Monday, January 31, 2011

Defending Ourselves Against Rumored Falsehoods

Valerie J. Steimle

After hearing so much venom hurled last week between Sarah Palin and the media about the Tuscan shootings, I am convinced there is no winning in defending yourself against any falsehoods. I know that Sarah Palin isn’t afraid to shoot back what is hurled at her, but does it really help her cause? Some political commentators have asked this question. The fact that Ms. Palin was responsible for the shootings of those people stressed in the media was ridiculous and we all know it. It’s just a difficult situation to sit back and let others lie about our true intentions. It is a tough act to be thick skinned. Visions of Dan Quayle dance in my head.

I have also been the center of much venom hurled at me unsuspectingly in my life time and I can tell you, sometimes it just doesn’t help to defend yourself. The more you try to explain the truth, the more others look at you through disapproving glasses. Unfortunately people tend to believe the trash about a person more than not. Although with Sarah Palin, all that is hurled at her from other sources seems to be strengthening her cause instead of making her weaker. That’s because we can sympathize knowing whatever ridiculous comment is said about her from a certain viewpoint, is false.

Throughout our lives, we hear gossip about others and tend to believe it. Why is that? A close friend is accused of being a lesbian by her jealous roommates and everyone around her believes the rumor. How can she defend herself? Another is falsely accused of moral infidelity and there is no convincing others of its falsehood. It’s a lose-lose situation for everyone. We feel our self-esteem falling deeper into a Grand Canyon hole and the false speakers feel better about themselves thinking they have convinced others we are bad people. It’s not pretty.

Sarah Palin has a lot going for her: she appeals to most voters who are sick and tired of watching their political leaders just lay down and accept a beating from the loudest of the minority. She is a common person with no royal bloodline, pedigree or Ivy League credentials. Sarah is intelligent, quick witted and stands up and defends herself well. She speaks for us all in the political arena and we won’t believe those ridiculously false accusations. It’s just not going to work.

I don’t know if the venom will ever stop being hurled at Ms. Palin, but I think she should be allowed to defend herself. Maybe picking her battles of what to hurl back may help but you can’t blame her for defending her true self. It is a sad day when a person gets ribbed for doing so.

So next time we hear of some vicious gossip whether about ourselves or other people, we might be wise in knowing that all that is said is false. Just don’t believe it or pass it on. You will be much better for it.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Small Acts of Kindness: A Good Way to Start the New Year

Valerie J. Steimle

After a nice break from work and school in the last two weeks, we are returning to our real life. It’s back to business this week but it’s a new year and a new beginning. Of course we are patiently awaiting the Auburn/Oregon confrontation…..War eagle is heard loud and clear from our house. Other than that, we are finding ourselves facing another week of back to what is our normal operating procedure: get up, eat breakfast, go to work, come home, relax, eat dinner and go to bed. We might have a few bumps in the road we follow but this is basically the norm. I wonder what can put the zing back into our life after a month of preparation and partying?

Over the weekend, I have been reading interesting stories from a Christian magazine of what people have done to put that good feeling back into their life. What makes life exciting and how can we feel better about ourselves? The stories I read were simple in nature and warmed my heart because all that these people did was help someone else in need. It is amazing how when we think about others and act on that thought how much better we feel in our own life.

A good example of acting on a thought to help others is the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In just a few short years, this foundation has helped thousands of people all over the world on every continent. From agriculture improvements for farmers in growing food to donating medicine in wiping out polio, setting up libraries and funding education in third world countries, they are the largest philanthropic organization in the world. It is truly amazing what they have done.

Of course we aren’t all in a position to do all of that. Our own community needs every day people to do small acts of kindness for neighbors and friends. How many times have you seen a need somewhere and followed up on it? It does leave a great feeling of acceptance and warmth in our hearts. It’s actually the payback for helping other people.

So, whether you are a patriot and want to contribute to bettering the country (like me) or like to attend church to find service in the community or just know your neighbors, small acts of kindness is the way to go for a better year.