READING BETWEEN THE PINES

If life's about the journey, does it matter how many bathroom breaks you take along the way?

Who am I to Paul Ryan? No one and everyone.

I’m a forty-two year old suburban mom who knew Paul in college. I’m also a registered Democrat who has voted for both parties over the last twenty-four years. I live in Colorado, a state that offers electoral votes crucial to the outcome of this year’s presidential race. I’m a bleeding heart who lives in a gated community. I’m self-sufficient, yet I feel a responsibility to help others who are in need. As a voter, I’m a pretty interesting mix, difficult to label and hard to define. In my experience, most women are, and from what I understand, our demographic will be a deciding factor in November.

Who is Paul Ryan to me? Someone to watch.

As a U.S. citizen, I’m troubled by the precarious spot our nation occupies on an international chessboard of pieces in constant flux. I don’t support finger-pointing and placing blame for an economy that was weakened by both parties as much as free will. I’m concerned about the future of my children. I dislike negative politics and am frustrated by the inability of our bipartisan House and Senate to find common ground. I’m an optimist who believes tomorrow will be a brighter day, but I see real storm clouds in my direct line of sight. I want our country to move forward, and I’m worried about falling behind.

I’m a daughter, a sister, a mother, and a friend. I vote with my head and I vote with my heart. I read. I listen. I debate. I decide. I’m a potential liability and asset to both campaigns.

Three generations of women who don’t always vote the same way. Image via Stacie Chadwick

And with Mitt Romney’s introduction of Paul Ryan as his running mate, I’m now engaged in this race in a way that I hadn’t been before. Maybe it’s the deepening differences I see in the platforms of the two opposing parties. Better yet, a curiosity around the potential impact of a clear, if not controversial voice. Perhaps it’s due simply to the fact that I know Paul. More likely, it’s my hope that he’ll take the time to reacquaint himself with me, and by that I mean millions of women like me who will vote in the upcoming election.

I also consider Paul to be a friend. Am I jumping on the bandwagon headed straight from Janesville, WI to a national stage? Probably. Although I’ve followed his career, I haven’t spoken with Paul in over twenty years. But something about his addition to the shape of our legislative landscape piques my interest. Regardless of political beliefs, I’m proud that we graduated in the same class at Miami, watched votes together in the Senate gallery when we interned in D.C., and hung out on campus. I’m betting on an accurate memory of the person he was when we were college kids masquerading as adults, and a time-honored belief that as individuals, we don’t really change. In the heat of battle, we often forget the people behind the politics. I knew him as a smart, ambitious, honest guy with Midwestern values and a focused vision. I’m sure he still is. And now? He’s running for Vice President of the United States of America. When I tell my children that they can be anyone they want to be, I can now point to someone I know who is.

Children masquerading as adults. Image via Stacie Chadwick.

So surrounded by a cacophony of shrieks and giggles sung by kids who are stealing the last ounce out of summer on their way back to school, enough dirty laundry to fill a semi, and a stack of bills, I’m doing what I said I never would. I’m flipping my position and writing about politics. I’m offering unsolicited advice to someone who pays people to advise him. I do this because I’m a woman and a friend. It’s my nature. Humor me.

***

Dear Paul,

Mitt Romney’s misspoken reference to you as “the next president of the United States” plays directly into what should be the underlying backbone of your political strategy. Run with a broader vision than the role of Vice President and set your own course.

Show us how you simultaneously lower government spending and make a real commitment to education and job creation. As mothers, we have children who are high school dropouts and can’t support themselves, and post-college boomerang kids who are underemployed. We understand that there’s a real chance their generation will reach a ceiling constructed at a lower height and of lesser materials than ours, buttressed by flawed trusses and support beams. Show us a concrete plan to correct a system that’s broken and produces students who continue to slide behind other countries in core curriculum, is rooted in the industrial age, and pays teachers much less than what they’re worth.

Addressing the economy is a given, so consider looking at it from our point of view. As mothers and wives, we’re often the emotional backbone as well as a financial anchor for our families. What we earn in a paycheck we give back in time spent away from our children. Dig deeper than budget cuts and tax reform in addressing our role in this issue, and show your sensitivity to our increasingly complex jobs.

The Wall Street Journal has championed your cause for years, but the majority of its readership is already part of your base. Embrace media outlets that will challenge your voice, but give you a long runway. With your intelligence and passion, a successful one-on-one with someone like Katie Couric could be a brilliant move, made more so by the failure of your predecessor’s endeavor.

Show us how you privatize Medicare without decimating it. We’re the daughters of aging parents and the mothers of children with disabilities, and often serve as emotional and physical lifelines to three generations of our family. We’re taxed and we’re tired, and yes, a little scared.

