Anne Marino Einhorn has been a resident of Middletown for the last sixteen years. She earned her Bachelor Degree in Performing Arts at Sarah Lawrence College in New York and received her Masters Degree in social work from the University of Southern California. Anne has worked for Communities That Care for the last eight years. She has served as a community mobilizer, educator and facilitator of after school theatre programs.
Red Sox! Play offs! Yes! Anybody surprised by my reaction, of course not; am I surprised to see them in contention...well kind of after their ignominious fold last year. Surprised and overjoyed to see them in play, thrilled to watch these nail biting games, ecstatic that there will be a game six...all of that and more. The best part is watching the way they play, watching the way they win and ultimately understanding why they have come back so hard this year. This year, the Red Sox are playing as a team, a unit, a scrappy bunch of guys with a common goal and belief in themselves. They've got a spark they haven't had in awhile and although there are those who believe its all a matter of trades and strategies, I think its a whole lot more than that....I think it's magic and a mantra, 'find a way". And they do, every single game, even the ones they lose. They never quit, they never slow down, they never stop trying, even their defeats are inspiring because they gave it their all and then turned around and did it again, the next day and the next and the next until....here they are, fighting and scraping their way through some of the closest games in play off history. I watch them with the thrill and intensity of every Red Sox fan but it's hasn't been just a roller coaster ride, it has been a life lesson. They play together, they work together, they cheer each other on and they never give up; they don't lay blame at each other's feet, they don't trash talk their opponents, and they don't take anything for granted. Think about that, it's a great way to accomplish goals - to never stop trying, to accept defeat with grace and then do it all over again until you get what you want... or not, but knowing you gave it your best shot.
I haven't seen much of this behaviour off the baseball field lately, not in the federal government and not in our own little borough. In fact a lot of what I have seen is posturing, self promotion, close minded stubborness, and nastiness. I see people willing to destroy in the name of pride and greed, I see politicians and business people, and people who are only concerned with their own ends, doing whatever it takes to get what they want despite the consequences to the people who depend on them to keep life good and just and profitable. I don't know about anyone else but I'm taking a page from the Red Sox' playbook - I'm playing to win, not just an election or a contest or a lottery, but in everything I do and I'll do it with determination, honesty, teamwork and always, always "finding a way".
I am from Massachusetts, born and bred in a little town called Franklin, slightly south of Boston and north of Cape Cod. As a native of this state, I claim as my birthright three things: The Boston Red Sox, New England clam chowder, and the Democratic Party. We of this state, are given these things at birth and if we reject them...well...one, two, three, you're out! As it happens, I'm a rabid Red Sox fan, a devotee of NEW ENGlAND clam chower (not Manhatten!) and yup, a Dem.. I tend to talk about the first two things a lot and not so much about the third (unless asked). I think party affiliation is a private piece of information unless you really want to get into an argument with someone or as in my case, you are running for office. I am happy to be a Democrat but I am sad to know that a lot of people probably don't like me because of it (of course a lot of Yankee fans don't like me either but that's another story).
Being a Democrat or a Republican or a Libertarian or whatever else, shouldn't really make one an object of derision or hatred or mockery. It does though...it does because we often use a person's party affiliation as an indicator of what they are like as people. I admit there are all sorts of assumptions you can make about me because I am a Democrat but they wouldn't necessarily be true any more than assumptions I might make about you because of your political party. Yes, I agree with a lot of things that the party stands for, that's why I'm in it, but I don't agree with everything and even when I do agree, it may not be unconditional. I hope and believe most people are that way too. I'm not going to go on and on about what I think Democrats stand for or what I think Democrats do or what I think Democrats want. That's not what I'm here to do. I'm just here to tell people that yes, I am a Democrat but I'm a person first, my own person, and you don't really know me at all until you know me for who I am not what I am.
This has been a very busy and hectic time for me and so there has been no blogging. There has also been no time to organize my thoughts into anything anyone would want to read but I miss writing so....I figured I better get back to it, ready or not!
The last two months have been a time of endings and beginnings; both coming with their own unique actions and emotions and both leading into each other.
