This column isn’t about me, but if you’ll indulge me, I’m going to talk briefly about my own short-lived political career in order to make a broader point about today’s political dynamics as played out in the current presidential primaries.
I ran for Cincinnati City Council in 2007, and while unsuccessful, I did well enough to get appointed to fill Mayor John Cranley’s seat when he left City Council in early 2009. I didn’t enjoy much of a honeymoon, however, as the impact of the Great Recession hit locally, and Cincinnati suddenly faced a $50 million budget shortfall. And this is when I got a crash course in politics.
Councilmembers who I thought I knew well started holding press conferences that, in my view, played off ignorance: they claimed the deficit wasn’t real, and that lots of police officers were going to needlessly get laid off. From my own research (I came from a policy background and knew how to dissect budgets) however, I learned that while public safety consumed two-thirds of the city budget, not all dollars were being spent in ways that made us safer. For example, why were we spending millions in costly overtime for walking patrols when police visibility should have been prioritized and integrated into FOP contracts? I also concluded that if the FOP simply considered forgoing a raise for their members for the first time in five years, then they could largely achieve the cuts that were asked of their department without layoffs.
But such modest sacrifice was not considered. Furthermore, as the city’s newest Councilmember, I was depicted as the vital 5th vote (out of nine councilmember) that could save police jobs, or, be the guy who does them in. I confess, the temptation was great. I could’ve branded myself all the way to Election Day as the guy who saved police jobs and kept our city safe. But I knew the issue was a charade, and it had little policy integrity. If we spared the police department of any cuts in face of a large deficit, the balance would be taken from other programs like basic services. I didn’t bite, despite the temptation.
Many Americans have legit reasons for being angry and scared. Middle class wages have been stagnant. The powerful seem to operate by their own rules. New enemies take shapes and forms we aren’t accustomed as nation-less terrorist cells. Some feel their faith and traditions are being undermined. A vulnerable America deserves empathy and action, and Democrats and Republicans have been complicit in systemically redistributing wealth and influence away from working people.
The proverbial “little guy” deserves an agenda that respond to his fears. What “he” is getting is a showman that is stoking his fears for political advantage.
The greatest political compliment I ever received was from my friend George who said I was one of the few politicians he knew “who cared more about doing his job than keeping his job.” In some ways I lived up to this compliment, and other ways I didn’t. But we deserve leaders who put their townships, their cities and their nation ahead of their own election or re-election. Trump’s pathological self-worship and lack of depth has led him to fan flames without concern for their consequences because in the end he serves mostly himself.
The politics of division and fear mongering are cheap and easy. Politicians can take it to an art form. Public servants, by contrast, take on the far more difficult task of seeking genuine ways to serve the people and appeal to their better angels.
Rebecca just edited and sent me this video from last May.
The person who has had the most profound impact on my life was a teacher. He is now battling stage four cancer and so many students who were touched by him are reaching out.
I was terribly shy in High School, my parents marriage was breaking up, it remains an ugly and profoundly sad period of my life. I was an at risk kid, but I had a special teacher who encouraged me.
This is what I wrote on his Facebook page:
As I was driving to work, I was thinking of the many lessons I learned in your class. I finally realized that the most important gift a teacher can provide is not knowledge or even wisdom, it is confidence. In reading the many posts of former students, I was struck by the love and shared belief that you profoundly changed the course of our lives because of the confidence you instilled in each of us.
Mr Carr, I was a shy, insecure, teenager when I met you. Now at 54, I can attest that my life has been full. I graduated college and law school including winning the scholarship for outstanding oral advocate;), tried cases, saved lives, won awards, written laws, presided over, prosecuted, and defended thousands of cases, served as a Special Justice on the Kentucky Supreme Court, and attended two National Democratic Conventions. I am married to a special woman, and the father of two wonderful young men. I have great friends who I love beyond words and have work that gives my life meaning.
