Dee's Blog
Wed 11/12/2014
Sexual Assaults on Campuses
Mood:  irritated
Topic: Power

I'm horrified at the extent of sexual violence on campuses that's coming to light.  Grateful that President O'Bama has organized a task force to work on the problems, calling campuses into accountability.

Certainly the way campuses wink at the underage drinking is a big contributing factor.  The other, for which there is not excuse, is the crazy thinking of male students.  Look at these facts, and tell me what we have to do to get through to these 43%. 

 What's the risk?

• 19 percent of undergraduate women report experiencing attempted or completed sexual assault, and about 13 percent of women are stalked during each academic year.

• 95 percent of sexual attacks go unreported to law enforcement; crisis hotlines receive 10 times more reports of rape than police do.

• 43 percent of college-aged men surveyed said they have used coercive behavior, including ignoring a woman’s protests and using physical aggression, to have sex but did not see those actions as rape.

• 40 percent of rape survivors contract sexually transmitted diseases as a result of the attack, and 80 percent suffer chronic physical or psychological problems over time. Many rape survivors in college withdraw from classes.

• Rape survivors are 13 times more likely to attempt suicide than people who have never been raped.

Source: American Association of University Women


Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 9:24 PM CST
Mon 07/29/2013
History DOES repeat itself!
Topic: Power

Three weeks ago,  I gave you the first hints about my new writing project and promised to get back soon.  I didn't forget.

In my research, I find more and more evidence of the raw revenge that was so present in the Civil War, on both sides.  Following the history of the abolitionist movement, of course, is essential in studying the complicated conflict in it's entirety.

What started out for the North as a set of good, solid principles on the part of well-intended abolitionists was picked up by those who believed that violence was the only way to obtaining justice. (John Brown is the foremost example.)

The extremists on both sides believed this and quickly got the full attention of everyone in the country.  That put a serious hiatus on the efforts of people who wanted to negotiate.  That's what frustrated Lincoln to the hilt.

Ever heard about compensated emancipation?  It was a plan that Lincoln tried to implement, but nobody wanted to listen.  It would have ended up costing the nation less than the War inevitably cost in dollars and cents.  Of course, it would have saved many, many lives, too.  For, if the plan had been well-received, by either the South or the border state of Missouri, then the War would have ended at least two years earlier than it did!

It was in Missouri that Lincoln held the highest hope for this plan that had first been proposed, years before the War began by Elihu Bruitt.  Lincoln thought this was the place that would successfully receive it.  He thought he could use Missouri as an example for the secessionist states.  Was he ever wrong!  Missouri legislators would not even answer Lincoln's letter of request on the matter!!

 No matter what we do as activists or advocates, for any cause, may we seek the avoid the trap that so many fall into today--using violence and unethical means to accomplish the end result immediately.  Not realizing how many more lives may be destroyed with such a strategy.  Or how long it will take to really obtain justice, once "peace" is initially obtained.   This is exactly what war does. 

 We haven't yet learned all of our lessons from the Civil War. History does repeat itself.  Extremists are needed for sure. They always are to make social change.  The challenge is to be an extremist who acts ethically, with wisdom and a degree of realistic expectations.

Stay tuned.  There's a LOT more to come!

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 10:25 AM CDT
Mon 02/11/2013
Time Out!
Topic: Power

When I complained to some in my family about the skewed sports coverage in our local paper and how it's really a complex, cultural issue, my son James said:  "Mom, you need to send a letter to the editor." 

I did!  It was published Saturday.

This is actually a matter close to James' heart, as well as mine and his father's.  Our son grew up building cultural bridges in our back yard for years.  That space served many purposes, including a soccer field where grass seldom dared to grow. 

Sadly, the girls didn't come to play much.  They couldn't, though not because they weren't welcome.  Our daughter, Renita, spent many lonely hours waiting for her friends to find a few minutes away from their household chores and childcare.  Most of the time she had to venture out to build bridges in her friends' homes, joining them, sometimes visiting with them while they did some task that was very culturally specific, where she might not have been so comfortable. 

Renita is the mother of three boys who tend to love music and drama more than sports.  Our two teenage grandsons are as comfortable in cross-cultural activities as either of our children are. In fact, our granddaughters (James is their Dad) are, as well.

Today, James chooses to be an elementary girls' soccer coach.  Partly for his girls, perhaps also unconsciously because he saw the inequities that were far, far greater in Malawi.  He and the other coaches do not encourage competitiveness so much as skill development.  They don't even keep score in the early years! 

