We’re not listening to each other

Can anything be heard over the screaming?

When did all this start? When did our American society become so divided? And when did our people become so angry with each other?

A pessimist might say it began at our nations founding when a two-party political system was established. Founding Father John Adams, our nations 1st Vice-President and 2nd President as well as co-editor/author of the Declaration of Independence warned us against such a system. John Adams said: There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic intotwo great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.

Some might say division of cultures with the Civil War was never resolved and those divisions continue to this day.

It’s hard to argue that men and women think differently which is why most men are Republican and most women are Democrat. So, perhaps our slow decline began in 1920 with the ratification of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. Prior to then our nations leaders were chosen almost exclusively by white men whose interests and ambitions were not too different one from the other.

True political division was seen in the 1960s and that might be the beginning of all of today’s troubles. It is when many historians say America’s government stopped trusting its people, and people stopped trusting its government culminating emphatically with the Watergate scandal.

I tend to think today’s specific problems began more recently. In 1992 after 12 years of relative progress in worldwide peace, the end of the Cold War, racial relations, and economic well-being we elected Bill Clinton President. Republicans were furious at losing the White House to a small state Governor with serious personal-morality flaws who took the highest seat in the land having received only 43% of the vote. They saw it as a stolen election with Ross Perot taking what they felt was rightfully the votes of President George H.W. Bush. And to make sure the anger and resentment was shared equally on both sides of the political aisle Democrats were enraged eight years later when in 2000 Bush’s son won the Executive Office in the closest election in history. Historians have calculated that George W. Bush beat Democratic nominee Al Gore by less than 200 votes in Florida only after a Conservative Supreme Court ruled that the Florida vote recounts must stop. And the win in Florida gave the whole nation to Bush.

Yelling and pointing fingers

Barrack Obama won election in 2008 as the most leftist President this country has ever had. And no matter what any pundit thinks the cause, no Republican, not John McCain, not Abraham Lincoln, was going to win in 2008. The economy was in shambles, we were at war over seas, and more importantly the pendulum had swung back to the left as it tends to do in this country every 8-to-10 years. But having the first black President with a decidedly left ideology made the extreme right in this country “Angry”; most of the anger was for genuine disagreements in Obama’s political stances. Sadly some was racist. But I truly don’t believe racism was the primary reason for opposition to Obama. Democrats think its was the only reason. After all, what did Obama ever say or do that wasn’t spot-on perfect? 😛

As an older white man I hold a pretty unique point of view on society and race relations. While not exclusive, I am one of a very small minority to have lived and experienced the variety that comes from three very different and divergent cultures. I was raised in an upper middle class almost exclusively white city of Bellevue, WA. My parents and grandparents were all American born with German ancestry. Our traditions followed the American-European traditions of my ancestry in faith, (we’re Christian) in politics, food, dress, celebrations, etc.

At age 23 I married a black woman. For 28 years I was closer to her black family and their traditions and customs than I was to my family and traditions. And yes they varied. Not a lot. But the differences and certainly the beliefs were distinct.

Sadly my marriage ended, and while not entirely or even largely, I believe my ex-wife’s ardent devotion to Barrack Obama (as with nearly all other black Americans) and my opposition to him began to divide us ultimately leading to the dissolving of our union. Her total commitment to him was so unmoving that I strongly believe she began to look at me differently and more critically.

Does finger-pointing and yelling ever lead to resolution?

I have since been blessed to meet and love a Mexican woman and to receive her love in return. It’s been an adventure and sometimes a challenging one learning her culture and traditions. But it has been instructive.

Here is the single most obvious societal and cultural fact I have learned about my life with whites, blacks and Hispanics: WE ARE SEPARATE. We may live side by side, and in most large cities in this country we do. But we are as separated as if we lived oceans apart. Not surprisingly blacks like to hang out with blacks, whites hang out with white people, and in my view to an even MUCH larger degree Hispanics congregate with other Hispanics. And while I have no experience living with and co-mingling with Asians I don’t think its a stretch to say Asian people like other Asian people. Right?

