Saturday, November 8, 2008

Post No. 66 by Guest Author: Positive Choices

© 2008 by muttonchopsbyiris

When I took a class on interpersonal relationships (more years ago than I care to admit), the instructor stated that we always have a choice. Regardless of the situation or circumstance, there is absolutely, positively, undeniably a choice. I was among those in the class who said, "Not always - sometimes your back is against the wall, there are times ...."

The teacher shook his head in opposition. "You may not like your choices, but they are always there."


After digesting his statement, I realized he was right, and even better, that his statement was liberating.

We are never stuck with one option. Even if someone has a gun to your head, you have a choice - do as you are told or don't. Ultimately you have the power of making the decision and accepting the consequences of your choice.


Taking choices a step further, you can opt to turn negatives into positives based on the choices you create for yourself, as proven by one woman's political statement. Shannon Bennett of Texas was tired of having the Obama political signs stolen from her yard. She had choices - she could have stopped putting out signs, she could have staked out the thieves, she could have whined to her local authorities. Instead, she made a better wheel - she bought 12 cans of spray paint and turned her front yard into one huge Obama sign! Innovative, positive and she's a great role model for thinking outside the box.

In Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Shawn Turschak was fed up with his McCain/Palin signs disappearing. Being an electrical engineer, he decided to send a shocking message to would-be criminals. Unfortunately, his first victim was a 9-year-old boy. Of course dad says the kid was just examining the sign. The child was also trespassing and should have been taught, like I was, if it's not yours, don't touch it! The police got involved, no one got in trouble.

Was the Chapel Hill Shocker wrong? Perhaps, but it was predictable. He took the easy choice and was vindictive in his quest to assault burglars. The kid probably deserved a pop on the hand but got a zap instead and there's always the danger of shocking the wrong person, sending them into deathly arrhythmia. (I shudder to think about the potential for barbecued squirrels on this guy's lawn.)

As election day closes and we obtain the results, we must realize the choices we had, recognize our actions, and live with them in a positive manner. Voter turn-out is breaking records everywhere and people are passionate about their candidates.

If you chose to vote, you exercised one of the most important freedoms we have. This country was established on freedoms and creating democracy. Early settlers took huge risks and lost much by coming here. So many died and suffered while declaring independence from the English monarchy. Everytime I see "Iron Jawed Angels" (http://iron-jawed-angels.com/), I am awestruck by how long it took women to get the right to vote, and that less than 100 years ago, suffragists paved the way for me to do something many take for granted.


Yet, those who chose not to vote must recognize they exercised a right as well. Today, we have a multitude of ways to become registered voters, and the methods of voting are abundant. No one can say they are left out of the voting process. Additionally, to ignore it is to make a choice.

Perhaps you weren't aware of your options, but again, made the choice not to inquire. I would never condemn someone for not voting, but would admonish them should they complain.Whether our preferred candidates win or lose, we still have choices about our behavior over the next four years. We can sit back, whining or cheering, basking in victory, or shuddering in defeat.

Another option is to move forward. If you are not happy with the politicians in office, start acting now. Get involved, learn the issues, stay informed, and volunteer in the next election.

If you are satisfied, my advice is the same. Don't rest on your laurels thinking our world is now safe. Make sure these elected officials keep their promises by writing, calling, and having your voice heard.


People in the past made choices and died for me to have a voice today. The least I can do is choose to make sure I am heard.

© 2008 by muttonchopsbyiris


http://muttonchopsbyiris.blogspot.com/


http://www.examiner.com/x-812-Recreation-Examiner

The Institute for Applied Common Sense invites our readers to serve as Guest Authors, and to submit articles on any subject in the universe, consistent with our philosophy. http://theviewfromoutsidemytinywindow.blogspot.com/2008/08/post-no-34-opportunity-to-serve-as.html

What is that? We believe that all discourse can be civil. We also believe that reasonable people can differ, and yet intelligently work together, in a collaborative fashion, to come up with innovative solutions which advance the positive, long term interests of society. We also strive to stimulate thought and assist our readers in appreciating that there are not just 2 or 3 ways looking at issues, but at least 27. Responsibility requires such an approach.