First, there has come the ending of my ten year stint with Communities That Care. It has not been easy to say good-bye, especially to all the kids I have worked with and loved over the years, It has not been easy to say good bye to teachers, facilitators, and friends with whom I have shared many good times and bad; laughs, tears, joys, frustrations. I will miss them all. There isn't much time to grieve though because this ending has already morphed into a new beginning; the start of my new job as a full time therapist with Catholic Charities in Lancaster. As I take on this new role, I am excited and crazy with anticipation about the new things I will do and the new people I will meet. Sad and happy, ending and beginning, hand in hand.
The other big ending/beginning was/is my daughter's high school graduation. My baby girl, my youngest child has left the last denizen of childhood and even though she's still a baby to me, she is now on her way to adulthood. It seems like yesterday, as we all say, she was just a little girl...and now, she's all grown up. Graduation is and always has been a bittersweet time full of joy and pride for the achievements made yet tempereed by sadness for time gone by. I felt it at my own graduation and at all of my children's special days. So there is the ending and here comes the beginning; an idealistic, optimistic young adult unencumbered by cynicsm, trepidation, and hesitation, starts a new life journey with clear eyes and open heart. Sad and happy, ending and beginning, hand in hand.
So here we go my daughter and I; ending together and beginning together. Look out world. here we come!
This has been a very strange day. First of all, I saw my name in a voting booth for the very first time...weird. Then I saw my sons arriving to vote, knowing (hoping) they were voting for me, their mother...crazy. Then I stood/sat at the Polls for most of the day and I have to say, it was a great experience! We sat, Republicans and Democrats alike; incumbents and challengers side by side, seeking shade and company for the long hot day....wow...it can be done. We can be opponents and still laugh, talk, and share stories together. We can hand out our literature side by side, even as we are trying to win voters from each other....more than crazy, more than weird, more like wonderful. Today showed me what I have always believed to be true, people can be kind, respectful, personable even while being ambitious and competitive. Talk about great, talk about wonderful, talk about uplifting....I could go on and on but I'm sure by now you get the idea. This is a wonderful town, full of wonderful people, hoping for a wonderful future.
There will always be winners and losers; you can't have an election or a competition or a game without that being the case. Today, I saw healthy competition, excellent sportsmanship, and mutual respect among the people where I sat. I saw opposing candidates offering each other water, helping distribute materials, and expressing gratitude to those who came out to do their civic duty, never minding who they voted for, just congratulating them on participating in this tremendous opportunity to have a voice in the governing of our town. Today, where I sat, there was nothing ugly, nothing mean, nothing dishonest. Today, Middletown proved that we are all winners when we work together for the common good.
Finally, finally, it is almost here...primary day. May 21st, the day so many of us have been waiting for and working towards...some of us to get elected, others to get out the vote. Some await this day in fear, some in trepidation, some with hope and many with gratitude...the politicking is over...at least for a little while.
It has been a long and active primary season. We have had town meetings, information meetings, candidate meetings, business meetings and a few protests. How truly proud as a town we should be. I am not being sarcastic here, Middletown is a shining example of how our system of government works. Think about it. People are angry, there is great discontent, there are many malcontents, and there's been some bloodshed, figuratively speaking. So, what are we doing about it? We are exercising our rights to freedom of speech, to disemble, to exercise civil disobedience, to protest, and most important of all...to vote. Such activity has happened throughout the history of the world. Our right to independence was built on this foundation. Now I know we haven't had a Boston tea party or a midnight ride through town or anything that dramatic. Still, we are doing just what our predecessors did in 1776, 1812, 1861, 1964, and numerous other times in our history when we as a people knew that changes needed to be made.
It has been said many times during this primary season that Middletown is the laughing stock of Dauphin County, that people are no longer proud of their town or even willing to admit it is their town. Some of us have found ourselves in the position of defending our town in the face of mockery and exasperation. So what? We've had some bad publicity, some crazy incidents, and some strange "doings." Have we sat back and endured the "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune?" Heck no! We have risen up and asked questions, demanded answers, expressed our opinions freely and taken stock of our town in a most productive way. Yes, there has been ugliness- mud slinging, rumor, gossip, nasty comments and hate filled messages. Once again, I say, so what? Do you think the Colonists had nice things to say about the Brits? I doubt it. The confederates and the yankees were notorious for the bloodlust between them. There is always conflict between those who want change and those who resist it. The bottom line though, is that's not a bad thing. Discontent and disagreement cause us to question what we have, what we want, and what we will do to get it. So sure, it's been a bloody primary season in Middletown and no doubt, it will be a bloody campaign season as well but in the end, we the people of Middletown will have voted for what we believe in - maybe it will be for change, maybe not. The voters will decide. And that's exactly the way it's supposed to be.