 As they get older, the girls are sure to notice the inequities, though.  How could anyone miss how our media today seems to be the "dog" wagged by the "tail" of public opinion?  How can any thinking person fail to see how much more money is poured into boys' athletics than girls'?  How can this be justified? 

I hope my granddaughters will both become strong and able to take stands for the gender inequity, which so many of the men and far too many women don't even seem to notice.

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 4:02 PM CST
Updated: Tue 02/19/2013 3:11 PM CST
Fri 01/18/2013
Excuses, Excuses!
Topic: Power

"I didn't invent the culture, and I didn't try to stop the culture."  Out of all the ridiculous attempts to "apologize" for his sociopathic behavior, this is my favorite quote so far from Lance Armstrong's "tell all" interview with Oprah.

Of course, he's not telling all.  It's obvious.  As one commentator says, he's learning to tell the truth in this process.  Not sure how much he's learning, frankly.  Yet you and I can learn a LOT about collusion with evil from his comments.

Perpetrators and colluders both try to excuse themselves through rationalization.  Blaming the culture--whether it's the national culture or a sub-culture, such as a professional community or, in Lance's illustration, the racing community--is just one form of rationalization. 

It's what we all do when we fail to stand up against evil or just blatantly give into the thinking of the day that allows us to join other perpetrators like this guy that so many saw as an honest hero.

Just a few days ago, I asked a pertinent set of questions.  One was:  "Can we be both a loser and a winner at the same time?"  Lance Armstrong clearly shows that he could have been, if indeed there was no way to win without doping.  There are more important ways to be a winner than winning a race!  Sadly, he isn't a winner in any way.  Unless, of course, the race is about messing up other people's lives.  In that, he's got lots of company, though he may rank close to the top of this list of "(s)winners."

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 10:11 AM CST
Updated: Wed 01/23/2013 6:06 PM CST
Sat 01/05/2013
The Power of Humor
Topic: Power

My father's family left me with a sense of humor that has served me quite well in the lowest points of my life.  Not that I always access it when I need it.  I wish I had the gift of Dad's generation to laugh and cry almost simultaneously.  Mine is very weak, compared to my uncle's sense of humor.  Uncle Jack is the only one of that generation left. 

How I'd love to interject more of it into my writing, allowing other to laugh at the absurdity of things like denial. 

Last week, I ran across another writer who does exactly that.  Chances are she's making a good living at it, too, since she not only writes but shares her humor as a speaker. 

Rather than spend years in analysis, Loretta LaRoche says she uses humor "to break through the irrational thoughts" that come from what others have implanted in her mind. 

In her book Relax--you may only have a few minutes left, she suggests we pretend that we are driving a bus, with our parents, teachers, coaches, bosses, ministers and all those people who have filled us with irrational thoughts just filling up the seats of the bus.  The driver can take them wherever she wants to, with they as captive audience. 

Try it!  And split your sides laughing as you do!

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 8:22 PM CST
Sat 02/25/2012
The Desire of Evil
Topic: Power

A few weeks ago, my grandson was sitting across the table from me.  It was just the two of us.  The conversation was at a lull, as often is the case between adults and 12-year-olds.  My eyes drifted to the book he'd laid aside while attending to his chicken nuggets.

"Is this a good book?"  I asked. 

 He assured me that it certainly was, then began to share the plot about an aspiring dragon who was having to disguise herself as a boy in order to proceed in her quest for power. 

 "Sounds like a book about girl power," I said.

"No it isn't," he assured me, as if he wouldn't be caught dead reading a book about 'girl power.'"  He allowed me to look at the summary on the back cover.

"Yep," I nodded.  "Definitely about girl power.  Is it any good?"  His response was affirmative.

"Sounds like something I need to read," I said, reaching for a pen to write down the title.  "Eon:  Dragoneye Reborn," I wrote.  "I'll find it and get back to you when I've read it, too"

Back home, I discovered the library had a waiting list.  So I elected to listen to it on CD.  Wow!  What a mind-boggling book.  It's been "sanitized" somewhat for younger minds--good thing, considering the violence that even includes a metaphorical rape that I'm thinking most young minds would not quite grasp. It's the kind of book that I could probably revisit a dozen times and still not have all the gems it offers. In fact, I'm going to recommend that my grandson go back to it again in about five years.     And maybe again in another few years when he possibly contemplates marriage and/or entering the business world.