I may not have achieved all my dreams but if anyone would have told me when I started Riverview-this was my future-I would have laughed and then cowered in fear. From a terrified teen whose shaking hands caused the papers to rustle so loud that other kids looked away in embarrassment with my first speech to a lawyer who values inappropriate ties, cufflinks, loud socks, humor and kindness over all other human attributes.
Your teaching showed us what we could be…..if we but tried. The love flowing to you now is only surpassed by the realization of how many lives you forever altered. Ron we love you, for the most basic of reasons, you showed your love and faith in us first.
My most prized possession are his words in my yearbook….can you even imagine what kind of teacher-what kind of person he must be to write something this kind to a struggling young man. It has been 35 years and it still chokes me up. To my beloved friend and teacher:
How to survive a major storm –and (maybe) find your inner hero
As we hunker down tonight for Kentucky’s Blizzard-Palooza, I am reminded of an even bigger storm I endured over 20 years ago and, as awful as it was, I actually remember in a weirdly endearing way.
I was a newlywed and recent law school grad and had just moved to Tamarac, Florida, to start a new job in Ft Lauderdale. I chose Tamarac because I was able to get a great deal on a condo rental and had rented it sight unseen.
As we drove into Tamarac we noticed it wasn’t the young hip town we had hoped it would be but was a retirement community. The first restaurants we saw were all buffet restaurants and each block was dotted with prosthetic stores. I admitted to Rebecca
We found our pink pastel retirement condo, unpacked, picked up some toiletries, rented some movies at Blockbuster and got dressed-up and headed out for our first big date night in Florida.
We got home late and as we got ready for bed, Rebecca flipped on the television and yelled for me to come quickly.
“What is it?” I asked.
Rebecca pointed to the TV, “Look! They are warning that a major hurricane is coming tomorrow and saying we should evacuate”
“Nah.” I muttered reassuringly. “It’s Florida. They have hurricanes all the time. We’ll be fine.”
We turned off the TV went to bed and didn’t wake up until noon the next day.
We leisurely headed to grocery to stock our new home but noticed the grocery was busy–crazily busy– and much of the shelves had been cleared.
We bought a few items and headed home to find out more about this hurricane. It was called Hurricane Andrew.
I still wasn’t overly concerned. I’d been through hurricanes before. But Rebecca hadn’t and was getting worried.
I decided to snap into action as the strong protective husband I sensed my wife and our small shih-tzu dog, Julep, were yearning for me to be. Since the grocery stores had limited choices, I went to Miami Subs and bought half dozen sub sandwiches. I proudly
But instead of being relieved, Rebecca looked more nervous than before and told me she thought we should evacuate like everyone else. She had been watching the news and miles of streaming cars were south Florida in a mass exodus.
“Look,” I implored. “How many times will we get to say we lived through one of the worst storms in modern history —and survived it?” I paused. “Think about it.” I paused again. “This is an historic opportunity.”
It was my way of coping. I was trying to appear brave and considered Mother Nature throwing down the gauntlet to us. The movie Forrest Gump hadn’t been released yet but I was already channeling Lt Dan defiantly trying to take on a vicious storm on a sinking
As I jabbered on, I noticed fearful tears welling up in Rebecca’s eyes.
“What about Julep?” She asked. “What if we all die?”
I felt a lump welling in my throat and despite my brilliant sub sandwich maneuver, I was beginning to second guess the wisdom of my plan to stare down Hurricane Andrew.
We looked again at the TV and now it was eerily quite outside—the chilling calm before the storm.
Reporters were telling us the roads were now clear; that the city had been evacuated and those who stayed behind were hunkering down to brave the storm.
“Get the dog.” I said resignedly. “We’re leaving.”
Rebecca hugged and thanked me, got Julep and a change of clothes, and we hopped in the car and were off.
We had a clear shot —hardly any traffic –all the way to north Florida as we outran Hurricane Andrew. It was a bizarre consolation prize for our (my) foolhardy delay.
