Democrats, Republicans, Children of the Universe – we’re all united in the unsettled muck of Election 2016. What began months ago like an exhilarating horse race with thoroughbreds busting out of the starting gates has devolved into a haze of vitriolic trumpery, and now here we are staring in disbelief at two lame mares slogging their way to the finish line in the worn-out muddy track.

I could scarcely watch the Republican debates without storming out of the room, lashing out at my perplexed husband halfway through each debacle. What is wrong with these people who can’t stick to the issues? Why do the flounders who take the bait rise to the top, hook line and sinker? But that anger has gradually morphed into a sickening resignation that this is truly what it has all come down to. The only way I could get through the third presidential debate was by frantically coloring away in the Color Me Calm book a friend gave me. My blue pencil literally colored a rip right through the paper during one gnarly exchange, and my hand cramped up before the debate was finished. Apparently zen coloring doesn’t apply to political issues.

The majority of  citizens seem dispassionate about the voting dilemma – claiming that we don’t want to vote for either presidential candidate – because really, how else can we feel without blowing a gasket and losing our minds along with our integrity? We all may be dispirited, disillusioned, disenfranchised, disturbed, disappointed and thoroughly disgusted by the whole damn mess, but the one glimmer off in the distance is the realization that everybody actually DOES care. It seems we care so much that Washington, D.C. therapist Steven Stosny coined the term “election stress disorder” to describe what many of his patients are currently experiencing. Hopefully this syndrome of epidemic proportions can be cured with an election outcome, win or lose.

Peggy Noonan’s WSJ editorial entitled A World in Crisis, and No Genius in Sight aptly pointed out that “An old order is being swept away, and political leaders everywhere seem lost.” What the world needs now isn’t love – it’s a genius along the lines of Gandhi, Lincoln, and Martin Luther King, or better yet a “genius cluster” a la Washington-Jefferson-Franklin-Adams-Madison-Monroe-Hamilton. Heroism and brilliance show up in the midst of trial and tribulation… so how much more turbulence must our world suffer before we are again gifted with a glorious hero to save us all?

Chuck Todd of Meet the Press has tried to bring some perspective and sensibility to this divisive arena through journalism like his interview with conservative pundit Glenn Beck who said, “We have to change our course as individuals now. We’re losing ourselves, we’re losing our civility, we’re losing our decency. We have to stop winning and we have to start reconciling with each other. There’s no leader to do that nationally, so it’s going to require each of us in our own communities to actually stand and do it.”

My fellow children of the 60’s and 70’s might remember the DESIDERATA that gained popularity during that decade of war, protests and social unrest. Somehow we survived that upheaval, and I trust that somehow our world will survive this turmoil as well. Let’s bring back the Desiderata. Perhaps YOU – Child of the Universe – are the true genius the galaxy is waiting for.

8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jacqi
    Oct 30, 2016 @ 05:33:57

    Well written Jana, but I must admit that I was really sad to see there was not one woman on that so called list of heroes. I personally feel that Hillary is the hero and genius as no other woman in the world would put up with the mess she has slogged through to move women forward in this country. It is not a job any man could do and not many woman at this point. #imwithher


    • Tom Aplin
      Oct 30, 2016 @ 22:33:52

      Jacqi, I pose this question: why are you and others so hung up on gender? How is being gender biased any different from being a racist? That’s a tag so easily applied to Trump by many who seem equally biased. How are you any different? It’s simply not about gender or race. It’s about policy! There are many able women. Carly Fiorina was an excellent candidate, who I much preferred over Trump. She didn’t appeal to the voters in the primary. It has nothing to do with gender. It’s about character, charisma and policy – the ability to lead and get things done. That’s the litmus test. I fear that this gender divide that women especially seem to want to create these days is really bad for the country and especially bad for families. Can’t we leave gender out of it? Women can and are succeeding on their merits all over the country. We don’t need quotas.