The greatest idea that I gained from the book didn't come from the author's words.  Her words sparked my thinking to generate a profound spiritual principle that about jolted me out of my shoes!  Here it is in my own words:


Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 1:42 PM CST
Sat 02/18/2012
Is it a Personnel or Public Problem?
Topic: Power

There's a front page debate going on here in Lawrence, KS right now.  Two unidentified policemen are being investigated for fixing tickets in exchange for tickets to sporting events. 

 Very interesting because the people whose tickets were fixed have been convicted.  Seems no doubt, therefore, that a crime was committed.  

Yet the Police Dept. considers this a "personnel" matter that allows them to protect the identity of the professionals under investigation.

 It raises the question, once again, as to how we can justify protecting people who have a fiduciary duty to not mis-use their power for their own good.

If you've studied this site on collusion ( , I think you know what I think.  What about you?

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 10:02 AM CST
Updated: Mon 11/19/2012 10:38 AM CST
Fri 01/27/2012
Evoking a Powerful Theology
Topic: Power

Do you ever hesitate to share something good with others you may know for fear of their theological interpretation?  Or maybe it's something really bad?

Amazing how the good always gets attributed to "God was watching out for you."  While the bad may bring comments like "You must have done something that took you out of God's graces."

Such theological interpretations serve as a hot stove to me.  I become much more careful what I say, in the same way that I move cautiously around a hot stove.

Oh, that these comments and ideas could be replaced with a powerfully simple:  "That's great!"  or "That's just not fair."

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 6:28 PM CST
Mon 01/23/2012
The Power of Much Experience
Topic: Power

When I hold the hand of a child who is looking up at me in trust, I am in awe.  My awe mirrors that child's awe.  I am in awe that he trusts me.  She may be in awe at how anyone so wrinkled and grey could still be alive!

Very few young people keep a sense of awe when it comes to their elders.  That requires maturity that usually takes many years to develop.  Western culture values youth and book learning more than it values age and experience.

Even worse to me, all cultures seem not to trust nor to listen well to young people who have experience beyond their years, due to the traumas of neglect or abuse.  These kids are hard to trust, to be sure, when their behavior masks the truths that their stories tell.  If we, as elders, can find ways to see beyond the behavior long enough to gain from what they have to say, then we certainly speed along the process of maturity that allows them to listen again with awe.

Neither those of us who are old from both years and  experience nor the youth who do not have the years, but are "rich" in experience hold in our hands absolute truth.  What we can have in common, if we dare, is a willingness to challenge the current short-sightedness that can exist in both the young and the old--especially when it comes to institutional short-sightedness. 

Oh, that we may all grow in the skill of listening and considering what new truths we can learn in that process!!

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 11:07 AM CST
Updated: Tue 01/24/2012 3:48 PM CST
Fri 01/20/2012
A "Good Man" Is Hard to Find
Topic: Power

Last night's debate left more questions than answers about the men trying to become the Republican candidate for Presidency this year. 

It reminded me of a story that Ben Franklin once wrote in the Pennsylvania Gazette, of which he was founder and editor.  It was written in response to his difficulty, as an editor growing in power, with trying to please everyone at the same time:

Two grown men--father and son--were travelling with a donkey.  At first, the older man was riding the donkey while the son walked.  People they met began to criticize the old man for making his son walk while he rode in ease.  So he got off and let his son ride.

The next people they met criticized the son for mistreating his father.  The son shrugged and deferred to the father, who suggested they both ride the donkey.

The next people they met accused the two of abusing the donkey with too heavy a load.  So they both got off, took the rope in hand, and let the donkey walk alongside them. 

At that point, the next travellers they met made fun of the two guys for being stupid enough to not put the donkey to practical use at all.  So the father's solution was to suggest that the two of them throw the donkey off the next bridge to be done with the criticism! 

Of course, I've shared this story with you today as a piece of comic relief.  It doesn't exactly fit the current political debates, I guess.

It's impossible to please all of the people all of the time, as Lincoln later declared.  Yet isn't it important, in real life, to expect integrity of a President?  I think so--especially when it comes to the basic expectations of how a man treats his wife/wives or one's willingness to be transparent with tax returns.

I hear the "Oh, but nobody is perfect" phrase again.  Give me a break!!  Are we saying "Nobody is honest and that nobody can be expected to stay with spouses who have just learned that they have serious, life-threatening illnesses (as was the case in both Newt's marraiges!)   You can probably give me scores of examples to refute this.  Put my own husband on the list!  Political stands aside, I'm seriously concerned with that line of "reasoning."

What's more:  These guys aren't even Donkeys.  They're Elephants!!  Look out for the Elephants!!!!



Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 8:10 AM CST

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