Disclose your tax statements. Immediately.

Follow your heart. The ugly side of bipartisanship is based on a world painted in black and white, when most of reality exists in various shades of gray.

Channel Alex Trebek and brush up on foreign affairs. You already know that Syria is further away from Wisconsin than Russia is from Alaska, so silence the naysayers.

Dial down the camo and the ammo. There’s a large group of undecided female voters who will roll their SUVs to save one of the thousands of overpopulated jackrabbits darting in front of their truck as they race off to the grocery store to figure out what’s for dinner.

Give us a small glimpse of the family behind the photo op. To the extent it’s not invasive, let us see the side of your life that we live every day…dropping the kids off at school after the tardy bell rings and staying up late to watch the Olympics as laughter turns to tired tears. We’ll relate to the emotions behind the smiles on your annual holiday card because we know how many tries it takes to get the perfect picture.

My family had to climb a fourteener, build a guard rail, and go without water for three days to get this pic. OK, not really, but it felt like it. Image via Stacie Chadwick.

You’re a well-versed, physical, engaging public speaker: use your open hand gesture and tone down the finger pointing. The first makes us feel included and the second one doesn’t.

You’re an athlete, you vacation in Colorado, and you love the outdoors. It might be a good idea to take a well-documented run through our great state. There are a lot of thirty to fifty year-old female voters who are athletes, live in Colorado, and love the outdoors.

Act like both a CEO and a salesman. Use your gut to champion causes and finesse to drive them home. Women follow people we trust and hire people we like.

Translate the budget deficit into a language we understand: a realistic picture of how the current trajectory will impact our children and our grandchildren’s lives is much more meaningful than rhetoric.

You’re at the heart of our demographic, and your youthful enthusiasm is appealing. Don’t run away from your age.

As women and constituents, we’re straight, gay, wealthy, and poor. We’re married, divorced, widowed, and single. We’re CFOs of corporations and Treasurers of the family budget. We’ve started businesses that have flourished and others that have failed. We’ve decimated our savings accounts and we’ve cut our discretionary spending to build them back up. We’ve sacrificed for our families and feel a twinge of guilt whenever we take time for ourselves. We’re smart, dedicated, and we care about the future of our country. We’re uneasy about the prospect of war but are passionately committed to taking care of our soldiers. We’re healers who want to leave the world a better place for our children than the one we gave them, and we’re not sure that we can.

We vote with our heads, and we vote with our hearts. Understanding the significance of that phrase is the key to your success in our demographic. Your introduction to this race has attracted our attention. My best unsolicited advice? Find a way to keep it.

Regards,

Stacie Whitten Chadwick

No matter where you go, your friends will always have your back. Image via Stacie Chadwick.

As always, please feel free to leave a comment. My only request is that you refrain from personal attacks and inflammatory statements. Due to the polarizing nature of the subject matter, this is my first and last foray into politics. I think.

136 thoughts on “I Said I’d Never Write About Politics, But I Know Paul Ryan and I’ve Got Some Advice.

  1. El Guapo says:

    Great letter, and I think your points to dial down the camo and ammo and focus more on substance are great ideas for all candidates.

    1. El Guapo,
      You were the first person to comment on this post, so thank you! Sorry it’s taken awhile to respond…my foray into politics made for an interesting day. I think you’re right, this letter could be written in a broader sense. Thank you for seeing past the politics. I want what’s best for our country, regardless of who wins the race.

      Just curious, what would you like to see come out of this race?

      Stacie

      1. El Guapo says:

        I’d like to see there be more openness and less rancor in the nomination and election process.
        I’d like the candidates to actually sit down and discuss the issues and what their solutions mean with less rhetoric.
        One of the foundations of our political system is compromise (with our two party system, very little is possible without it), but we seem to be polarized between extremes.
        Barring that, just a bit more civility.

        And the abolition of the soundbite.

      2. These are all great thoughts. The black and white element of politics today troubles me too. I’ve never been a fan of labels (not even on shirts) and it seems like it’s getting harder and harder to be be both a politician and an individual.

  2. Susan Lanam says:

    Brilliant! Please forward to my mother! I told her to publish your insight on the front page this week!! Love your thinking girlfriend! WOW! You and your special gift!!

    Sent from my iPhone

    1. Susan,
      Thanks for looking at this from a woman’s perspective and for all of your support. You are truly a beautiful person and I’m blown away by all of the kind, thoughtful gifts. I forwarded this as requested. Looking forward to seeing you soon. =)
      Stacie

  3. Barry says:

    As always, Stacie, well done. I’ll encourage others to read this, and hope Ryan will take your advice.

