Intro to my Inaugural Speech if I were elected President of the United States of America

President Obama, distinguished guests, and my fellow Americans, I am honored and humbled to stand before you today to take the oath of the most sacred and honorable office in this great land, the office of President of the United States of America.

 

I understand that I come into this office in a time of great change and upheaval in our country and in our world. Issues such as terrorism, racism, poverty, climate change, and so many others threaten our very existence with uncertainty, intolerance, fear, and oftentimes, violence.  Knowing this, I also understand the great responsibility I accepted today when I took the oath to uphold this office.  Today, as I stood before you with my right hand raised proudly and my left hand secured on the Holy Bible, I was promising my best to the American people.  Today is the first of many days, weeks, months and years that I will put forth my best attitude, intention, and ability to help America continue to be the best country, ally and world power possible.

 

In order to accomplish this goal, we will all have to work together to come up with viable solutions to the issues facing our country and the world.  The one thing every one of us can do to help move our country to higher ground on every level is obtain and maintain a positive attitude toward the goals we set and the achievement of those goals.  Although this may look impossible on the outset due to varying opinions and ideas regarding the issues at hand and the possible solutions for those issues, having positive intentions and attitudes will offer us great strides in the achievement of those goals before we ever make a decision or take any action toward achieving those solutions.

 

Over the next four years, we will collectively be engaged in social commentary as well as civil action to make what we consider positive changes in our communities, our country and our world.  The most important thing we can do to kick that off and get the proverbial ball rolling is for each of us to commit ourselves to a higher standard on a personal level.

 

So as your new Commander-In-Chief, let me be the first to publicly commit myself today to obtaining and maintaining a positive and objective attitude regarding every issue and situation that presents itself to me over the next four years, regardless of my emotional, intellectual, personal, professional or other attachment to those issues and situations.

 

I promise to apply the highest integrity and ethical standards to each and every piece of legislation that crosses my desk as well as to each and every decision I make while in this office, no matter how big or small it may appear to be in the grand scheme of things. I understand that while a piece of legislation may seem less dire or urgent when compared to other legislation competing for my time and attention, that same, seemingly less significant piece of legislation could mean the life of a child trying to get medical coverage, or the future of a person trying to get naturalized to stay in this country and keep his or her family together and safe from harm’s way.

 

I promise to be responsive rather than reactive and ask that you all join me in this journey.  Hasty decisions based on emotion, bias, or financial gain will no longer be the norm coming from the Oval Office.  Rather, the American people and the world will witness a new form of governing coming out of Washington D.C. based on truth, ethics, morals and high standards that will set the example for all in our country to follow.  By engaging in public debate and adhering to respect and ethical standards when doing so, we can move forward to create the positive change we want to see in our communities, which will then transfer to the bigger picture, the ultimate goal of working to serve the greater good for America and the world.

 

(*Would continue with specifics on pertinent issues here)

 

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The “Kim Effect”