The article appearing above was submitted earlier in the week, prior to the election. We apologize for not publishing it earlier.

27 comments:

  1. A great post! Once again we are in firm agreement. A wise young man I served with in the USN once told me, "Everyone has a choice, even a slave has the right to say 'No'." It is something I considered each time I found myself in an untenable position. While I didn't ever talk back to the gunman, I did say "No" to a man with a knife once. The surprise was that it turned out well.

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  2. Douglas: Yep, it fits perfectly within our view about personal responsibility. We can always dictate (or choose) our response to any action or situation which we confront. It is a fundamental tenet of our approach. Glad that your surprise worked out well. I'm personally of the opinion that it will do so the vast majority of the time, especially when one takes responsibility for the decisions that led one to be in the situation.

    There is a corollary statement which we here at the Institute for Applied Common Sense use frequently: One can neither dictate nor hold others responsible for their reaction, of whatever nature, to the stupid things one does.

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  3. I never really thought about it that way, but yes we always have choices. thanks for passing on the information!

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  4. Glad that you decided to visit us Dev. When we visited your blog earlier today, it occurred to us that you would be the perfect person to check in with us occasionally.

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  5. Excellent common sense blog. I absolutely agree that there are always choices and once made- action needs to be applied to support those choices. The only thing I would add is an old cliché: ‘For every action there is a reaction.’ Think through all possible consequences and understand you are the only one responsible for your actions.
    Vikki

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  6. redchair, that is actually a law (of motion). But, yes, "actions have consequences". It is almost impossible to imagine all the possible consequences in many situations. And then, of course, there are the unintended (aka unforeseen) consequences. What I think one needs to do is to accept that there will be consequences and be willing to deal with them as they occur. Some might say that maturity comes when you are ready to take responsibility for any action you take.

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  7. Great comments from all! And Douglas, I too am glad your situation turned out well in the end with your choice. I saw an article today where an older woman was going to be robbed. She chose to drop on her knees and start praying. The thief took off complaining she was praying too loud! I was going to say that when one's life is in one's hands, those are difficult decisions - but if I follow my own advice, we each always carry our own life in our own hands.

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  8. Douglas: Although I agree with you that one can not imagine all of the possible consequences, I do believe that one can make one's self more open to, and anticipate, the various different types of consequences which can potentially occur, by simply listening to interacting with others, and expanding our experiences accordingly.

    Another point: almost everything in the universe has a good and bad side. Every new invention, item of technology, social advancement, revolution, etc. However, that being said, I would like to think that the best aspect of our being animals with large brains will come into play, and that we can think ourselves out of the problematic consequences, both intended and unintended.

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  9. By the way readers, there is a 10/2006 interview of Barack Obama on C-Span2Book TV, right this moment, with respect to his book, "The Audacity of Hope." http://www.booktv.org/program.aspx?ProgramId=7586&SectionName=&PlayMedia=No

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  10. I see so many people blind to the fact that we DO have choices in EVERY SINGLE THING we do (action we choose) in our lives. It's hard to see that sometimes.

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  11. Thank you, Iris, for your kind words. I chose to challenge that man with the knife on a hunch, something in his body language, in his eyes, in his manner, told me that he did not want to use that knife at all. I knew the possible consequences of my actions but trusted my instincts. I was right, that time.

    Incidentally, Log, there is something for you to read on my blog. As I wrote, "actions have consequences." A wise man (should have) said, "Choose your words wisely, you may have to eat them later."

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  12. So true, so true. Thanks for a great post. We do have to continue to stay connected and involved or this will all be for nothing. I hope the citizens of this country are ready to make some sacrifices and think BIG.

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  13. Miles Per Hour: In my opinion, you're absolutely right. I think that perhaps the most interesting choice of words that Iris made in the drafting of her piece was her use of the phrase, "back up against the wall." Lots of folks think that when one has extremely uncomfortable conditions or situations which they are confronting, their options disappear.

    When I was in law school, I took a course in Family Law. During a class discussion one day, we got into the discussion about women who have been beaten / battered during a relationship. My response was that the women should immediately call the cops, and leave the relationship.