We were nearing the Georgia border and now were exhausted and ready to find a hotel room for the night. But tens of thousands of others had the exact same thought and started hours before us. Hotel after hotel told us they were full. About 5am we were
The next day we took it easy and reflected on how grateful we were that we fled and were safe and dry in a nice hotel with electricity. We stayed a second night and the next morning I called UK law school to see if final grades had been posted. I called
“Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!” I yelled into a pillow to muffle the sound of my ecstatic scream when I received the merciful news I had graduated from law school.
As an aside, I have always had an affection for LaQuinta Inns ever since.
We decided it was time to head home to survey the damage and face the consequences. We pulled in just before nightfall and to our amazement our condo building hadn’t been hit at all. We even had electricity. We had remarkably been spared.
Other towns nearby, like Kendall and Homestead were nearly decimated. 25,000 homes were destroyed and 100,000 more damaged. Over a million homes were without electricity –many for weeks. 26 people died and property damage totaled over $26 billion. Hurricane
We went inside and threw away the four extra sub sandwiches, unpacked and turned on the TV just as if nothing had happened since we turned it off two days earlier.
It’s truly amazing how quickly we can return to our petty normalcy even after just being spared major devastation.
A few days later I returned the movies we had rented from Blockbuster and was charged a late fee. I argued that Blockbuster should waive the late fee because the hurricane was an “Act of God” that caused me to flee the city for several days and return
“Look, I’m a lawyer.” I explained. “Trust me. This is not something you want to fight me on.” I didn’t threaten to sue Blockbuster over the $2 late charge but tried to insinuate that was a distinct possibility.
The clerk told me he’d have to talk to his manager the next day but had to charge me the late fee for now. I shrugged and paid the late fee and strutted out of Blockbuster as dauntingly as I could in a T-shirt.
I probably hadn’t impressed my teen accuser, but told myself I had grown a lot the week of the storm. I was now a law grad and just had my first legal run-in over a movie rental late charge and, despite losing, had made some forceful legal points.
And, of course, I now was a fearless survivor of a major storm.
I got into my car and headed back to my pink pastel condo where I was sure my wife and shih tzu were waiting eagerly for their hero to return home.
Maybe tonight in Kentucky there are some young insecure newly married young men awaiting the avalanche of snow and fearful they won’t know how to handle it. Fear not. This may be the night you find your hero’s voice. Or maybe it won’t be and you’ll end
My advice? Do what they say on the news and don’t get hung up on ideas involving sub sandwiches. And most importantly, realize your wife really knows best and if you trust her instincts, you’ll both be fine — and she’ll still love you and pretend you’re
And, finally, if you decide to pick a fight with a teenage clerk, don’t. Just pay and walk away. Trust me on this. I’m a lawyer, you know.
It is December. It is holiday time. The amount of stress increases exponentially. More people get sick with the cold or flu and their time decreases because of the demand of parties and social events. Instead of taking to over the counter pills or doctor prescriptions, what if you just moved? How can movement help in making you feel better?
Over the last 30 years, as Americans, we have been obsessed with medicine. From antibiotics to steroids and everything in between, we medicate our selves and quite honestly and quite simply we OVER medicate ourselves. We don’t move as much as our ancestors did, we get sicker more often, we carry more body fat and our stress levels seem like nuclear time bombs just waiting to go off. True, we live longer but in my opinion we don’t live as quality of lives as generations before us. We live on prescription and over the counter medications. And they are killing us.
I am not a doctor, I am not what you would call a “health professional.” I am person who specializes in fitness and movement and have watched first hand how movement can better people in the following areas; physically, emotionally, psychologically, and even sexually (get your mind out of the gutter, I have not witnessed that first hand but people have told me and I take their word for it, dammit.)
Lets define movement for a second. Movement defined as “the act of moving your body or a part of your body.” Now I will had a phrase to the end, “in a fashion that increases blood flow to the body’s tissues, decreases harmful inflammation and increases feel good hormones the body.” That is how we will define movement, anything where you move. Like weight training, walking, going up stairs, running (oh god), sport activities, playing with your kids etc. You get the point…MOVE!