I remember when I was a teenager I asked my dad how I would know how to make an important decision whenever I was faced with one. He told me to remember the conversation we had on the difference between right and wrong. “Yeah, I got that, “I said, “but that’s not what I mean. What I mean is, how will I know which way to decide? What are the actual steps I should take to make a good decision?” “Well, Kitten,“ he began, ”do this. Try putting yourself 20 years into the future and looking back on the decision you’re trying to make. If you can find even one reason why you would regret not doing it, then do it!” I saw my father shake his head in dismay many times throughout my life because of decisions I made based on that advice – like moving to Hawaii on a whim when I got thrown out of UT because of my grades and couldn’t attend that semester, or going to Australia by myself to see a drummer whom I met while I was in Hawaii and knew for 3 days. And honestly, there are so many more stories that are my reality because of that advice that I probably couldn’t fit them all into one blog. But sometimes, life and its daily grind can make me lose sight of that amazing advice. It seems that in those times, I have been fortunate enough to come across someone or something that turns my attention back to that philosophy. This past year has been a shining example of that very thing – different people, ideas, concepts and activities crossing my path to make me really feel that philosophy come alive once again. I have adopted new habits of gratitude, instilled a meditation practice in my life, changed my workouts a bit to accommodate my body as well as expand my mind, rekindled an old friendship that is comfortable and familiar as well as new and improved, and followed the story of an amazingly gracious and brave woman whose name just so happens to be – Kim! Kim Pijanowski is the wife of a friend of mine with whom I attended junior high and high school – John Pijanowski. John has always been a super guy – super smart, super athletic, super tall (or maybe I’m just super short…nah!), and above all, super nice. I have never heard anyone say even one derogatory thing about John, so it doesn’t surprise me – as a matter-of-fact, it actually makes me genuinely happy – that John married this amazing woman that many of us have come to know because of her struggle with ALS. But honestly, that is not what defines Kim. It just makes her even more amazing because of her outlook on life, perseverance in the face of a storm, and grace throughout it all. I never met Kim, and I am pretty certain she had no knowledge of me or the profound impact she has had on my every day existence. I am also pretty certain that I am not the only person who can say that. I have no doubt that she touched more lives than we can count, and in the most amazing of ways. And it’s funny how much I know about this woman I never met, and how easily and readily I remember little things about her – just because I think she is amazing. I know she helped Hillary Clinton’s campaign. I know Ben Affleck kissed her. I know she was married to a man who loved her truly and deeply. I know she has a precious, smart, and kind son named Jack. I know she had a huge 80s party for her 40th birthday, and that she dyed her hair all kinds of bright, vibrant colors – because she could. I know she was a yogi and I know she had a solid understanding of life, how our thoughts become our reality, and how peace and love triumph over all. Her life was a testament to that. I learned about Kim’s experience with ALS through her husband’s posts and updates. Like many, I reveled in her good times and felt compassion when things got tough. But mainly, I felt amazed by Kim’s attitude, zest for life, and perseverance. She didn’t start to die when she got the prognosis, but rather, this woman who lived an amazing life just made things even more – amazing. I know I’m teetering on the edge of redundancy, but I can’t think of a better word to use when discussing Kim. She was truly amazing on all counts from what I know of her. She left a positive footprint not only on the planet and the state of things around her, but on the lives and hearts of so many, including many she never knew personally. Her zest for life, even when she faced her most difficult trials – is something that I know will not only always be inspirational to me, but will carry on in the lives of her son, her husband, her family and friends, and those of us who admire her from afar. Her body may have retired, but her spirit lives on in each of us. So today, in honor of Kim’s new, painless, peaceful journey, I want to start a movement – one of peace, love, tranquility, grace and true joy. Today I want to see things differently – to really see the beauty in every single thing, particularly in things society may not deem “beautiful”. I want to really live each moment, and I ask that everyone who reads this take some time to stop today and just…be. Listen to the voice inside of you. When was the last time you did that? Stop and make the time for it. Today, make time to play. Today, make time to laugh. Today, make sure you say I love you to as many people as you can who are important to you. Today, give back without judging – whether it’s a dollar to the guy on the corner asking for money, a donation to the Purple Heart truck parked outside of your neighborhood, or simply stopping by the house of the widow down the street to say hi and have coffee. Whatever you can do to improve the world around you today – do it. Even the smallest of actions can make an enormous difference. As a former tae kwon do student, there are 5 tenets that I was taught during my time in the do jang that I try to live my life by each day – Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-Control, and my favorite, Indomitable Spirit. I had to have a solid understanding of these tenets to get my black belts, and I believe in living my life by them every single day. I adopted the name “Kim Possible” after the cartoon character who was a red-headed ball of sassy with martial arts skills as well as cheerleading skills! She is this amazing, spirited girl who can make the world a better place and look fashionable while doing so, and she is who I strive to be every day! I even sign certain emails with the initials KP for that very reason. It is no coincidence that this amazing Kim – Kim Pijanowski – has those same initials. She was truly the embodiment of Kim Possible. So here’s to the woman I never met who has forever changed my life in a positive way, given me strength by allowing me to know of her strength, and helped me get back on track with the “do it” attitude my dad instilled in me so long ago. Her energy is eternal and her beauty and grace are the footprints she left on each of us, even the ones she never knew. Namaste, Kim Possible!

Communicating Woman’s Rules of Etiquette for Electronic Communication

In this age of technological communication, it seems that there should be some sort of guide for communicating via technology.  You know a rule book on electronic communication etiquette.  But, alas, there is not.  So I am here to change that.  Below are my rules for electronic communication etiquette.   I know many of these may seem sophomoric in nature, remedial, even, but just know that for every time you think someone should automatically know NOT to commit one of the following infractions, someone is probably doing just that at that very moment.  SO here we go.