    1. Thanks for leaving such a supportive comment, Barry. You always get what I have to say and I appreciate that. I hope he takes it too. This letter could have been written to one of many politicians, and what I’m trying to express truly crosses party lines. Please tell everyone “hello” for me…

  4. Marguerite Keller says:

    Well said, Stacie!   Margie Keller

    ________________________________

    1. Thanks Margi. I appreciate your comment and I hope NC is treating you well. =)

  5. Kellie Isert says:

    One of your best Stacie! As a Republican I’ll be backing the Romney/Ryan ticket 100%!

    I got a little teary…you are a fabulous writer!!

    Sent from my iPhone

    1. Thanks for your support, Kellie. My intent in writing this letter was to highlight issues that, as a woman, are near and dear to my heart, and to attempt to speak for other women (although not all, of course) in doing so. It’s a tricky play, so I hope I got it right.

      1. Janie says:

        It’s easy to hear your heart as you write your old friend, fond memories, a simple picture of motherhood in the suburbs. But the rational side of me questions how you may draw the conclusion that Paul Ryan would be good for our country. Women, elderly parents, veterans, his unwillingness to negotiate or compromise as a lawmaker, Medicare, health care, I just don’t see how it adds up for us moms who care deeply for our communities, our neighbors, kids down the street as well as our own, regardless if he was my buddy back in the day.

      2. Janie,

        Thanks for the visit. I don’t think I draw the conclusion you suggest in this post, rather, I relay my feelings as a female constituent and offer advice. The beauty of our political system is that we all get to weigh relevant issues and decide where we stand on them, and then we get to vote. It’s my hope that everyone who has the right to vote will, after careful thought and consideration. Paul Ryan is a good person and I wish him well. Is he good for our country? Hopefully, that’s what everyone who has the opportunity to vote will get to decide.

        I appreciate the time you took to comment,
        Stacie

  6. Carrie Rubin says:

    Very interesting read, Stacie. And pretty cool that you know the VP pick. I suspect you’ll get lots of site hits with this one, but hopefully, as you requested, people will keep it civil. 🙂

    As with all candidates, I will try to keep an open mind as we learn more about Romney’s choice. Thanks for a good first start.

    1. One thing I think you picked up on that not everyone has is that this isn’t a political endorsement. It’s a letter to someone I know, and although it’s been a long time, a person I consider a friend. Really, my advice to Paul could apply to other candidates running for office, I just don’t happen to know them. Thanks for the thoughtful comment, I appreciate it Carrie!

      1. Carrie Rubin says:

        I suspected you might get responses as if you had endorsed the man, which I see you have. 🙂 But I think you made it clear you have voted on both sides of the party line. And really, if we want to address the issues and not just assume because someone is Democrat or Republican than we can’t vote for him and her, then we need to get beyond the labels and see what exactly they stand for. That can be tricky as many politicians do the ever-popular flip-flop, but I think to say, “I will only vote Democrat” or “I will only vote Republican” does everyone a disservice.

        There. See how I managed not to reveal my political leanings? Though I doubt one has to look far to find them. 😉

      2. I wanted to write a post on politics without getting political, which is a tough sell in the label-happy climate you mention above. =|

  7. Darrick C says:

    You eloquently articulated what a lot of follks are thinking, thank you!

    1. Thank you Darrick, for reading, and for taking the time to leave a comment.

  8. elizabeth hansen says:

    ANOTHER great post Stace!  I think it was absolute genius that Romney selected him.   I saw him on 60 min. last night. Cool you know him.  I always think with all the people I know from high school and college, someone has to be famous or in the spot light one day.  you got yours…

    More golf and foothill running to come….

    🙂

    ________________________________

    1. Thanks for your thoughts, Biz. It’s a small world right? Re: the post though, I’m not really interested in being in the spotlight, more like highlighting issues that are important to me, and important to all women (or at least those who agree with what I had to say). This letter could have been written to a number of politicians, but I happen to only know one.

      As for running and golf…you’re on. Our next stop needs to be Red Rocks for the stairs and The Morrison Inn for the margs!

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, I appreciate it.
      =)

  9. Kari Walter says:

    Whit: You’ve done it again and written a very thought provoking and nonpartisan political comment, (even though it includes a picture of me with 90s hair!) Not only should Paul Ryan read it, so should all politicians running for elections this fall. As a mother, I hear enough bickering and lies from my kids, I don’t need it from my political leaders as well, democrat OR republican. When they squabble, I tend to do exactly what I do with my kids: I tune it out so I don’t go crazy.

    1. Kari,
      Thanks so much for reading this, and by “this” I mean the entire post. You completely understand and get my intent, which is not to choose sides, but to highlight issues.

