Healing the Divide

It’s no secret that this has been one of the most divisive election cycles in history. Now that the election is over and the results are in, it’s time to start healing the divide. Unfortunately, too many people are continuing with the same divisive words and behavior that got us to where we are today.

I understand that a lot of people are unhappy, hurt, and frightened. That’s been a major theme throughout the campaign season, and it’s not going to magically disappear now that the election is over. We’ve all been there at one time or another to some degree. Those emotions aren’t the problem. They’re all valid and understandable. Besides, everyone is entitled to their own opinions and to feel however they want. The problem comes in with how those feelings and opinions are handled.

It’s easy to lash out in anger, to vow to fight, to call those who are pleased with the president-elect names. It’s easy for those who are happy with who won to gloat and belittle the real and valid emotions and fears of the other side. But what is easy isn’t always the best route. In this case, it will only make things worse.

What needs to happen now is to address the fears people have, to look toward the future and work to make it a wonderful place to be. We have to work together to make this nation the great place we all want it to be. If the divisive rhetoric continues, our nation will only divide itself further. That isn’t good for anyone, and will destroy any progress that’s been made.

The solution is respect and open communication. It is possible to be honest in a diplomatic manner, just as it is possible to listen to those you don’t agree with in a respectful manner. It’s not always easy. Sometimes, it’s the most difficult thing you will ever do. But respect and open communication are the only ways to heal the divide tearing America apart.

We all see problems with the country. We all want it to be a safe place to live and raise families. Yet we don’t all agree on what a great America looks like. Considering we’re all human, we will never be in complete agreement. It isn’t necessary for everyone to share the same opinions, but it is essential for us to be willing to compromise. As we learned when we were children (and The Rolling Stones immortalized in one of their songs), we don’t always get what we want. When you have a nation comprised of many peoples, religions, and nationalities, compromise is the only way to hold it together.

Instead of holding onto your anger or attempting to convince others to come to your way of thinking (whatever that may be), try looking for solutions. Be realistic. We can’t go back in time and elect a different government, but we can let our legislators know what issues are important to us. We can write to them and tell them how we feel about the direction of the country and what we would like to see happen. After all, the president has limited power. Congress will be in charge of making most of the changes people are worried about. The representatives and senators are the ones who represent your interests. Don’t be afraid to let them know what those interests are.

We can be one unified nation. We just have to be willing to work for it. We have to be willing to come together with people whose opinions differ from our own and work with them to achieve the change we all want. America has survived division and presidents a large portion of the population don’t like before. We can do it again if we stop attacking each other and work together.

Monday Matters – Why vote for a candidate you don’t like?

Monday Matters graphic

Presidential election years are always a little wild, taking over the media and everyone’s thoughts and conversations, but the 2016 race has been the most divisive in my lifetime. Hate and anger are coming from both sides of aisle, so to speak. Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives…the label doesn’t really matter. The behavior is the same. Both sides consistently claim the other party’s candidate is a liar, corrupt, can’t be trusted, etc. Neither candidate is popular. The last numbers I saw showed somewhere around a 70% disapproval rating for both major party candidates.

So why are the 70% of people who disapprove of both candidates voting for them? I know the standard claim that if you don’t vote for the one you hate less, the one you hate more will win. But here’s the thing. You’re still voting for someone you can’t stand. Presumably, this is a person you don’t trust and don’t particularly want as president. So why are you helping this awful person get into office?

Contrary to popular opinion, there are other options than the Republican or the Democrat. All fifty states also have the Libertarian on the ballot. Some states have other people on the ballot as well. If you don’t like any of them, there are also candidates you can write in. And if you can’t stand any of the presidential candidates, you always have the option of abstaining from voting for that office. You don’t have to refuse to vote completely. Contrary to the majority of what we’ve seen on the news, there are other races going on in the general election. Local, state, and federal offices are up for election this year, and those candidates need your vote as well. No voter is required to vote for every single office. You can skip any office you can’t in good faith vote for.