  2. Tom Aplin
    Oct 30, 2016 @ 10:52:48

    Very well written, Jana. I agree 100%. The lack of civility and intolerance of other views is, to my mind, a byproduct of a culture dominated by divisive political TV shows and the need to be right. To some degree, I blame the talking heads like Chris Matthews, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, people who do not welcome debate. They all yell and don’t listen. But the liberal media spawned FOX News, so this is where we landed. Long over are the days when the populace could tune into Walter Cronkite and get an unbiased view. When we started plugging into our iPhones and tablets with ear buds and stopped having conversations in person, we also forgot how to speak to one another. When we started chasing the almighty dollar at all costs and, at the same time, threw our foundation in religion and morality out the door in exchange for a more “enlightened” new secularism, we also lost our way. When our former President lied about sex with an intern and it became a national debate and when pornography became available to all in the privacy of our bedrooms and workplaces, we lost our sense of decency. Politicians, businessmen, even priests got lost along the way. Corruption, which heretofore only happened in “other countries” became daily news. The Internet has made it possible for news to travel across the globe in an instant. Bad guys can recruit online rather than go door to door looking for a “few good men.” The open borders and globalism designed to create diversity instead has, in some instances, created pockets of isolation and spawned fanaticism. The world is changing fast, but a Gandhi or Martin L. King, Jr. is out there. The problem, of course, is that will anyone listen? As Lincoln famously said, you can never please all of the people. Perhaps we are destined to be divided. But I hope not. I was encouraged on Thursday night when I met a random African American woman before the Cal-USC football game. We started talking about race, politics and life and became so engrossed we almost missed the kickoff. We hugged as we departed and both felt the better for it. We need more of that.


  3. Teresa Schutzman
    Oct 30, 2016 @ 17:16:27

    I think Hillary has shown “heroism and brilliance”. Heroism for never giving up and for believing in herself when so many have tried to crush her for so many years. Brilliance because she has managed to navigate the wilds of politics in spite of all this. Also, she is pretty brilliant. Her knowledge of public policy and world affairs is breathtaking. I the words of Fareed Zakaria: The closer you look at Hillary Clinton’s “scandals” the less you find. I have been an admirer of hers since she was first lady and am genuinely puzzled at the vitriol aimed at her and the witch hunts that never never seem to end and never produce anything. But I do understand that she is the beneficiary of some of the hate aimed at Barack Obama.

    Anyway, I am getting into the kind of stuff that everyone is sick of hearing about. What I really wanted to say is this:

    I have a lot of hope and optimism about a Hillary Presidency and I know a lot of women who are. They will be standing beside me (and probably crying, we are women after all!) on the National Mall when the first female President of the United States is sworn in. You want to see some positive change? Give a woman a chance. We are the peacemakers and the conciliators and I am so proud and hopeful. No matter what the press says there are plenty of people who are fired up and excited and who believe that the people of this country will do the right thing.

    So take heart Jana. There is optimism and enthusiasm out there. Sometimes in our own backyard.


    P.S. I kinda feel embarassed to write something to you since you have morphed into such an amazing writer. It has been too long since your last missive!



    • Tom Aplin
      Oct 30, 2016 @ 18:21:27

      Women who support Hillary despite her well documented scandals and crimes (yes, she’s a criminal whether the DOJ prosecutes or not) are no different from the men who support Trump despite his misogyny, narcissism and greed. I’m waiting for the heroes to step forward and denounce them both.


  4. janahaertl
    Oct 30, 2016 @ 21:23:04

    The inspired dialogue generated here is awesome! Thank you for responding with such well-articulated viewpoints and hopeful thoughts. I’m standing tall on the fence cheering my friends on either side… for being so insightful, educated, and passionate. Let’s keep listening to each other, respectfully disagreeing… and reciting the Desiderata!


  5. terismyth
    Nov 01, 2016 @ 17:47:43

    Hello Jana- I am happy to read another one of your creative writings. I’m in awe at your words like slogging that inspire me to be a better writer.

    And I love your description of coloring right through the page. I have one of those coloring books also, but never seem to slow down long enough to use it.

    Political, I’m not, so I will stay out of the controversial topic. I will congratulate you on another splendid blog as i know all too well how hard it is to write.

    Be well. Thanks again for bringing a cheerful read to my day.


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