      I LOVE your 90s hair (so much better than 80s hair), and appreciate that you let me post pics from so long ago. It makes me happy to highlight our college days…what a great time.

      I’m looking forward to hearing more of what you have to say. I like hanging out with smart people.

      ITB,
      Whit

  10. aparnauteur says:

    You should write political stuff. You have a nice anodyne voice uncharacteristic of political rhetoric.
    A quick question: Was Paul as much of an Ayn Rand fanatic the media is making him out to be?

    1. Honestly? I don’t know. A lot has been written about this, but I never discussed it with him. Either way, more people will be reading Ayn Rand now, which to me is great, because it simply means more people will be reading period. I was an English Lit major in college, so reading is and always will be near and dear. Thanks for taking the time to comment, and to care.

      1. aparnauteur says:

        My pleasure, Stacie!
        It sure made me dust off my Atlas Shrugged!

      2. I was an English Lit major too! What are the odds?

        (Pretty good, I suppose, as we’re both bloggers.)

        I have a degree in Theology, too, mind you, which is why I know the Bible actually says nothing about gays, and 9/10th of what the religious right in America spout about Christianity is, er, crap.

  11. This is one of the most sound political pieces I’ve ever read. Team Stacie 2012!

    1. JandT,

      WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? I just saw a new post in my mailbox that I’ll be checking out later today. Am I missing something because I miss your voice!

      Thanks for leaving the word “partisan” out of your comment. It’s hard to write about politics without choosing sides. I’m good with Team Stacie 2012 as long as it’s a team of my children cleaning up their rooms.

      GG

      1. My latest vlog explains a bit of where I’ve been, but I’m going to be writing a more in-depth post soon.

        Partisan is a term that gets overused in my opinion. During this point in elections, I hate hearing it. And yeah, it is hard to leave bias out of it…it’s why American politics is in shambles. Everyone is all about being right, and not about doing the right thing. I think you did the right thing by fairly covering this.

      2. Thanks, Jen. I appreciate your support. Glad to hear you’re coming back…

  12. pinkagendist says:

    I like this more political side of you 😀 Do you know about his anti-gay record?

    1. So happy to see you here and get ready for a longer-than-you-planned on response because you’ve hit on something that bothers me. I’m familiar with his voting record on issues involving gay rights, he’s voted both ways, and like many other politicians who have “flip-flopped” on issues, he’s been sharply criticized by both sides. I imagine that the only people who truly know how he feels about gay rights are his wife and maybe other close family and friends, which is a shame no matter what his personal views are. On a larger level, what concerns me using this as an example, is the black and white atmosphere politicians now operate within. We’re such a polarized political society, that to be a Republican who supports gay rights or a Democrat who doesn’t believe in gun control is met with sharp criticism all the way around, making it almost impossible not to fall in step with the party line.

      It’s a tricky spot for any politician who needs votes to win. In a way, by trying to write a piece that doesn’t pick a party, I have a small taste of the give and take. For the record (even though I’m not running), I support gay rights. It’s an important issue to me, and is one I’ll be factoring when I send in my ballot this fall.

      Thanks for commenting. I like your voice and the fact that on your blog, you lend it to children who are bullied and mistreated. If I flip-flop myself and write another pseudo-political piece, please come back. =)

  13. Laura says:

    I don’t think I can contemplate politics or issues or candidate differences right now because it’s impossible for me to imagine any of them not beholden to the corporations, insurance companies, mega-lobbies and mega-wealth that control the entire system. Maybe that’s cynical, maybe even depressing, but looking at other models that provide FREE [very good] education, FREE [quality] healthcare, MANDATORY paternity/maternity leave, and a preferential option for the poor that extends beyond charity and into the coffers makes it impossible for me not to feel that way. And to really care how the next politician polishes his image to further commit himself as a player in the game. But meanwhile, I find it so interesting to see in the first photo haw you seem to have your mom’s chin, but your grandmother’s strong jaw!

    1. El Guapo says:

      Laura – then isn’t it worth it to be more involved to create that type of society?
      (with apologies if I’m overstepping for anything you do in your community)

      1. Laura says:

        No apologies necessary, Guap! And yes, there is always room and opportunity to be “more” involved than I already am — between supporting local peace & justice issues, local food, animal rights, educating my daughter in the ways of being a consciencious and contributing young woman, supporting Haiti, El Salvador, and other members of the global citizenry that my family and I are inspired by, etc. And ‘giving up’ is never an option, no matter how small the change that I am able to effect. That said, it seems like the changes and work I’m capable of individually (and in community) are apart from the current political system, and often, in spite of it. Maybe it’s a grass-roots model? I can hope, and that’s why energy seems better focused there than at the top. But being an educated voter is also very important 😉

    2. Anonymous says:

      Laura, you sound like a very well educated woman with an impressive rhetorical style. However, I must ask you if you have looked up “FREE” in the dictionary lately? None of the services you proclaim to be “FREE” in other models, are provided without someone (tax payers) picking up the bill! That would be a dream model. Just sayin’!

