Richard Stockton John Witherspoon Francis Hopkinson John Hart Abraham Clark
Column 6
New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett William WhippleMassachusetts: Samuel Adams John Adams Robert Treat Paine Elbridge GerryRhode Island: Stephen Hopkins William ElleryConnecticut: Roger Sherman Samuel Huntington William Williams Oliver WolcottNew Hampshire: Matthew Thornton

Pull Down The Curtain. Again.

More than thirty years back the Soviet Union dissolved…or so we thought.

Fifteen republics broke up into separate countries. But much of the underlying control structures and mentality and motos operendai remained.

We see it functioning just under the surface even today.

For there to be true progress now, the underlying framework and attitudes must be addressed, it all must be dismantled, and the attitudes and approaches must be changed.

Vladimir Putin and his ilk have brought us to the brink of World War III.

We cannot let evil, authoritarian ways prevail. We must stand for freedom and democracy and peace.

We must stand up, and stand together. And pull the curtain down before it goes up. Pull it down for good. Let the Russian people, let the Ukrainian people show us the way.

As a political scientist and historian, I know this is a complicated path, and I know it’s not likely to play out in the manner we want.

As an optimist I can’t hope for any other outcome.

Flow State

In many facets of life, find the flow state,

Find harmony,

Find peace.

Don’t need many words, works to get there,

And when you do,

Bliss,

Not sure how, not sure the definition,

Especially as a parent, especially as a single parent,

How to find that groove, flow,

But when you do, even just a glimpse,

Moves you forward, aware, appreciative, glad,

In that space, mindset, BLISS.

Respect and Gratitude

In the midst of the violence and horror at the core of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, I have to step back to express gratitude and a ton of respect.

For Volodymyr Zelenskyy ? Without question.

His whole leadership team, the Ukrainian military, the Ukrainian PEOPLE? For sure.

For the European countries that have rallied to the cause to support Ukraine? A resounding YES.

But…

This simple post is meant to shout out from the roof-tops for the many journalists risking life and limb to bring the stories out of the conflict zone…

I want to express major respect and appreciate to the NPR journalists / correspondents — many of whom have “normal beats” here in the US, but also great international experience — getting back on the road, in a war zone, to do this important, vital work:

Ryan Lucas

Leila Fadel

Tim Mak

Rachel Martin

Lauren Frayer

Eric Westervelt

Ari Shapiro

Mary Louise Kelly

Joanna Kakissis

Eleanor Beardsley

Frank Langfitt

And anyone I have not listed here, all people supporting the stories, telling the stories, risking their own lives to bring the information out to the world in Ukraine, from Ukraine…

THANK YOU.

#gratitude

Russia Invades Ukraine, Day 6

I’m still dumb-founded.

I can’t believe it’s happening.

I can’t believe a former lieutenant colonel in the KGB become president, decided it seemed like a good idea to invade Russia’s plus 1,000 year neighbor / partner in Slavic history.

I thought more of the KGB to this point, thought differently about Putin.

But then, Putin’s military actions in Crimea (previously part of Ukraine) and Ingushetia were likely sufficient foreshadow.

And now I talk to a friend in the Donbas, Ukraine…she’s become a very strong Ukrainian nationalist it seems;

And I talk to a friend in Pennsylvania formerly of Donbas — her heart is split with this violence;

And I talk to a friend in Moscow who can only hope family in Ukraine is ok, sad, unsure.

And all this, my intellect and understanding can fathom and find the paths that have brought us to this point,

But my heart? It just aches, as well.

Hearts Torn, But Somehow Hopeful

As war now rages in Ukraine on the fourth day since Russia invaded its neighbor to the south, there is a pit in my stomach that won’t go away.

My relationship with Russia and Ukraine goes back decades, before the collapse of the Soviet Union. My particular connection to Ukraine is founded in Donetsk. I still consider the Russians/Ukrainians I met, knew, lived with to be friends, even if I haven’t talked to them in many years. I did talk to one such friend recently, just after the Russian invasion began. She is originally from Donetsk, but has resided now for many years in the states.

It was so good to connect with her, to hear news of her family, both in Russia and Ukraine, to hear her perspective on this horrible circumstance. But of course the conversation was also heart-wrenching. My heart aches for her, for her family, for other friends we both have still living in both countries, for the tragedy of these misguided times.