    My professor and others in the class argued forcefully that the decision was not that easy. They noted that frequently, the woman has no financial resources to enable her to leave, and that she often has to think about the interests of the children. I argued that the long term negative consequences of staying in the marriage, in my opinion, outwieghed any short term benefits.

    Of course, I'm not a woman and I've never been in an abusive relationship. However, my position is that if people focused more on the choices which they have, as opposed to thinking about what others may do, over which they do not have control, we'd have a more responsible society.

    As I indicated in my articles about O.J. Simpson, I was in the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office when the Office policy on handling spousal abuse prosecutions was changed to make the continuation of our prosecution dependent on the facts, and not the continued cooperation of the victim. That was a choice that we had as professional prosecutors, and we realized the potential consequences, especially if the woman stayed in the relationship during our prosecution, and the prosecution was successful.

    This is difficult stuff.I'd be curious what some of our women readers think of the applicability of this "choice" concept to spousal abuse. I think that the bottom line is that we accept and acknowledge responsibility for whatever choice we make, even though it may ultimately prove to have negative ramifications.

    The first step in correcting any problem is to take responsibility for one's role in its initiation, and its potential continuation.

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  14. Peggi Habets: Thanks again for visiting us and commenting. The really positive thing which I have noticed over the past 2 or 3 days is the expression of a collaborative attitude on the part of many diverse citizens with diverse philosophies about our nation. I assume that the problems are so serious that we have come to the realization that we must work together to get beyond them.

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  15. Now that the 2008 election and its historic high turnout is history, there is much greater appreciation for the privilege of voting.

    But most people don't realize that out of 44 American presidents, only the last 15 were elected in a truly democratic fashion by all of our citizens -- men AND women.

    Until 1920 women were denied the vote, and few people have any idea of the struggle our suffragettes had to go through to right this wrong. It's an amazing, awe-inspiring story!

    Now you can subscribe FREE to my exciting historical e-mail series that reveals HOW the suffragettes won votes for women. Believe me, it wasn't easy!

    "The Privilege of Voting" is drawing rave reviews from readers all over the world. Dramatic, sequential short-story episodes follow the lives of eight of the world's most famous women to tell the true stories of the courage of the suffragettes. Read this FREE e-mail series on your coffeebreaks and be inspired by these amazing women!

    Subscribe free at

    www.CoffeebreakReaders.com/subscribe.html

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  16. Ms. Harris:

    Thanks much for visiting our blog and placing the comment concerning the rather limited electorate at earlier points in our country’s history. It really makes one think. You couple that with the fact that many minorities were not allowed to vote even after women, and one can really appreciate why many of us did not think that America could elect a minority president at this point in its evolution.

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  17. Hi Logistician,

    will appreciate it very much if you could contact me please at lettersfromdaddy.bts@gmail.com

    Thank you.

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  18. We recently posted a letter to the editor of our local newspaper in which the writer defines "true Christians" as those individuals who did not vote for supporters of abortion. this led to a whole discussion about choice and abortion. In the abortion debate, is there a positive choice to be made amongst competing choices?

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  19. Hi Logistician,

    will appreciate it very much if you could contact me please at lettersfromdaddy.bts@gmail.com

    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  20. By the way readers, there is a 10/2006 interview of Barack Obama on C-Span2Book TV, right this moment, with respect to his book, "The Audacity of Hope." http://www.booktv.org/program.aspx?ProgramId=7586&SectionName=&PlayMedia=No

    ReplyDelete
  21. So true, so true. Thanks for a great post. We do have to continue to stay connected and involved or this will all be for nothing. I hope the citizens of this country are ready to make some sacrifices and think BIG.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Great comments from all! And Douglas, I too am glad your situation turned out well in the end with your choice. I saw an article today where an older woman was going to be robbed. She chose to drop on her knees and start praying. The thief took off complaining she was praying too loud! I was going to say that when one's life is in one's hands, those are difficult decisions - but if I follow my own advice, we each always carry our own life in our own hands.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I never really thought about it that way, but yes we always have choices. thanks for passing on the information!

    ReplyDelete

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