      1. One of the many things I love about out country is exactly what is happening here. To use the word “free” in another context: freedom of speech, freedom of opinion, freedom of choice. Everyone on this thread makes a valid point, and politely so. Thanks for that.

      2. Laura says:

        Yes, that you for pointing out that difference. It’s Free-Paid-For with taxes. I’m speaking of the difference between paying an 13-18% VAD tax that subsidizes social and community services, education, health care, etc., as opposed to our taxes that are allocated to a military budget that is four times what is spent on those types of services. Interesting read here http://urchinmovement.com/2012/07/19/congress-to-allocate-600-billion-for-defence-150-billion-for-labour-health-and-human-services-combined/ No doubt other models have their problems as well, but I think there’s a reason why people in Denmark and other countries tend to come out on the top of the “happy and fulfilled lives” lists http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2012/06/new-happy-planet-measurement-has-us-bottom-list

    3. Laura, my family commonly refers to it as a “butt chin” so thank you for noticing. We all love to talk, so the jaw bones are more pronounced and defined than most. Thanks for all of your thoughtful comments. You always have insightful and intelligent ideas, and are obviously observant. All characteristics I love to see in a friend. =)

  14. Anonymous says:

    Excellent letter!

    1. Ah, to be anonymous…so mysterious. Thanks!

  15. Purposely I exclude politics from my site as well Stacie (doesn’t really make sense there), but this was a solid well thought out and developed piece. It’s thought provoking and challenges both Ryan and the reader to do more with themselves in regards to this election. Well done.

    1. Jed,

      Thank you for seeing the piece through the politics. Writing it was difficult. I want to lend my support to Paul as a friend, because he’s a great guy. On the other hand, this post could have been directed toward any number of politicians on both sides of the fence. I appreciate your sharp insight.

      Stacie

  16. Anastasia says:

    Nice post. It’s interesting to read something like this from someone who knows who they’re addressing. I was very worried at this choice, as I’ve read he’s ever farther to the right than Mitt, but I’ll have to look for first hand info about him rather than trusting articles to scare me away.

    I feel much like Laura in that I don’t believe any of them truly care about us individually, and once at that level of government the issues become so global and so unrelated to our homely issues that they become enravelled in it and lose sight of taking care of us. My letter would say “Please avoid caring too much about forcing physical and emotional choices on me and strive to care more about the quality of my air and our environment. And please consider the minimal value of issues that don’t affect our daily lives and the vastly more important issues of education, alternative energy, the environment and overpopulation.” stuff like that.

    But I don’t know Paul. I’m thinking I woulda liked some of those fellas judging by the picture though. 🙂

    1. Anastasia,

      You’re so funny.

      I wonder what the political climate would look like without a two-party system. Somehow I see candidates checking beliefs on an a la carte menu, with more freedom to choose what they really believed in because there wouldn’t be any party lines to get in the way. What I really wanted to do in this piece is ask Paul to think from a different perspective. Ours.

      Thanks for your comment.
      =)

      1. Anastasia says:

        You were intelligently neutral and diplomatic. I couldn’t be. I don’t care about party, I just yearn for ONE person who intentionally does the right thing in each issue and isn’t inevitably corrupted by (or rather, who can magically overcome the) pressures at the top and somehow manages to get things done despite forces against them. Two+ party is useless when one compromises and the other petulantly refuses to share.

  17. Terrific post! I echo others’ sentiments that I wish candidates could really run on their personal values and not the rhetoric of their party and what would get them votes. Perhaps what is needed is more personal pleas like this one that serve as a reminder of how decisions affect women, families, minorities, and other people who don’t seem to be addressed in heated debate.

    1. You completely get what I was trying to say in this post, and I appreciate that. I know each of us can only walk in our own shoes, but it adds perspective to try on someone else’s, if for no other reason than to compare the fit. Thanks for taking the time to really read (it was long, I know). =)

  18. bharatwrites says:

    You’re right. The topic is polarizing. I’m surprised that a man of Paul Ryan’s principles—I find him principled despite disagreeing with him—hitched his wagon to a man whose political principles are nebulous at best. I suppose politics makes for strange bedfellows.
    I remember something Bill Maher had said that if Romney really believes in limited government, he should choose no one as his running mate because the office of the Veep is more cost than utility for the government.
    Nice write-up.

    1. Thanks for seeing the piece behind the politics, Bharat. I appreciate it. One thing can be said for sure, the race is now more interesting. I love Bill Maher, and I always enjoy hearing your thoughts.