She wrote to me soon after our conversation, openly and beautifully about her growing up in the then Soviet Union. How her family is a mix of Russians and Ukrainians. How she grew up with both languages, both cultures, completely intertwined. She explained how the three primary languages she speaks are tainted by the others. She explained, “My English has some Slavic tang to it. My native tongue, Russian, has distinctly soft “g” and peppered with Ukrainian words and phrases. My Ukrainian is mixed with Russian colloquialisms.  Mixed, just like most of the other people speaking these languages.”

And how her head feels like it will explode, her heart torn in two…

Her story must be the story of tens of thousands, maybe millions of mixed Russians and Ukrainians.

And yet now because of bravado or misguided geopolitical calculation or a longing of a political order long gone, Russia has invaded Ukraine. Russians are killing Ukrainians. Ukrainians are killing Russians. These two peoples so intertwined over a thousand years of history…

And clearly the underlying humanity has been lost. Or has it?

Maybe this moment demands the very fabric that brings these two peoples together, that it is now being torn in two, hearts torn in two…

It’s not too late to stop this madness. We must. All well-meaning people, and especially Russians and Ukrainians.

Otherwise what is left?

What is left otherwise are Ukrainians (many of whom no doubt have Russian in their lineage) fighting to defend their country against Russians (many of whom no doubt have Ukrainian in their lineage), Russians fooled by their government that Ukraine is somehow a threat,

And I can only hope that the world responds with resolve to end the violence; that the Ukrainians can hold their ground, remain steadfast, determined;

that everyday Russians can see through the lies and somehow make their government stop, somehow find the resolve they found thirty one years ago,

That perhaps even the Russian government can see the folly of this ill-advised transgression, step back from further catastrophe, death, and destruction, though somehow I don’t think this is much possible but,

I remain hopeful somehow, even as my heart aches for my friend, for Ukrainians and Russians,

I remain hopeful for wiser, more clear-headed, well-meaning minds to find their humanity again, and find common ground and understanding, let understanding prevail before it’s too late,

Let it not be too late,

Let it not be too late.

As my friend told me,

“in my heart it is Russia Ukraine. In my heart they are inseparable. No politician, no war will ever pull that apart for me and many others. In my heart they are ONE. On genetic level. On human level. My family, my friends… in both countries – ONE in my heart and soul.”

,

A Land War in Europe: Russia Invades Ukraine

It’s been nearly 77 years since the end of the Second World War (WWII).

Let this date be marked in history, 24 February 2022, as the day that peace was broken.

Russian troops began an invasion of Ukraine, another sovereign country, on this date.

And so I feel compelled to suspend the usual themes of perseverance and positivity this blog
normally aheres to, return to my earlier academic roots as a political scientist, and share some thoughts on the Russian invasion.

My first training, Comparative Politics. My particular focus: the Soviet Union.

Heavy doses of the post-WWII rivalry, the Cold War, the Soviet Union and the United States,

Arms Race, Arms Control, rival economic models,

The geopolitical realities,

What the politicians want,

What the people want,

I lived amongst the Russians and Ukrainians. Ordinary people.

People want the same thing.

Opportunity, progress for their families, and peace.

Extremes don’t play well, in general. Big changes take time,

They can’t be forced; the changes or the people.

We’ve seen it in the United States for sure. Changes take time. Concensus. Compromise.

That’s what sticks.

Putin is forcing his hand. Putin somehow strangely thinks he can bring back the control and influence of Russia in the Soviet Times.

I actually believe full well that Russia DOES have a place as a major influencer in the work.

But not in this manner.

This manner is folly.

This manner can only end badly.

This manner has changed European, indeed global security forever.

It’s the dawn of a new age, suddenly.

How will well-meaning, like-minded people now respond?

Time will tell the resolve we have, the commitment we have to a better way.

Putin’s way? Not better.

He must not prevail.

FULL STOP.

Black History Month 2022: Elevating Black Voices, Paused, Due to Land War in Europe

Delighted to have posted so many voices of African Americans, et. al. to elevate their voices, their perspectives, the fundamental cause I believe is needed in these United States to move toward racial equality, across all sectors, spheres.

And now Full Stop.

Russia invaded Ukraine on 02/24/2022.

That story needs to be elevated now.

Black History Month 2022: Code Switch – Can Therapy Solve Racism?

This show gives a lot of important insights on racism; I found this particular episode especially insightful.

Take a listen; worth your time while you do the dishes or fold the laundry.

one.npr.org/i/1080901973:1080980891

This podcast? Always worth it.