So, can I ask you a question? Has anyone ever been to a doctor for something and instead of prescribing medication that doctor told you to “start moving?” That is not a shot at the medical professionals but I would dare to say that movement (as defined above) could treat and prevent many of the diseases that kill us. From diabetes to heart disease to certain cancers, movement has scientifically shown to decrease the death rate and improve a person’s well being.
You people who are reading this are smart. You are educated. You know what is important overall but what about during bouts of constant stress and anxiety or when you have a cold or infection. How does movement work then?
Activities to Consider When Sick
Activities to Avoid
Heavy weight training
How Exercise Affects Your Immune System
Brief Vigorous Exercise- no immune suppressing effect
Long term moderate intensity resistance Training– stimulates innate immunity (natural immunity; white blood cells, mucous, stomach acid)
Textbook Guidelines to Exercises While Sick
To close this out here are a few tips
To Keep From Getting Sick
Eat organic food
Although important, money only buys things. That’s it. Nothing more and nothing less.
The most unpredictable measurement of human existence. Why? Because you never know when it is going to end. Time is the most important currency in existence. Time allows you to create something that could, last forever. Money doesn’t do that. Time may no last long but time could have unlimited value. A dollar will always be a dollar.
The biggest excuse one can give is to say they don’t have time. When in fact, they are saying, “I don’t want to make time.” The point being, if it were important to you, you would make time.
If that relationship was important, you would make time
If working out were important, you would make time
If your health was important, you would make time
If it were important to you, you would make the time.
We all don’t have 24 hours in day. The concept of hours, minutes, seconds is man made. Something to organize your sleep and work schedules. It gives us a guide to lead our lives by but its not factual. YOU decide the measure of your time. Your decided how much you are willing to spend on a given item or task. You and you alone decide where to put your energy. Time is up to you. Are you using it wisely?
None of us are making it out of here alive. No you. Not me. The reality is, one day our time will be up. We will fade off into the distance and only be memorialized by the people we leave behind and the value we added to the universe. How would you like to be remembered? Are creating something that will last forever?
Here are a few ways to use your time better:
Stop Wasting Time
Don’t waste your time. Don’t waste other’s time. Many of us that say we don’t have time, waste more time than we are given. Is that you? Do you waste your time on pointless activities? Do you waste time on toxic relationships? Do you waste time by eating poorly and drinking substances that ultimately reduce the amount of time you have? Start with your why. Why do you exist? Why are you on this earth and what are you here to do? What is your passion? You must answer these questions and go back to them daily in order to use the time you have better.
Reality check. Some of the things we do are pointless. These activities keep us from being able to do the things we really would like to. Simplify your life by getting rid of the things, activities and even people who are distracting and not contributing to our mission.
You think WAY too much and don’t do enough. On a daily basis I repeat the following to my clients, “don’t think, just do.” We spend wasteful time thinking about what we are going to do next, instead of taking action on what we want. You don’t have forever, so stop thinking so damn much.
Know How Little Time You Have
On average, each day, you will spend time doing the following:
7.6 hours sleeping
Leaving you with 5.5 hours to do with as you choose. Add in an hour to work out and you don’t have very much time. Compound this over a life time and it gets really bad. You must make the time you have count. Make the time to do the things that set your soul on fire and help you follow your passion. At the end, you will be glad you did.
Time is our most precious commodity. It is also our most unpredictable. It can be over in a split second. Let your why lead you.
Oh and PS… stop wasting time!