At this point, I’m sure a lot of you are having serious doubts about what I’m saying. Not about voting for more than just president, but who your options for president are. It is difficult for a third-party or independent candidate to get elected to such a high position, but it is theoretically possible. All that has to happen is more people vote for that candidate than one of the major party candidates.

With a 70% disapproval rating for the major party candidates, that shouldn’t be a problem. It’s simple math. The majority of Americans don’t like the major party candidates. If those Americans would vote for a candidate they do like, regardless of party affiliation, we could easily have a third-party or independent president.

Let’s think about that for a minute. People have been complaining for years about being stuck in a two-party system. Every time an election rolls around, I hear about how people wish they had an option other than the Republican or the Democrat. Well, you do have another option. If you truly want to break the cycle of the two-party system controlling the country, speak up with your vote. Don’t follow the crowd and vote for a major party candidate you don’t like. Vote for a candidate you believe in, the person you would be proud to call your president.

We, the people of the United States of America, have the power to change things. Yes, it can be scary to vote for a lesser known candidate, but the only way effect change on the government is with your vote. Instead of giving it to someone you don’t trust or don’t like, why not give it someone you think is actually worthy of the job?

Don’t fall into the trap of voting for the lesser of two evils when you can opt to vote for good. Follow your conscience, and vote for the candidate you truly want in office.

Monday Matters – The Truth About Voting

Monday Matters graphic

Let’s be honest. The 2016 presidential election has been a cross between a circus and a train wreck for months. Hearing yet another outrageous statement by Donald Trump is almost a daily occurrence. The various controversies surrounding Hillary Clinton come up almost as often. The media cheerfully regurgitates all of this day after day, keeping the general public stirred up and apprehensive about who will become America’s next president.

Clinton and Trump are the major party candidates, but despite what the media and others would have Americans believe, they are far from the only options. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, will also be on the ballot. Forty-three out of fifty states allow write-in votes. It may take some research to find out who these write-in candidates are, but if you don’t like the three options on the ballot, it might be worth the effort.

I know a lot of you are thinking that writing in a candidate’s name is throwing away your vote or is a non-vote. We’ve all heard it from the candidates, friends, family, and so on. But here’s the thing.

It isn’t true.

If you vote, regardless of who you vote for, you haven’t thrown away your vote. If you vote, your vote counts. It may not be a vote for one of the major political parties, but it is still a vote. Anyone who claims it is a non-vote is wrong.

That brings me to another popular set of lies. So often during election years, and this year in particular, I hear people say, “A vote for a third-party candidate is a vote for (whatever major party candidate the speaker doesn’t like).” Another common one is, “I don’t really like Candidate A, but I’m voting against Candidate B.”

Both of these statements miss the truth about the process of voting. When you cast your ballot, you pick a candidate. It doesn’t matter how popular or well-known that candidate is (or isn’t). You are still voting for that candidate.

Did you catch that? When you vote, you are voting FOR someone. No matter how much you want another candidate to lose, you can’t actually vote against him/her because you actually voting for someone else. Any vote you cast is for one particular candidate. Your vote only counts for that person and no one else. In other words, regardless of who you vote for, it is a vote for that candidate.

So many Americans have complained about being stuck with a two-party political system, yet they continue to believe and spread the misinformation that keeps a two-party system in place. If you truly want more options, they are out there. You don’t have to be constrained by the opinions of others. If you don’t like the Republican or Democratic candidates for a given office, vote for a third party or independent candidate.

No one controls your vote but you. The most responsible thing you can do as a voter is to vote for the candidate you believe is the best person for the job. Don’t let others shame or guilt you into voting for anyone else. Your vote is yours to give to the candidate of your choice, and that vote will count for the person you give it to. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.

Cover Reveal – Covered by E.A. West

I’m happy dancing in my seat right now. I received the final cover art for my upcoming new adult romance, Covered, which means I can share it with you!

