A Reminder! An Important Four-Letter Word … VOTE
Tomorrow’s Election Day, and our thoughts about the importance and challenges of voting haven’t changed since last year (see below) – although the stakes may have gone up. (Think Roe v. Wade and how the Supreme Court has sent it back to the states.) Black wishes more states offered referendums so we could vote on specific issues instead of trying to find the candidate that most closely represents our positions and then actually stays true to their word. Which, unfortunately, makes voting much harder than it needs to be …
So many people have fought for the right to vote, yet so many don't even bother to vote.
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Like many of us, Red can come up with a whole list of reasons why she didn't plan to vote this Election Day, but what she thought was a sarcastic comment from Black would point out the challenge of balancing philosophical beliefs with reality.
Red, being that former straight-A student, remembers the first time she voted and how she felt it was her civic responsibility, but that she'd never just vote by party line (for her, it was never that simple, especially not these days). That each vote needs to be a conscious one. But that takes lots of "homework", so unless it's a presidential or gubernatorial election, she tends to sit out most of them. Which she felt was just fine, until Black pointed out,
The prior few presidential elections aside, I could argue that non-presidential elections have a far greater impact on our lives. Because state and local issues, such as school board elections and amendments to state constitutions, can make a huge difference to your daily lives.
Now, Red thought, there's an understatement. Especially in the state of Texas. But even on a local level, as Red had recently found out that one trustee on her local school board has created such a huge uproar that all the other trustees called for her resignation. When she first heard the news, she couldn't quite believe the accusations, except most of them were officially "on record", but then, as a parent, Red was appalled that such a person was sitting, of all things, on a school board. But until Black's comments, she didn't connect the dots between that and her responsibility as a voter (not to mention a parent) to take future school board elections more seriously.
Of course, Red still feels an obligation to research the candidates and learn not only what they claim to believe and intend to do, but to try to have a better understanding of who they really are. Which given the times we live in, and the power of social media to spread misinformation, is more challenging than ever. And when she asked Black what to do, she heard a familiar analogy, but with a different spin,
You can eat an elephant (and I am not referring to the GOP/Republicans) just not all at once. Same holds true in terms of the candidates and issues. Review the ones you feel strongly about and then vote. Remember, you are not required to vote the entire ballot.
Well, Red realized that although she hadn't prepared to vote, ironically, it was her desire to make the right choices that led her to make no choices. Now, she realized it was not only her civic responsibility to vote but something that was truly important. For her, her family, her community.
Any Idea What The Ides Of March Is? Or Why You Should "Beware"?
Beware the Ides of March! That sounds scary. But what is it? And is it a myth or the truth? Red knew it had to with (Julius) Caesar, and the mere mention of “Caesar” made Black question if we were talking about a General, a politician, or a salad. But it does reveal the power of storytelling, and how a good story can last not only decades, but centuries!
Is "The Ides of March" the day Julius Caesar was assassinated, a famous Shakespearean quote, or a George Clooney movie?
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: The answer is "all three" but we'll completely understand if "The Ides of March" means nothing to you, or if you think it sounds familiar but you're not quite sure why.
Well, Black knew nothing about the Ides of March, but when she found it had to do with history and movies, deferred to Red. Interestingly, even Red, the straight-A student who loved history, wasn't completely sure of the origin of the Ides of March. However, being a theater major, she knew "Beware the Ides of March" was one of William Shakespeare's most famous phrases. And even then, although she could tell you that those immortal words were spoken to Julius Caesar by a fortune-teller, she couldn't tell you exactly what they meant other than it was a warning that something dire was going to happen. (For those not familiar with the play or ancient history, dire's an understatement as on March 15, 44 B.C. the Roman general and statesman, Julius Caesar, was brutally stabbed to death in the Roman Senate house by a large group of his opposition.)
Those facts alone make for fascinating theater, and Shakespeare was an unparalleled playwright and could tell a story better than most, which explains why his work has stood the test of time. (Not to mention, many of his stories have been "borrowed" as the basis of new stories.) But it took Red doing a little more digging to learn that the term dates back to the ancient Roman calendar, where they used certain phrases to reference dates in relation to lunar phases. Ides, quite simply, just referred to the first full moon of a given month, which usually fell between the 13th and 15th.