      1. bharatwrites says:

        You’re right. It’s more interesting now. Let’s see if the Tea Partiers Ryan brings in cancel out the disgruntled liberals whom Romney drove back towards Obama with this decision.

      2. I agree, I think this election may come down to who can better energize their base, which is likely a key reason for the Romney/Ryan ticket. If voter apathy is a factor, and it very well could be, the race will be tighter than polls can predict. One thing I miss about the atmosphere from the election four years ago is the tinge of electricity in the air. It’s not there this year, and I hope everyone who has the right to vote, regardless of party affiliation, exercises it.

  19. Sarah Wezet says:

    I am the “little sister” of Missy Wezet, I think you might know her (haha!) I met you one time at their house a few years ago. After meeting you, I told my sister that she was lucky to have a “sister-in-law” like you. You’re pretty cool! 🙂 She emailed me this link and said it was a must read. As an approaching 30 yr old in a couple of months and a single mom to a 4 year old little boy, this was amazing!!!!! Loved what you wrote and will definitely be sending this to my girlfriends.

    1. I know who you are Sarah! It’s great to see you here. As much as anything, I hope this piece inspires women to think through their choice in a candidiate, and for the candidates to think about women. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.

      1. Anonymous says:

        This piece you wrote was most definitely an inspiration that I feel like speaks for many Americans and how they feel. I always enjoy reading your blog, some of them have given me a MUCH needed laugh. Keep them coming!

      2. Thanks for the support, I’ll do my best. =)

  20. Kristen Foery says:

    Yes, we do vote with our heads and our hearts. You nailed it!

    1. Thanks, Kristen. If I were to try to pick one phrase that underscores what I was trying to say in this piece, YOU nailed it. I appreciate it.

  21. Malea Weinfurther Hornback says:

    Well Written Whitten. Would not have expected anything less from a former Miami poli sci fellow!
    As a woman, Wisconsite, MU alumni, and registered independent, you nailed it for me! Paul always said get involved, what are you going to do about it? He has my attention and has strengthened my commitment to get more involved. REAL people matter, real people effect change, Individuals need to stand out and LEAD! Loved it all – points and humor! Thanks, Malea

    1. So happy to see you here Malea! One of my favorite memories of our summer in DC was sneaking a quart of TCBY yogurt into a bar with you and Kate. Ice cream trumped beer back then, but I’m not sure I’d say the same thing now. =)

      Partisan politics aside, don’t you feel lucky to know Paul? It’s my first experience with a major candidate where I can say that regardless of platform, I know he’s a good guy, and I support the person behind the politics, not the politics above the person. The spirit of this piece wasn’t to say “pick a candidate,” rather, figure out what matters, become informed, and ask your candidates to speak to you. That’s what I was going for at least.

      Take care and stay in touch…I hope you’re well!

  22. Bravo! As a woman who has one underemployed grown son living at home, two special needs teenagers, aging parents, and a tendency to stop to help turtles cross the road, I think you’ve done an outstanding job of speaking for women voters.

    1. Your comment makes writing this post worth the few that didn’t quite get where I was going, so thank you, truly. I struggled in writing this piece because I wanted to convey a sense of the importance of issues that face women without polarizing readers. It’s SO important to support the family structure you describe above, and to have politicians who understand that.

      1. It seems very difficult to me to write about anything “political” without alienating one half of your readers or the other. I stink at it myself but thought you did an excellent job.

        I’m glad someone like you is out there trying to remind people that the family needs support.
        We need to know when we take our kids to school that they will be in a safe, fertile environment being taught by professionals who understand individual differences and who are supported in doing their jobs rather than being undervalued, underpaid and scapegoated by the very people who keep legislating standardized testing and flawed curriculum designs rather than really helping. We need to know our kids will be able to go to college if they are so inclined, and hopefully not graduate with a crippling student loan debt and no job prospects. We need to know that society will be sensitive to the fact that our aging parents need more of our time, energy and attention in addition to reliable health care no matter what their circumstances.

        I could go on and on, but like I said, you do it better. I’m pretty darned liberal, but I didn’t see this as a partisan post. I hope you don’t let the ones who did get you down. Some people are never going to see the common ground.

      2. So well said that I have nothing to add, except thanks so much for taking the time to contribute your well-intended and intelligent thoughts. =)

  23. Jeweld says:

    Wouldnt even vote for him if I was paid to…….