Rules for electronic communication:

  1.  If you are in a meeting, a class, an open office space, a movie theater (or any type of theater, for that matter), watching any kind of performance, or engaged in any kind of formal communication, put your phone on vibrate or turn it off.  PERIOD!  DO NOT be the person who says “No one ever calls me” and ignore this rule.  It is at that exact moment – you know, when the hero is about to save the day (in a 3D movie that costs $10 per ticket) that your phone or other device will inevitably ring and blow it for everyone around you.
  2. Use appropriate language and formatting for the person or people with whom you are communicating.  If, for example, you are communicating with a teenager or someone in his/her early twenties, go right ahead and use all the acronyms and shortened words you want.  It is a language understood by the younger generation and should be used only when dealing with said generation (OMG!  SMH.  L8r).  When communicating electronically with someone in their 30s or older, use appropriate language there as well.  People with jobs don’t have time to figure out what %76IH?< means.  To the working class, this is just another way to curse.  SO be careful what you say and how you say it.
  3. Use some sort of punctuation to help the reader out if your message is more than 2 lines long.  Sure, you know what you mean, but is it really necessary to make your audience reread your cryptic message 30 times to only find that the message itself could have been summed up even more briefly by just typing 2 letters: OK?  I think not.
  4. If you wouldn’t want your parents/teacher/pastor/spouse or boss to read/see what you are sending, you better think long and hard before sending it.  Once it is out in cyberspace, you cannot get it back. 
  5. If you are mad/drunk or in any other irregular state of mind, do o not hit send on your message.  Sure, it looks good at the moment, but you will undoubtedly be SMH when you come to your senses and realize that you really needed your job and should not have sent your coworkers a distasteful text about you’re a-hole boss when you got home from the company party last night.
  6. Do not let your young child play with your phone when he/she is throwing a fit – or at any other time.  Not only is there the possibility that your child will run up some ridiculous bill by leaving your phone on a call to China, but there is also the slight (or not-so-slight, as children are very technologically savvy these days) chance that the racy picture your intended only for the eyes of your beloved will be forwarded to everyone in your address book.  Buy a play cell phone (they sell them everywhere) and save yourself the heartache.  Seriously.  Besides, NO ONE will believe you when you say your kid sent that message out.
  7. Do NOT talk on the cell phone in an elevator.  Period.  It’s just too awkward for everyone involved – particularly when you are one of 15 people riding up to the first floor and your friend on the other line (whom everyone can hear very clearly, contrary to what you might tell yourself) starts talking about the wild weekend you two had recently and what sorted things she has done since then with the door guy from your building.
  8. No phones at the dinner table.  That is a steadfast rule at my house.  The only exceptions are: if someone is waiting on an important/emergency call regarding a life or death situation, and looking up something on the Internet that is a topic of discussion for everyone at the table.  If a call is received that MUST be answered, step away from the table.  And NO texting either.  Period.  If you must, excuse yourself and go elsewhere to create and send your oh-so-important message.
  9. Do not scream into the phone – it does not make you easier to understand.  Actually, quite the opposite is true.  If you are hard of hearing, understand that that is YOUR problem and does not require you to yell at the person who is on the other end of the phone.
  10. Do not discuss your business in an open area where everyone can hear you, yet no one cares.  It is annoying at best.  This includes restaurants (be courteous to the other diners and step outside, even if you are dining alone.), lobbies, and other crowded areas.

Although I could probably continue this list for the next hour, I will spare my readers as well as myself.  Ten is a good, round number and these rules are good starters for those seeking to be more courteous when using electronic communication devices.  Thank you in advance for not only considering the audience to whom you are sending your message, but the audience who is around you as you deliver said message.

Communicating in Times of Grief

Happy New Year to all!  The new year is a new beginning for many.  It’s a time to reflect on the previous year and plan for the new one, to set goals and look forward to a bright future.  Unfortunately, this year did not start out that way for one family I know.  This week, as they bury a child they lost on January 1 of this year, I cannot help but consider what this year will mean to them.  How will they begin to pick up the pieces of their shattered world? How will they make it through each day?  One pressing question I had to answer recently regarding this situation was “What do I say?”  What do I say to my daughter, who knew the girl and is good friends with her sister?  What do I say to my niece next time I see her, as this was one of her “BFFs”?  What do I say to the parents when I see them?  What words can truly express how I feel?   Communication is vital in these situations, and each situation presents its own communication conundrum.  Yet communication is an essential part of how we get our needs met, thus it is an essential part of the grieving process as well as the healing process.