Black, Asian, White, Hispanic

So is this a problem? Obviously the answer is yes it is…and simultaneously no it is not. It’s a problem because we all reflect to some degree or another that which we are most frequently exposed to. And if our exposure is limited to our own minority (or majority) ethnicity, traditions, beliefs and cultures our actions, words, and beliefs will be reflective accordingly. And the problem with that is we tend to look at other cultures and traditions and beliefs as different (which they are) and bad or evil (which they are not). They’re just different.

I’ll give you one personal example. My beautiful Mexican lady and I have celebrated 2 Christmas’ together so far. And MY tradition of Santa Claus being part of Christmas is not only not celebrated by my lady-love, it’s actually a point of antagonism. Mexicans don’t celebrate Santa Claus; nor do most other countries or cultures in the world. She explains that the Mexican tradition is to teach children that Baby Jesus brings them gifts on Christmas eve. She looks at Santa Claus as evil because it takes away from the true meaning of Christmas, which is to celebrate and worship the birth of our Lord and Savior. She feels so strongly that she won’t even use gift wrapping paper or holiday cards with Santa depictions. Conversely, I too celebrate the birth of Jesus. But I look at Santa as a magical tradition dating to the true story of Saint Nicholas and representing everything that is good…love…generosity…sharing…charity. Our loving, peaceful life together depends on each of us respecting each others traditions. I can’t expect her to ADOPT all of my traditions. Nor can she expect that of me. But in this example and other unmentioned ones our survival as a happy couple requires that we listen to each other and accept the differences and embrace as many of them as we’re able.

How is this different from society at large? I maintain that it isn’t. Based on what I’ve seen in these three different races and cultures that I’ve experienced in my life I think its foolhardy to expect blacks to change who they predominantly choose to hang out with and get their points-of-view from. Same with Hispanics. It’s the same for white people…but liberals seem to think this fact makes white people racist. It doesn’t. It makes them normal human beings.

So finding a solution to the political and racial tensions in this country is as simple as finding collaboration between two people enjoying Christmas together and with family. As simple as a man who loves football and a wife who doesn’t co-existing 5 months out of the year. As simple as a rock-n-roll fan and a country music fan cohabitating. Open your present from Baby Jesus Christmas Eve and then tear into the stockings Christmas morning. Watch your football alone or with friends while your non-football fan wife goes shopping or to the Salon. Listen to your Rush, Led Zeppelin, Journey or Fleetwood Mac on your time while your partner listens to Shania Twain, Garth Brooks, Rascal Flats or Sam Hunt on their time. Then take turns when your together or don’t listen to anything at all…except each other.

It’s clique, but its true. The things that unite us as Americans far outweighs the things that divide us. Be generous, be accepting, compassionate and empathetic. When faced with people who think differently than you listen and avoid anger. Some may think more emotionally; some may think more logically. Some may base their thinking on their beliefs and traditions and what they’ve been taught. It’s important to remember its different from what you’ve been taught. And you will never change their mind yelling and pointing fingers. You might win them over if you just accept them, wish them well, live and let live.

May God be with you all and bless your  lives.

Call for Video Production Services: 425-687-0100

 

Advice to My Black Son if He’s Being Followed

Since it continues to be asked in the past week in news interviews and during protests I thought I would share the advice I would give my son if he finds himself being followed while walking home from the store, like Trayvon Martin did.

GO HOME!

 

…or to the home of the nearest friend or relative. And to any parent who would advise their teen to turn and confront the follower I would say you are telling your kid to put themselves in potential danger versus doing what they were doing before detecting a follower.

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

An Anniversary with Two Related Meanings

Martin Luther King leaning on a lectern. Deuts...

April 4 on any year’s calendar has two meanings to me. Both are important and both are related. To the rest of America April 4th is the day in which Doctor Martin Luther King Junior was assassinated on a motel terrace in Memphis, Tennessee, 45 years ago today. While his greatness is undeniable; his martyrdom sealed with absolute certainty that he would never be forgotten.