But when it comes to the 2011 movie " The Ides of March" with George Clooney (who also directed, produced, and was one of the screenwriters), Red didn't have to do any homework. And although it's about a rising presidential candidate (played by Clooney) and an idealistic campaign staffer (played by Ryan Gosling), it's about dirty politics and figurative backstabbing. So, if you know your history, you can easily draw parallels to the death of Caesar.
It’s easy to think that Girl Scouts are only about the cookies. But in celebration of tomorrow being National Girl Scout Day, take a moment to remember that they’re about so much more – as the organization was founded with the goal of building confidence, courage, and character. And we strongly support them as we believe girls can do anything!
Of course, you can help support your Girl Scouts by buying cookies, as long as you don’t want the new Raspberry Rally, as they’re already sold out!
Let's play word association. If we say, "Girl Scouts," what's the first word that comes to mind? Ok, what's the second word?
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: When Juliette "Daisy" Gordon Low organized the first Girl Scout meeting – hoping to create an organization that redefined what was possible for girls everywhere – there was no way for her to know the difference it would make in the lives of millions of girls and their communities.
Many people's first (and sometimes only) image of Girl Scouts is as cookie salespeople – either selling door-to-door or at a make-shift table at a grocery or other store (or having their parents hand you an order form). But if you've been a Girl Scout (both of us have) or know someone who has, you know that Girl Scouts are about so much more.
So, as we celebrate the Girls Scouts being around for over 100 years, we should celebrate the years of fun and friendships, and for helping girls learn important qualities such as responsibility, courage, strength, and independence. Qualities that are as important in 2021 as they were in 1912.
And what better way to celebrate than to buy some Girl Scout cookies? Guilt-free as you're helping a good cause.
Women ... Start Breaking Things Today!
This year’s International Women’s Day theme is #EmbraceEquity, and although it may sound like a catchy phrase, it’s more than just talk (which Red loves to do) – it’s about taking action (definitely Black’s strong suit). It’s about the power of women to drive change (pun intended, as we’ve seen the effect Black’s racing Ferraris has had on girls). So, since March is Women’s History Month, spend some time learning about and celebrating women’s accomplishments, including these female trailblazers who changed American education.
And even though we talked about breaking the bias last year (see below), we think it bears repeating and rereading …
Pointing out bias may seem negative, but it can lead to positive change.
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Red, as a lover of history, likes that March is Women’s History Month and she’s inspired by all the stories of women’s accomplishments; but Black prefers International Women’s Day, with its emphasis not only on raising awareness but looking toward the future and making positive change.
Red will admit that she first learned about International Women’s Day last year and that the 2021 theme, “Women in Leadership,” made her think about women and leadership skills differently. As did Black’s insight based on her years in corporate management, especially as it was in the oil and gas industry, a field notoriously run by the “good ole’ boys” (or, at least, it was back then).
But when Red learned that this year’s theme is #BreakTheBias, she, well, had to laugh because if there was anyone that seemed not only to break biases, but to approach it as a challenge, almost defying the opposition, it would be her sister,
Black’s always had a strong personality and gone after what she wants. Whether being one of the few women in business school back in the 70s, excelling in a male-dominated industry, or racing Ferraris. But much to my amusement, I had to point out to her that she’s a role model for not only her nieces but many other girls, proving they can do anything. And I’m guessing along the way, she changed many people’s (male and female) preconceived notions of what a woman can do.
Black quickly points out that the first step to overcoming biases or prejudices is to recognize we all have them. That’s why International Women’s Day’s so important – by celebrating women’s achievements, we’re also helping to identify, and hopefully, overcome biases. But sometimes, those biases are where you least expect them,
Besides there being a fascinating phenomenon (well, I find it fascinating) known as “confirmation bias,” I have seen where a bias can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Red, a straight-A student with a degree from a prestigious university, was convinced that she could not “do” personal finance. Which, unfortunately, is a stereotype that many people have about women. Red was not only her own worst enemy but, by “accepting” the misconception, perpetuated it. Until I forced her to face the truth, anyone can “do” personal finance.
So, as we celebrate International Women’s Day, and strive toward women’s equality, maybe we should each identify one bias we think needs breaking and work toward that end goal – either on our own or by joining together with others. Because if we look at today as the start of the process, imagine what we can accomplish