The members of The West Corner Readers on Facebook had the privilege of seeing the cover when I received it yesterday. I only mention this, you know, in case you needed another reason to join. 😉

Now, without further ado, the gorgeous cover!

covered_500x750

Book Description

Lacey Daniels wants a normal life where she can go to dinner or the mall without constantly looking over her shoulder. Unfortunately, her abusive father is out of prison and more dangerous than ever. The Hawthorne Guardians, a local motorcycle club that protected her as a child, is her only hope for normalcy. Some of the faces have changed, but the credo is the same: protect the innocent. One Guardian, Ratchet, takes an interest in more than her safety. He wants her heart.

Despite her growing feelings for Ratchet, Lacey can’t escape the threat her father poses. With him free and seeking revenge, she will never be safe. Her only chance for a normal life—and maybe true love—lies with Ratchet, a man who is willing to do whatever it takes to keep her father from hurting her again… even if it means risking his life to save her.

Covered will be released October 13, 2016 by Clean Reads.

Book Review – The Headmistress of Rosemere

The Headmistress of Rosemere cover artTitle: The Headmistress of Rosemere, Whispers on the Moors (Book 2)

Author: Sarah E. Ladd

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Book Description

Patience Creighton has dedicated herself to the Rosemere School for Young Ladies. But the return of the enigmatic master of the estate puts everything she loves at risk.

Bright, sensible Patience knows what is expected of her. At twenty-five, her opportunity for a family of her own has passed, so she invests herself in teaching at her father’s school for girls. When her father dies suddenly and her brother moves away to London, she is determined to make the school successful.

Confirmed bachelor William Sterling also knows what is expected of him, but mistake after mistake has left him teetering on ruin’s edge. As master of Eastmore Hall he owns a great deal of property — including the land where Rosemere School is located — but possesses little money to manage its upkeep. When debtors start calling, he is desperate to find a new source of income, even if it means sacrificing Rosemere.

When a fire threatens the school grounds, William must decide to what lengths he is willing to go to protect his birthright. And when Patience’s brother returns with a new wife to take over management of the school, Patience suddenly finds herself unsure of her calling. After a surprising truth about William’s past is brought to light, both William and Patience will have to seek God’s plans for their lives—and their hearts.

My Review

The Headmistress of Rosemere is a wonderful read for anyone who enjoys historical romance. Set in Regency England, the story presents two vastly different characters whose lives are falling apart to some degree. Patience Creighton is the acting headmistress at a girls’ school called Rosemere. Since her father’s death and her brother’s departure, she has been in charge of the school. She has also struggled to bring her mother out of the melancholy she descended into after her husband’s death. The pressure of running the school, caring for twenty-nine students, and her inability to help her mother weighs heavily on Patience. She wants to seek God’s help, but she finds it next to impossible to pray when she feels as though He is no longer listening.

William Sterling, a titled gentleman who leases Rosemere to the Creighton family, has his own problems. Thanks to impulsive decisions and a bad habit of gambling, he’s broke. He’s also in debt to a man who has no problem sending his henchmen to rough William up as a reminder to pay his debts. After years of struggling, William wants to rebuild his estate and his reputation. It’s not as easy as it sounds, especially since he can’t seem to find the path he should follow in life.

Through a series of unfortunate events, Patience and William speak several times. Despite attempts by both parties to quell the attraction between them, it continues to grow. They can’t give in to it, however. For one thing, it wouldn’t be proper. For another, they are each dealing with so much on their own that they don’t have the time or strength for romance. Yet that doesn’t stop the budding relationship from taking hold. Circumstances, however, have the potential to destroy their relationship before it fully takes form.

The element of faith is woven into this Christian romance so seamlessly that it is a natural part of the story. Both Patience and William have realistic struggles that any reader can relate to. The historical details are beautifully described. The role of women in Regency England is shown through Patience’s struggles to stay in her place and remember that no matter how capable she may be, it is still a man’s world. Overall, this is one of the most intriguing historical romances I’ve read, and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves Regency-era romances.

Disclaimer

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My review is based solely on the contents of the book and my experience reading it.

When deep thoughts refuse to be ignored…

I spend a lot of time thinking. It’s one of the hazards of being an author. Sometimes my thoughts lead to a new story idea or solve a problem, but sometimes they show me a problem I hadn’t previously noticed or paid attention to.