 

April 4th is also my wedding Anniversary. The best day of my life was when Miss Sonja Fleming agreed to love me and keep me and honor me and wear my ring for the rest of my life. Twenty-six years later we have enjoyed lots of love and traditions, made our own traditions, raised three kids and stayed together. The staying together part is wonderful and a blessing. But I think my wife would agree it wasn’t a fairy tale. As with all successful marriages we’ve overcome some challenges; though we had more than many.

 

Our 1 and only brief moment to sit during our wedding & receptionThese two anniversaries are related in that Sonja is black, and I am white. At the time of Martin Luther King’s death such a union was extremely rare, and socially unacceptable in the eyes of most Americans. In 1958 only 4% of Americans approved of interracial marriage. By 1968 that figure had only grown to 20%. At that time it was only one year removed from the U.S. Supreme Court making it legal for people of different races to wed. Remarkably there are still 16% of Americans who don’t approve of my marriage. Something I share with my children all the time is the fact that in 1987, when Sonja and I said our “I do’s”, interracial marriage was still rare and still disapproved of by most Americans. I tell my kids this, and they nod, but I can tell they haven’t a clue. How could they? But even those who are my age or older have forgotten what pioneers we were and what obstacles existed as late as 1987.

 

I maintain Martin Luther King’s death made our marriage and it’s longevity possible. His death was so horrible and so universally scorned that even the hateful racists or the indifferent idiots were forced to shut-up over changes that happened far too slowly.

 

Much to my embarrassment and frustration my father was one of the majority who didn’t approve of the marriage of a white man (especially his son) to a black woman. Eight years later my brother married a woman of Philippine decent. And my Dad showed no signs of disapproving. At the time I asked why it was wrong for me to marry a black woman but OK in his mind for my brother to marry a woman with darker skin, and asian. To his credit my father said , “You were Jackie Robinson. You showed that it’s OK”. I loved him for saying what was possibly the very best thing he could have said.

 

Funny how that happens. Things change in society. Some are decidedly bad. But some things we only think are bad at the time change is occurring. Time and example prove the changes were OK at worst, good at best. In other words, the masses are often wrong.

 

I was only four years old at the time of Martin Luther Kings death. But by the time I was 19 Ronald Reagan had signed a bill into law creating a national holiday in his name. Funny, that was opposed too.

English: Photograph of President Ronald Reagan...

President Ronald Reagan and the Signing Ceremony for Martin Luther King Holiday Legislation in 1983.

Race in this country is sadly still a huge issue. And being on the front lines of the issue for more than 26 years I can tell you how sad I find it. For there can be no denying that the ugly face of racism still exists. But I don’t believe it hampers the advancement of most African-Americans from achieving their dreams and goals for success. I do believe the belief, in and of itself, by many blacks that racism holds them back is in fact what holds them back.

 

The fact that I’m married to a black woman for 26 years and the father of three kids who society calls black does not insulate me from criticism from some in the black community for holding this belief. One need only look at the fierce attacks

Ben Carson

Dr. Ben Carson 

Dr. Benjamin Carson received for speaking of Conservative Christian values at the National Prayer breakfast in front of President Obama to know I’m somewhat doomed.

 

Race in this country can live up to Martin Luther King’s dream when and only when African-Americans collectively recognize that racism will never be fully eradicated. Idiots and hate have existed throughout history. But to point accusatory fingers at every person and incident and scream “racism” at every slight only frustrates everyone and keeps innocent people on the defensive and pushes them away. For instance, today’s higher rate of poverty among blacks is less the result of societal racism and more the result of the astounding rate of single-mother and teen births.

A graph showing percentage of single mothers by race.

A graph showing percentage of single mothers by race.