Is my enemy my opponent? Is my opponent my enemy? Well yes and no, respectively. My enemy definitely opposes me and probably everything about me and I most likely feel the same way about him/her. Does my opponent consider me an enemy or I, him or her? Not necessarily. How did I come up with that conclusion? Well, first of all, this is my opinion and not some universal statement set in stone. On what did I base this opinion? On personal experience of course which is the usual barometer for most of us. However, I wasn't really satisfied with my "feelings" about this so I decided to turn to a more reliable source and see just how close my opinion came to a universally accepted definitions of the words "enemy" and "opponent". The dictionary defines enemy as "Someone actively opposed or hostile, someone who harms or weakens something or someone else". An opponent is defined as "Someone who competes against someone in a contest, game or arguement, a rival or adversary who disagrees with or resists a proposal or practice". What jumps out at me from these two definitions are the differing degrees of anamosity between "enemies' and "opponents". The definition of enemy includes the words, "hostile, harms, and weakens"; the definition of opponent includes the words, "compete, disagree and resist". In my opinion, these words represent a world of differnece. Using these terms as a guideline, I infer that my enemy is actively hostile to me, would like to harm or at the very least weaken me. My opponent, on the other hand, disagrees with me, resists me, and competes with me. I'd prefer an opponent over an enemy any day of the week, wouldn't you? Of course I know that I have both enemies and opponents, we all do, but I don't understand why we must make the latter into the former based solely on disagreement. Clearly, disagreement is at the crux of the matter. Disagreement between enemies however, is animosity based on strong personal feelings about the other person, not solely on the other person's ideas, actions, or points of view. Disagreement between opponents is based solely on the differing ideas, plans, opinions, and actions, not on any personal animosity.
In our current political climate, both on a local and national level, opponents and enemies have become one and the same, giving license to personal attacks, belittling behaviors, expsosure of irrelevant information, and damaging character attacks that have little or nothing to do with the ability, capability, or competency needed to accomplish the job in question. In short, enemies and opponents are both out to win; your enemy will destroy you to get there, your opponent will beat you fair and square. Which do you want to be? Who would you want to face: the enemy who wants to "kill" you or the opponent who will ultimately make you stronger?
Earlier today, I started a blog called "Immediate Gratification". Unfortunately, I inadvertantly posted it before I was done. I never got to the point. The point, my point, was that we often do things that make us satisfied (note, I did not say happy) at the moment and sublimate the decisions that would better serve the future, our future...the big picture. Why do we do this? I'm not sure anyone can answer that because most of what we do is without conscious thought. Rather it is about emotion and self absorption. Let's do what feels good now and not worry about the consequences. I mean, really, isn't it all about how we feel, what we want, and what works best for us....everyone and everything else be damned? , As a society, we seem to have lost our ability to be patient, to sacrifice for the greater good, to weigh and measure how what we want now, what we do now, relates to what we need and want in the future. Recently there was a terrible local story about a young girl who gave birth to a baby in her high school bathroom and tried to drown the child. When that didn't work out, she put the baby in the trash. As ugly a story as that is, it is another form of immediate gratification--albeit an extreme one. This young woman wanted to make everything in her world go back to the way it was....so she got rid of the baby because if there is no baby, there is no price to pay, no consequence to endure just a return to normal life. How, why, what, makes a person so callous? I don't think this young girl was callous....being callous would require a real sense of what has been done, what can not be undone, what has been sacrificed in the interest of self preservation. Very few people think in these terms any more. There are too many people who have sacrificied honesty, integrity, and selflessness on the alter of immediate gratification. Hey, I won't be here 50 years from now, so why should I care? I'm not worried about the next generation, let them fight for their own benefits because I am going to enjoy mine now! Why should I give up anything I enjoy--let the people who come after me fight for their own well being. Why, why, why should I worry about the future when I can have so much satisfaction today? I am not going to comment on any specific issues here other than to say that too many of us would rather preserve what is believed to be an irrevocable right to______ *fill in the blank*, even if it negatively affects others or actually contributes to their suffering or loss. After all, I have the right to be happy, have fun, and enjoy myself...don't I? Yes, yes, and yes...but do we have the right to satisfy ourselves at the expense of others and, by extension, the expense of society as a whole. Oh, I hope not. I hope that some people somewhere and sometime will recognize that being happy all the time, particularly at the expense of others, guarantees no real gratification, happiness, or satisfaction for ourselves or our children--the latter of whom will inherit the earth. It's okay to be happy and joyful and satisfied as long as it's not at the expense of the future....our children, our country, and our world.