This past weekend was the viewing for the aforementioned little girl who died.  My daughter (who is 9) wanted to attend the viewing to console her good friend, and I wanted to attend to show my love and support to the family – particularly the mother, who I see often at the elementary school our daughters attend.  As was expected, it was an extremely sad situation.  I struggled for words to say to console my daughter.  The best I could offer was a hug and some key phrases including “I love you” and “I’m sorry”.  I am not sure what I expected from these phrases.  I think I expected them to soothe her ache, although I knew in my heart they would not.  Just like I expected to find words to say to the little girl’s mother to soothe her broken heart. Yet with all of my degrees in communication and time spent studying the subject, the best I could do was say, “I’m so sorry”. And as I was trying my best to show support to the mother, I said, “If there is anything at all I can do in any way to help you, please don’t hesitate to ask.” And then I felt ridiculous.  How on earth could I help this situation?  I couldn’t.  It was that simple.  But “I’m sorry” doesn’t ever seem like enough in times like these.

Later on in the evening, after I was at home and was reflecting on the events of the day, I thought about another treacherously sad time – when my sister lost her son in an accident.  I remember finding out at work and having to wait for my mom to come pick me up and take me to my sister, as I was in no shape to drive.  I called my best friend at the time and asked her what I should say to my sister.  She told me the only thing I could say was “I’m sorry”, tell her I love her and hug her.  And although that was more than 7 years ago, not much has changed. 

Finding ourselves in the midst of grief poses special communication problems because there are no words that can fix the situation.  Nothing one can say can make grief pass any faster.  It is essential to go through the process. But there are some things that can be done to help someone get through the process.  The most important communication skill to implore at this time?  Listening.  Many people do not consider listening when they think about communication skills, but listening is one of the most important things someone can do to help a person who is grieving.  Listening allows the grieving individual to release harmful stress that can cause both physical and emotional illness.  Listening helps create understanding and empathy between the parties communicating.  Listening can be just as consoling as speaking – maybe even more so.

The five stages of grief posited by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in her 1969 book On Death and Dying are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance (in no specific order).  In each of these phases, listening is important.  Just allowing the grieving person to “vent” and work through the emotions and phases of grief can be beneficial to the person who is grieving.  Various studies have shown how stress can be detrimental to a person’s physical and emotional health.  By listening to someone who is grieving, we not only allow them to release that stress caused by grieving, but we help them move closer to finding peace with the situation that has caused them grief. 

As for communicating with children during periods of grief, I agree with the school of thought my sister, Tania, adheres to, which is asking open ended questions and telling a child only the basics of the situation, leaving out any gory details.  I have found in my experience with dealing with children during times of grief that they are more resilient than we give them credit for – perhaps even more so than adults in many cases.  Reassuring a child during times of grief, listening to what the child has to say regarding his/her feelings, and answering any questions the child asks as honestly and gently as possible seem to be the best routes to take when consoling a grieving child.  I also think it best to let the child know it is okay to cry and normal to feel what he/she is feeling, as it helps relieve the stress the child is feeling over the situation.

Grief is something we all go through for various reasons at some point in our lives. Being prepared to handle grief by understanding how to communicate through those times can be beneficial to both the person who is grieving as well as the person who is consoling.  Therefore, remember the basics for communicating during these times.  Say “I love you” and “I’m sorry” when you need to relay your feelings of sorrow to the grieving person.  Listen when the grieving individual wants to speak.  Give hugs freely, as that is a nonverbal form of communication that expresses love and empathy for the person in the grieving process.  Be honest and gentle when communicating with children during times of grief.  And most importantly, let the grieving person know that you are there for support in whatever way they may need.

 

Mending fences – communicating with your past

“That’s it.  I’m out.” 

Throughout my life, as with most people, I have made friendships as well as unmade them.  For various reasons, we all go through these processes of making, maintaining, and ending relationships throughout our lives.  It is all part of the process we, as humans, have developed throughout our existence so as to help us continue as a species by having our needs met.  Communication is a huge part of that process, as it is another (and very important) way in which we have our needs met.  So it seems to follow logically that relationships and communication efforts are intrinsically intertwined.  Consequently, we must know the proper ways in which to communicate so as to build, maintain, end, or rekindle these relationships so we can best serve our physical, emotional and financial needs.  That last part – the rekindling part – is probably the hardest part of the relationship communication process.  At least it is for me.