The battle of body fat can be a slobber knocker. The amount of misinformation is appalling. The amount of self proclaimed “fitness professionals” is even worse. This leads to a lot of information out there and hardly an ounce of it is credible. Thousands of diets, workout plans, calorie counting etc., are common ideas thrown around the world for people who are trying to lose weight or more importantly, body fat. Have you ever wondered why big tasks broken down to simple strategies, performed daily in the exact way, often leads to success? Somewhat like the assembly line that lead to more efficiency in car building and other industries. No? Well I have and I know the secret to losing weight and fat and I will share here. And surprise surprise, its not rocket science and it sure as hell isn’t a secret and everyone could do it, if they wanted it bad enough. Got your attention? Good…here we go:
She worked out with weights, got plenty of sleep and ate a balanced nutritional plan. With our custom nutritional plans we can specifically work with you on portion control, focus on macronutrients and get results.
I have heard it a thousand times. I have seen it just as many. Being honest with you, I have done it too (more on that later). The attempt of proving yourself to someone or multiple people is common, especially for people who want to please others. And lets be honest here, even the most stubborn and rogue of us have people we want to please. We find the need to try to “fit in” or be somebody we are not just to get an anticipated reaction from someone we care about or are interested in. The practice of constantly proving ourselves to others is futile, destructive and a waste of time. The only person you need to prove anything to is you. No one else matters. Not your husband, not your boyfriend, not your boss, not your best friend, not even your parents…just you.
Personal story time.
At several points in my life, I was on this self destructive path. While not as detrimental as other’s stories, it was abnormal for me to focus on being something I wasn’t to be liked by someone, who at the time, mattered. About five years ago, in the midst of running up and down the road traveling from city to city, I miraculously found a girlfriend. It was a very strange relationship with a lot of ins and outs that don’t matter for this topic but I found myself constantly having to live up to a standard that was foreign to me. Essentially, I was living up to a physique that I never worried about before. Just like when women try to get in shape to be more attractive to men, I found myself killing myself to be leaner and more athletic than I ever had before. Without her knowing, I was trying to compete with boyfriends of the past who were ripped out of their minds. I was trying to be something I wasn’t and honestly never wanted to be, just so I guess she liked me more. This obviously was a waste of time. But the result was awful. I completely altered my diet and my workouts, going completely off what I normally did. I would drink protein shakes, eat tuna and rice cakes and do a bunch of CrossFit style workouts and then cardio (I have never done cardio since).
As you can imagine, I bottomed out physique wise. I did a lot of cardio, ate very little, and lost my damn muscles and myself. All to try to impress a girl. What a waste huh? Here is the result of all my hard work:
I weighed 175lbs on the day that was taken. I had not weighed that amount since I was 19 years old. I had lost myself trying to prove something to someone, who at the end of the day didn’t care much about me anyway. So what was the point? There wasn’t one. After, I got out of that mess I put the weight back on and now I am at a comfortable 200 lbs.
This happens all the time. People will chose the job their parents want versus the job that they want. Women will starve themselves to look more attractive to their significant others. Men will do whatever it takes to impress a girl that they like no matter how much it deviates from who they are. Stop this process! it is unhealthy and will not get you anywhere. Here is why..
The people worth impressing just want you to be you
If it matters to you, it should matter to them. If it doesn’t they aren’t worth your time. I believe you only have a few close friends, everyone else will go in and out of your life serving some purpose and then leaving. You being you should matter to the people who love you the most. If the guy you are dating can’t accept you for who you are, dump his ass. Same goes for the guys too.
Only you know whats best for you
Everyone will give you advice. However, they don’t have to live in your skin. You know whats best for you. Act like it. Let others take you as you are, or not at all.
Society’s message to us leaves a lot to be desired. To be honest, its evil. Magazine photos are photoshopped to create an unrealistic perception of what a woman should look like and even what a man should look like. Its unfair to our psyche to expect us to look and be like something that isn’t real to begin with. Let go of this, be yourself and be who you are.
You can’t please everyone
Its impossible to please everyone. So why try? You end up not pleasing the person you should be pleasing in the first place…YOU.
When we embrace our authentic selves, we open ourselves up to real relationships, real happiness and real success. Your time is NOW!
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