    1. That’s not at all what this post was about, but I welcome all opinions.

  24. krista says:

    Your letter is well written and could really be to any politicial…we mothers just want someone to see it from our perspective! How about abortion? I read he wants to overturn roe vs. wade…don’t think I could vote for that:(

    1. Krista,

      Thanks for your comment. You picked up the spirit of what I was trying to convey. Our voices, as women, are important. To your point, I’d like every candidate running to listen to what we have to say. You also picked up on something else, and that is as women, we need to carefully analyze where each candidate stands on issues that are important to us. Thanks again for stopping by.

      Stacie

  25. Anonymous says:

    Stac,
    I love your style, your emotion, your heart-felt sincerety…..your ability to lay things out. Keep up the good work/writing/convincing/sharing
    !
    Love,
    Mom

    1. Dear Mom,

      I love that you’re my mom.

      Stacie

  26. You have a potential career as a political strategist. I thought this was intelligently written and certainly more eloquently put than I could have managed.
    And you are officially my husband’s new favorite blogger. As the conservative half of a bipartisan household he was almost giddy with excitement that someone I read had something positive to say about a Republican. I’m not exaggerating. Giddy is the right term. I’ve talked about your blog before but now he thinks you’re all kinds of awesome, which I think will pave the way for our future female blogger getaway weekend (hint, hint).

    1. Then he’ll love my next post: “Ode to An Under-appreciated 80s Tan”. I’m serious, that’s what I was going with before Romney picked Paul Ryan as his running mate. Regardless of my political beliefs, I know that Paul Ryan is a good guy. It actually feels incredible to be able to say that, because all I normally get to see is the face behind the politics, not the person above the party. Does that make sense? I’m not suggesting that anyone vote for Paul and I’m not suggesting that anyone NOT vote for Paul, I’m trying to say that women should decide what’s important to them when they cast their vote, and offering unsolicited advice for what Paul could do to earn votes from women. Some women, not all women.

      Please tell Hubs that this is likely my first and last political post, as I was attempting to talk politics without being polarizing. Also tell him that I was thinking of another political post as I was driving my 10 year-old to a friend’s house this morning. I’m already flip-flopping and I haven’t really even started.
      Being anyone’s new favorite blogger is awesome, and if writing about politics will get us closer to a Future Female Blogger Getaway I’m in.

      Thanks for your great comment. I’m headed over to your post later today… =)

  27. Anonymous says:

    As a former Miami Redskin, two years older than you, your blog mirrors many of my thoughts. Thanks for the insight from your perspective.

    1. Thanks for the kind note of support!

  28. i mayfly says:

    Great writing and nice logical progression. You have given me reason to look beyond the camo and ammo and the photo op. I’m hoping Mr. Ryan reads and heeds your advice.

    1. Hi Nikki. I felt comfortable writing to Paul because of our college friendship, but that letter could have been written to a lot of candidates. It’s so important to make sound, studied decisions when choosing a candidate, and so important for the people we are choosing to listen and respond to what we have to say. Thanks, as always, for your thoughtful comment. Stacie

  29. I’ve been trying to learn more about him, which is tough because even neutral sources tend to load their wording with connotations to fit the outcome they want. Interesting personal take.

    1. I agree, I don’t know if there’s such a thing as neutral anymore, but there should be, hence the black and white comment I made above. No matter what your political preference, there’s always a person behind the politics. To your point, we, as constituents see the person less and less as time goes by (and the same technology that allows me to post this blog proliferates). My knowledge of Paul Ryan is that he’s a good person. I took the opportunity to relate some things that I’d like (if he chooses), for him to hear. As for his politics? That’s for you, me, and millions of voters to decide one-by-one, and hopefully in a mature, thoughtful way.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Stacie:

    Hello! First of all, thank you for putting yourself ‘out there’ & sharing. It’s hard to do, but important. And I want you to know I respect you & I love your writing. I also typically don’t like to “tangle” on politics, but I have been thinking about this for almost two hours (while on vacation when I should be drinking a margarita instead!)

    Here’s the thing: While I’m sure it would be cool and all to know the vice president of the United States. (Especially one that is as super-handsome & as fit as Paul Ryan). Don’t get sucked in. This is not a “niceness contest” or a “solid guy” contest. This is about the policies that should be put in place. What do you believe and why do you believe it?

    Do you fundamentally believe that sometimes, some people need help and that it is our duty/obligation/ethical imperative to offer that help through – in part – governmental programs? If so, the Ryan budget (& philosophy) is wrong.

    On this issue, my five year old daughter recently asked me what “liberal” and “conservative” means. Wow!! This blog (link here — http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/12/the-veil-of-opulence/ — talks about that & the ethical issues much better than I could & is worth a read.

    On social positions:

    Do you believe gay couples have a right to adopt & marry? Paul Ryan doesn’t. He also voted against the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

    Do you believe in a woman’s right over her body? Paul Ryan doesn’t.