I have recently begun the mending process with a couple of past relationships that I consider important.  As part of this process, I have analyzed (maybe even overanalyzed) why I have chosen to mend these fences and let others decay and blend into the background scenery of my life.  I have come to the conclusion that we assess relationships periodically and determine what their importance is in our lives and whether or not to continue them.  Additionally, we occasionally review past relationships that we once considered important for whatever reason and determine whether or not to rekindle those relationships based on various current factors such as what is important to us at that time for that particular type of relationship, what our needs are at that time, and how rekindling that relationship might fulfill those needs.  We weigh the pros and cons to help determine whether or not we should rekindle that relationship, and then we move in the direction we deem appropriate at that moment for that circumstance.  I know it sounds technical and difficult but we do this naturally and repeatedly throughout our lives.

So, how, exactly, do we begin the process of rekindling a past relationship?  Obviously, it has to begin with communication on the part of at least one of the participants in the relationship.  Additionally, once the initial communication effort has been made, it is necessary for the other participant in that relationship to respond so as to continue or end the rekindling process. Without feedback, either positive or negative, to the initial communication effort in the potential rekindling process, the process will neither begin to be revitalized nor will it die out completely.  Rather, it will dangle open-ended and more-than-likely be doomed to communication purgatory, where open-ended communication lives with no closure.

Moving on.  Once the initial communication process has begun and both parties in the process have made their first communication efforts,  the next step in the process involves both parties coming to terms with what the relationship has been and what it currently is, as well as what it may be in the future, should it continue.  At this point, the party initializing the rekindling process will probably have to deliver to the second party information as to why the rekindling process was initiated (so why are you calling after all these years) and possibly even have to answers some questions regarding the reason for the previous ending of the relationship (So tell me why you stopped talking to me.  What did I do?).  This is the opportunity for the person who decided to rekindle the relationship to lay all of his or her cards on the table, so to speak.  Now is not the time to be timid, nor is it the time to point fingers and instill blame (which is very easy to do, particularly at this point in the process).  Instead, the person who initially started the rekindling process should tell the second party some basic facts, trying to avoid emotional jargon or blaming jargon while doing so.  In these facts, the first party should address some or all of the following points: 1.) what happened previously that was reason enough to end the relationship.  2.) How the first party felt at that point in time.  3.) Why the first party decided it was a valid reason to end the relationship.  4.) Why the first party feels like now might be the right time to rekindle the relationship.  5.) Why the first party feels that the relationship is worth rekindling.  6.) What the first party expected from the relationship previously (before it ended) and what he/she felt was received according to those expectations, and 7.) What the first party expects from the relationship now, as well as how the first party feels each person in the relationship might benefit from rekindling the relationship.

At this point, the second party can either reject the offer to rekindle the relationship or decide to agree that it is a good idea to work on the rekindling process.  Once this step occurs, if the second party decides to participate in the rekindling process, he or she may decide it necessary to address some of the points provided by the first party.  Should this be the case, the second party should adhere to the same set of guidelines of communication as laid out previously for the first party.   This makes the communication between the two parties not only more effective as far as obtaining the desired results, but also keeps the communication field level, making it the preferable way to begin a relationship a new.

Now that the rules of engagement have been established, those reading this blog should take a personal inventory of past relationships and determine which should stay in the past and which would be worth rekindling.  A simple thing like a list of pros and cons can be helpful in this process, as can an emotional inventory that details past relationships and what importance they had and might have in the future. 

Regardless of what decision is ultimately made, knowledge of good communication techniques can only serve the communicator well. By applying the techniques listed herein and weighing the pros and cons of past relationships to determine if they should become present relationships once again, readers are creating a firm foundation for future relationships and the communication that will keep those relationships effective.   Here’s to good relationships and good communication.

 

 

Communicating for change

Well, it is finally the end of a rather long campaign season, and honestly, I could not be happier. The vote is in, so now we can move on to the next media frenzy.  But first, I could not close this long campaign season without giving kudos to the unsung candidates – the third party candidates.  While the Democrat and Republican candidates spent obscene amounts of money (that could have fed so many, given much shelter, and so forth) on campaigns that were more often than not reminiscent of two children hurling insults at one another in the classic, child-like nanny-boo-boo fashion, the third party candidates tended to be more mature and less sensationalistic in their approach to campaigning.  They discussed many more issues we face as a society and as individuals than did the two main parties.  These candidates participated in the debates remotely since they were not allowed to be there in person, and one candidate was even arrested for being outside one of the debates.  Not once, out of all the times I heard them speak, did I ever hear mudslinging amongst them.  They had different points of view at times, but everyone seemed to respect each other, even when they disagreed.  The biggest difference I saw between the Democrat and Republican candidates and all of the other, “third party” candidates, was that the third party candidates addressed serious issues by discussing serious solutions, rather than just spewing political rhetoric that makes for a good sound bite when played on the nightly news.  Kudos to those candidates for running, even if so many told them they would not win.  They gave us more than two (lousy) options in this country we call a democracy.   And more importantly, kudos to those candidates for discussing so many more topics that are important to us as a society rather than focusing on one or two somewhat less important topics as the two main candidates did. 