Today is one of those days where my deep thoughts refuse to be ignored, so I thought I’d share them with you.🙂

Rio 2016 Paralympic Games logo

The Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, started yesterday with the opening ceremony. During the Olympic Games a few weeks ago, I got excited because there was talk of greater coverage for the Paralympics. I’ve spent the last few weeks waiting with great anticipation for the start of the games because I was under the impression they would be widely viewable on television. Yesterday, I found out just how wrong I was.

NBC hold the broadcast rights for the Paralympics. That means they’re the only ones who can legally show the events in the United States. Normally this wouldn’t be much of an issue, but for those of us without cable, that means only one channel will be able to air the Paralympic events. After seeing the schedule, I am seriously disappointed with NBC. That one channel I get will show precisely two events on the last day of the Games. They say that they’re giving the Paralympics 70 hours of coverage. That’s seventy hours in a twelve-day period. After the almost constant coverage for the Olympic Games, a measly seventy hours (almost exclusively on one premium channel) is disgusting.

My local news has yet to mention the Paralympic Games. I totally expected to see a brief mention of the opening ceremony on last night’s newscast, but the closest they came was mentioning the punishment swimmer Ryan Lochte received for lying about getting robbed at gunpoint in Rio.

And this is where my deep thoughts begin.

The disabled population is largely ignored in the United States, unless they can be used to raise money for something. Do you know that the most disabled people I’ve seen on television are in commercials for various organizations trying to get donations? And most of those are for veterans. There are a lot more disabled people who never served in the military, and all people with disabilities, regardless of what caused the disability, deserve treatment equal to the able-bodied population.

Yet, the lack of attention for the Paralympic Games is indicative of how American society views the disabled population. There are world-class athletes competing in the same venues swarmed with media mere weeks ago who are being completely ignored. The only difference I see is that a few weeks ago the athletes were all able-bodied. This time, each athlete has a disability of some form. They trained and worked just as hard (if not harder) to get to Rio as their able-bodied counterparts, but from a media standpoint, they might as well not exist.

Take a look at television and movies. How many people with disabilities do you see? People talk a lot about the need for diversity in media, yet even a majority of those discussions revolve around skin color and sexual orientation. What about those with disabilities? Are they not part of society as much as anyone else?

If we truly want equality for all and to see true diversity, we need to stop ignoring people with disabilities. We need to stop hiding them in the shadows and treating them as second-class citizens. Nothing would make me happier than to see a person in a wheelchair or on crutches play a lead role in a TV series. Or to have a blind person or someone who is hearing impaired be the protagonist of a movie. Or just to have athletes with disabilities receive the attention they deserve for making it to the Paralympics.

This country has a lot of problems, and as long as we continue to pretend an entire segment doesn’t matter, the claims of equality will fall flat.

~~

If you’re in the United States and you want to view live streaming of Paralympic events, you can do so at TeamUSA.org.

~~

Join The West Corner Readers on Facebook to chat about books, everyday life, and more.

Who wants to chat?

I’m so excited! I’ve finally carried through with an idea I had a few months ago. As of today, I have my very own discussion group on Facebook!

OwlCoverPhoto

What does that mean, exactly? Let me share the group’s description, since it sums things up pretty well:

Welcome! The West Corner Readers is the official chat group for author E.A. West. If you want to get the latest news first, see new covers before anyone else, have exclusive access to the author, and more, this is the place to be.

This is a place where I can hang out with readers, make connections, and we can all get to know each other. As you can see from the description, it’s also the place to find out my latest writing news before anyone else. So if you love getting the inside scoop before it hits the general public, you’ll want to join The West Corner Readers. If you’ve always wanted to chat with an author, but you’re not sure how to do it, I’ll be in this group ready to chat away. I would love to have you come join the conversation!

Joining is simple. Log in to your Facebook account, visit this link, and click the button labeled “Join Group”. I’ll have you approved in no time.🙂

If you know anyone who would be interested in joining this author’s little group, please share away! The more the merrier, I always say.🙂