As of 2010 72.5% percent of black children are born to single mothers. It’s 29% for whites, 53.3% for Hispanics. Not one single white person, racist or not is responsible for this horrible fact. And it’s horrible because 64% of single mothers and their children live in poverty, regardless of race.

 

Progress has been made in race relations since the death of Martin Luther King and since the 1987 marriage of Sonja and I. A black President with a traditionally Muslim name is fair evidence of this fact. But on this day every year, I want more and better. And from this non-racist white guys perspective the African-American collective bares the burden of making this happen. Not entirely, just most of the heavy lifting.

 

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

 

Are Men Al Bundy or John McClain

June and Ward Cleaver (Barbara Billingsley and...

June and Ward Cleaver (Barbara Billingsley and Hugh Beaumont). 

 

A trend begun in the 1980s in this country is to portray men as either clowns or unimaginable macho freaks. No where do you see images of strong and wise men worthy of respect. We’ve come a long way from Ward Cleaver of the Leave it to Beaver 1950s TV show. The end result is a diminishment of men and their roles in society. More women occupy jobs in our country for the first time in history. More women earn college degrees now, than do men. And it’s time to examine if this is a good thing; and if not what to do about it.

 

I want to head-off-at-the pass any hyper-sensitive types who will polish their indignation hormones by claiming I’m longing for society to revert to the times of Leave it to Beaver. This silly claim was heard about Republicans throughout the 2012 political season as Democrats repeatedly claimed a false “War on Women” that does not exist. And, by the way, if it does exist its a battle its advocates are losing terribly as evidenced by the facts already sited in this blog.

 

Popular cultures examples of men who portrayed characters of a “real life” world 40-50 years ago include Ward Cleaver,

 

TV Guide #203

 

Robert Young in Father Knows Best,

 

Cropped screenshot of Fred MacMurray from the ...

Fred MacMurray 

 

Fred MacMurray in My Three Sons,

 

The Andy Griffith Show

The Andy Griffith Show

 

 

 

Publicity photo of Andy Griffith and Don Knott...

 

Andy Griffith in the Andy Griffith Show. My childhood television example of manliness and being a good, wise, strong father was Mike Brady on the Brady Bunch.

 

The Brady Bunch opening grid, season one

 

It wasn’t until decades later we all learned that Robert Reed, the actor portraying Mike Brady was gay. And while not significant toward my point; it is an interesting, quirky twist in the examples I sight.

 

Al Bundy

Al Bundy 

 

The clownish, oafish Al Bundy of Married with Children fame became the standard example of an American Dad through the 1990s. Another example of a “man” and a husband and father in popular culture was John McClain, played by Bruce Willis in the Die hard movie series. He was wise cracking, and tough and leaping from sky scrapers and crashing trucks and cars and shooting dealy, evil villains. The problem with this is neither of the examples are worth exemplifying as what a man and/or father ought to be. Bundy was completely dorkish and without many positive qualities, and

 

Bruce Willis as Hartigan.

 

McClain was totally unrealistic, not to mention too violent.

 

I don’t pine for the days of the little woman being bound to the kitchen, cooking, cleaning, and being nearly completely subservient to the man. And I certainly don’t wistfully wish for the days of racism and segregation imposed on the racial minorities of this country back in the “good ‘ol days”.

 

But I do wish I could see in pop culture more examples of honorable men. Clowns are fine as are heroic macho gun toting crime stoppers. But what’s wrong with having positive male role models being displayed in our tv and movie entertainment? What’s wrong with Leave it to Beaver? Or Mike Brady for that matter?

 

Be Yourself on Social Media.

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

I joined Facebook with my personal profile page in May 2008, and some would say at that point a monster was made. The truth isn’t quite so dramatic and was in fact a slow evolving process. Now I’m very active on Social Media and a lot of it is for fun, but most of it is a calculated effort to promote my company Total Broadcasting Service, and recently my wife and my Advisor status with the direct sales company, AdvoCare.