 

Now that the campaign dust has settled, I feel it is appropriate for us to examine what we can do individually to make positive progress regarding the many issues that were (and were not) such hot topics during the campaign season. The best way to start this process is to make a list of the issues that are most important to us and our families.  Once we establish what it is that we would like to see change, then we need to establish how those situations should be addressed so as to enable us to make the most positive and beneficial change not only for ourselves, but for others in our communities as well.   At this point, we should concentrate on what communication efforts we need to implement so as to best accomplish the goals we set regarding achieving these changes in our society.  Who should we talk to or write to or make an appointment to see?  And what, exactly, should we say?  How should we communicate so as to most effectively solve the issues at hand? 

 

I have heard a lot of commentary regarding the issues we face as a country and those we face on a global scale, but sometimes I wonder how many people who offer commentary have given real, purposeful thought to a viable, doable solution.  It is easy to complain when we are faced with so many obstacles, but it is pointless if we do not follow up those complaints with real communication concerning how we can most effectively deal with the problems at hand.

 

So my challenge to all who read this blog is this:  take the time to decide on one issue that you would like to address.  Research that issue and form your own opinion on what the real issue is and how we might most effectively address it.  Then think of who you might communicate with so as to help facilitate the change you would like to see.  Take the time to craft a message that is sincere, thoughtful, and well put together, and send that message to the appropriate people so as to start the ripple effect of change.

 

One person really can make a difference.

Communicating climate change

In light of Hurricane Sandy and the horrendous havoc she wreaked on the U.S. east coast last night, not to mention all of the press coverage the storm has gotten in the past few days and will no doubt get in the days to come, it seems that Mother Nature herself had something to say to the politicians and the world leaders regarding climate change. The question is – will they listen?

According to a report I saw today on a live stream of Democracy Now, these storms will only continue to grow in magnitude as the earth’s temperature continues to rise. I have been hearing this same report for some time now, and each time I wonder if I am the only one hearing this. Don’t any politicians or policy makers pay attention to this sort of thing? I know they say they do, but what are they doing about it? What victories do we have in the battle of climate change that prove that those in power are trying to heal this planet and make it a place we can live in safely? On the flip side of that, what policies have been put in place in the last 20 or so years that have contributed to the current state of climate change?

It seems as though the overall consensus from the scientific community is that we need to move away from fossil fuels and use cleaner, renewable sources of energy such as solar, wind, and hydro power. Not only would this cut emissions that are the culprits being blamed for the rise in temperature, but it would also help the environment in countless ways such as eliminating the need for drilling and disrupting the environment; it would eliminate ecologically harmful endeavors such as the Keystone Pipeline, fracking and other invasive processes our planet is enduring because of our need for oil. In fact, we do not need oil to the extent we use it. We NEED changes in policies and we need to overhaul our thinking before it is too late.

My hope is that Hurricane Sandy will bring some good in its wake in addition to the wreckage it has obviously left behind. Maybe now we can hear what the candidates running for President of the United States have to say about REAL issues such as climate change. (In fairness, I have heard what third party candidates have to say, and I must say that Rocky Anderson, Jill Stein, and others have great ideas concerning how to heal our planet – something that it seems the two “main” candidates barely acknowledged this campaign season).

As a professor of communications , I can safely say that Mother Nature is communicating with us in the most obvious way. It is up to us to listen. I tell my students that they should learn to “listen ethically”. By listening ethically, I mean that they should put aside their prejudices – for and against a topic – and just listen to what is being presented. Pay attention to the nonverbal cues as those are what guides a person when making an informed decision regarding a received communication. Now is the time for us to listen ethically to our planet. Forget political agendas, forget money, forget power struggles. Just stop and pay attention for a minute to what our planet is telling us. Then maybe we can move forward as a team rather than a mass of individual players. Maybe we can, as a human family, fix what we have done to our home.