We live in a very very busy world...most of us find ourselves running from one thing to another in the course of a day, flopping down with exhaustion in the evening, and then tossing and turning during the night, wondering how we will get eveything all done tomorrow. Some people, of course, have managed to organize, prioritize, reduce stress and smell the roses. I wish I was one of those people! Encountering the rare individual with this amazing ability is comforting, soothing and anxiety provoking because now I am going to stress out about how to be like that!!
Well, since I'm fairly new at this, I am worried that I am going to end up being a Debbie Downer, and keep writing about sad things or lecturing about bad behavior. Honestly I want to write about something upbeat and funny and I promise I will. But....I keep hearing comments, seeing comments, watching "bad behavior" and getting all riled up and then I want to write about it! So here I go.....
As we enter into the heat of the campaign season and get closer to those primary elections, I can not only feel the bad blood, I can actually smell it. Hey, I know it's politics and you gotta do what you gotta do but can't we do it without being mean spirited, vindictive and down right nasty? Obviously eveyone who is running has the same goal - to win...and with that, one hopes, is the desire to win for the right reasons. So, let's give everyone the benefit of the doubt and assume all the candidates have the welfare of the town at heart. It is only natural that the different candidates will have different visions of how to make Middletown a good place to be. And it is only human nature, that we will not all agree on which of these ideas are the best ones. Okay, so that being said, I think it's important that opinions be voiced with respect, that arguements be backed up with thorough knowledge of the issues, and that criticisms be about the policies and ideas put forth by the candidates not about the personal lives of the candidates themselves. It is important that people express their concerns, but really do we have to use pejorative terms to describe people; do we have to make it so personal? Can't we make our point with elequence and dignity instead of slurs and mudslinging. I know we see this everywhere from small towns and cities, to the national stage but that doesn't make it okay. Yes of course there is behavior that requires negative consequences and there are illegal acts that warrent punishment but there is also the very general act of making mistakes, some bigger than others. I'm not saying we shouldn't be informed about mistakes made by politicians, of course we should! But we should also give the voting public some credit for making good decisions based on plain hard facts not innuendo and suspicion. We should all be as informed as possible about any candidate we do or do not vote for but I hope we cast our ballot based on our own good sense and not the rumor mongers and gossip machines. Hate to get all religious on anyone but seems that someone pretty important once said, " Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone".
Boston...oh my sweet and beautiful city. I remember you well....drama lessons every Saturday, Red Sox games every chance I got, my high school prom at Anthony's Pier On, the Swan Boats, the museums, the harbor, the aquariaum and Quincy Market, Boston is a proud, historic, and dynamic city. It's a college town - Boston University, University of Massachusetts, MIT, Emerson College, Northeastern, Boston College, Harvard and Radcliffe.... a city of students. It's a sports city of course - the Sox, Celtics, Bruins and the Pats (even though their stadium is in Foxboro!). It's an historic city - the Old North Church, the Freedom Trail, Fanueil Hall. Let's not forget that it is also a city of culture - the Isabella Gardner Museum, the Kennedy Library, the Boston Pops, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Boston Museum of Science, the Children's Museum - something for every interest and taste. Boston is a city of immigrants - the North End, full of the finest Italian food and products; Chinatown, the lace curtain Irish and the southies. Oh Boston, my Boston - pahk your caa in Haavad Yad and please watch out for the crazy drivas. Get your Dunkin Donuts on every street corner and your fresh seafood, baked beans and Parker House rolls in restaurants that have been around longer than the country itself! And remember, everything is either "wicked" good or "wicked" bad but whichever it is, it is extreme! Boston has the craziest drivers, the most imitated accents, the best fried clams, the most fanatic sports fans, and the toughest "Yankees" (not the baseball team) that you will ever meet. I love my hometown and I know that the beautiful city of my childhood and youth will survive this most heinous act of terrorism and come out stronger, tougher and more resilient than ever. And by the way, I will say this once and only once...Thank you to the New York Yankees for playing "Sweet Caroline" and standing in support of their greatest rivals and most revered challengers in tribute to Boston.