The truth is the “monster” reference above refers to both my frequency of posts and my willingness to break some long-standing “rules” for business and networking. The big one of which I refer is “never talk religion or politics”. It’s long been believed crossing the line into those two subjects is a sure way to lose customers or potential customers. Well, I’m a happy example of how that “rule” is largely myth. And I’ve come to the conclusion that the politics and religion banishment from social media discussion or business and networking discussion is created mostly by people who are personally more reserved anyway.

Nothing is wrong with being more tightly guarded about your thoughts, actions, or beliefs. But those who are ought not unfairly judge those of us who are happily more vocal. After all, if everyone held ideas so closely to the vest and never shared them how would people learn and grow and solve problems. It’s the more boisterous in society who call attention to problems and those problem’s solutions.

FB Tower pic w-number

Total Broadcasting Service is an eight year old company. We’re a radio advertising brokerage and audio production company that has added video production for internet marketing to our list of services. We experienced four years of growth after beginning operations in 2005, and then fell on hard times like so many others in 2009. We saw a lot of customers close their doors that year. Since then every year has gotten progressively better. And in 2012 we have recorded our best year ever in terms of gross income.

What I find interesting about this is the fact that 2012 was an election year and I made no secret about my support for what the election determined was a minority opinion. Not only was it a minority opinion nationally, but my Conservative politics was and remains an extreme minority opinion where I live and where most of my business originates from, in King County, Washington. So how can it be possible that my business has continued to grow and support my family with what amounts to an above-average income and life-style?

Stephen Colbert in New York City at Border's s...

Stephen Colbert

As Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert demanded to know during the Chick-fil-A vs Gay Marriage controversy last Summer, “I’ve got to know what positions my food has taken on all the issues. For example, I love Carl Jr’s Western Burger. It must be anti-ObamaCare, because it is clearly trying to kill us. And whenever I go to Applebee’s, I insist that they only give me right wings. After all, you are what you eat. And now, you also believe what you eat.”

The absurdity of Colbert’s comment should be obvious. And to me the obvious conclusion I’ve come to is that most people don’t care about politics or religion. Traditionally poor voter turnout proves this fact. Studies showing only about 50% of Americans regularly attend church further proves it.

Like Adam Smith clearly enunciated in his seminal book, The Wealth of Nations“, 

Profile of Adam Smith

Adam Smith

everyone cares about their own selfish interests. And that’s a good thing. Because in caring for our own selfish interests we as individuals and individual businesses are stronger and better able to serve specific customers and the general populace. Weak people and weak businesses serve very few. And in caring for their own selfish interests people care little about my politics or religion. They care about whether my business can make their lives better, something we constantly strive to do. And we strive with equal fervor for our Liberal customers as for our Conservative customers; for our Christian customers as for our Jewish, Buddhist, Atheist, or Muslim customers. Doing so is in our best interest.

My efforts on Social Media now include regular posts to my Facebook personal page, business page, and personality page. In 2010 I added Twitter and LinkedIn personally and for business to my Social Media promotional efforts. And in 2012 Pinterest began receiving our attention. And we are bloggers here on M Schuett blah blah blah. (We’re also on Biznik. But since they started charge money for even their most basic profile page we discontinued our subscription). Selfish advocacy of my political and moral points of view are frequent subjects of my posts. But foremost at ALL TIMES is merely to be interesting to as many people as possible in order to promote my business interests; Total Broadcasting Service, and in the past 3-4 months, AdvoCare health and nutrition.

AdvoCare allowed me and my wife to lose 30 lbs each in just 4 months.

AdvoCare allowed me and my wife to lose 30 lbs each in just 4 months.

Social Media experts will tell you that marketing through social media is not intended to get you direct business; but instead to keep your brand, product or service in the front-of-mind for potential customers. That’s true. But when you make yourself interesting on Social Media and are not afraid to “show a little leg” and make yourself vulnerable you gain credibility with even those who disagree with you. And in gaining credibility you gain direct customers. As we have. And we’re grateful.

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

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