    Do you believe handguns are ok? Paul Ryan does. An avid hunter, he hailed a 2008 Supreme Court ruling that struck down a sweeping ban on handguns in Washington, D.C.

    Do you believe kids who were born here to non-citizens have the right to obtain citizenship? Paul Ryan doesn’t. He voted against the Dream Act.

    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/OTUS/paul-ryan-social-issues-stand/story?id=16994248#.UCnsQpi4LzI

    He is a hard core, real-life, major big-time fiscal & social conservative. If that’s folks are after, vote for that ticket. If it isn’t, don’t. Even though he’s a nice guy & super cute too.

    (PS I hope you still like me even though I’m a (yes, the hated word — liberal.)

    Meaghan

    1. CR says:

      Totally agree, Meaghan. I am not a liberal but more a post-feminist supporter of sex/gender equality.

      I would suggest that that mommy bloggers stop yakking and stop looking to men for solutions and take financial responsibility for themselves. Your children have two parents, whether you like it or not.

      Ryan is an intellectual lightweight, a baby-man, apparently a terribly neglectful father, and married to an expensively educated heiress stay-at home mother (albeit with a couple years work experience as a lawyer) who has no voice (whether she had it and lost it I don’t know). We don’t need more of him . . . or her.

      1. CR,

        I believe everyone has the right to say what’s on his or her mind, and I don’t believe in censorship. You make a lot of assumptions above, so allow me the opportunity to clear up those that you made about me.

        1. I’m not a mommy blogger, I’m a generalist when it comes to writing. There are many talented women who blog about motherhood, but my posts tend to cover a wide range of topics.

        2. Are you aware that there are two men running for President and that they’ve both chosen men as their running mates?

        3. I’m married, but I’m financially independent. I was fortunate to have a successful business career and retired at the age of 30.

        4. I’m not sure what your point about parenting is, but I actually have four parents because both of mine are divorced. You’re right, my children only have two, and when they found out that I got double birthdays and two Christmas celebrations growing up, they were kind of bummed.

        Regards,
        Stacie

    2. Meaghan,

      Why are you reading my blog on vacation? I’m flattered, and wish I was there with you, because I’d make you close your laptop and chop up some fresh limes.

      However, since you ARE reading (and thinking as the intelligent woman I know you be), here goes….

      What I attempted to do with this post is hard to accomplish in the polarizing political climate we live in. The spirit of this piece isn’t meant to convince a reader to vote for one candidate or the other, or to advance an agenda. It also isn’t about getting a photo op or a seat at a fundraising dinner. It’s simply (although considering the subject matter, writing it wasn’t simple) a personal plea to a someone I know and respect (regardless of politics) to listen to and actually hear women’s voices. It could apply to candidates of either party, although the specific points of recommendation would obviously change.

      I intentionally kept my personal beliefs out of the post because I don’t think they’re necessary to the appeal I was making. There’s no plea for support of either party. I’m neither easy on Paul or hard on him. Just honest about what I feel and believe. One of the problems with politics today is that we’re becoming more and more conditioned to taking sides. I wasn’t going for that. I wanted to ask Paul, and anyone else reading this, to think more than anything else.

      Hope that helps explain where I’m coming from, and of course I still like you, and I appreciate your passion. Save a margarita for home and we’ll talk in person.

      Stacie

      1. Anonymous says:

        Hey there Stacie — My husband “got” that you were doing that!! I am just afraid that some will not & will see your post as a kind of “endorsement” of Ryan. I think politics can be polarizing by definition, but I appreciate your heartfelt letter to Ryan to consider your views. That said, I think it is *highly unlikely* that he will/would given his history. Not that you shouldn’t try — especially since you know him. I would just hate to see your readers assume (wrongly, it seems!) that you endorse him. Because in politics a lot of it comes to that – who endorses who – especially for people not as well-informed as you. And, yes a margarita when we return would be in order. And I would love to talk about this (or probably) different stuff — like our writing and lives!! Cheers! Meaghan Now I’m cracking open my beer! Talk soon!

      2. Enjoy your vaca and let’s definitely get together when you come back…lots to discuss. Cheers Meaghan, and have a great time.

  31. Politics & politicians irk me no end but my goodness, what a subtle way to express your true feelings, brilliantly written. I really hope Paul takes a notice. Wishing you good luck!

    1. Neha, thanks for taking notice of the manner in which I tried to write this piece. It was meant to be inclusive, supportive, and positive, and I appreciate your compliment. Stacie

  32. meizac says:

    I actually sat with this one for a bit before responding. As a Canadian, the outcome of your election impacts me indirectly, but it impacts me nonetheless. I don’t agree with many of the stances of this current version of the Republicans (you’d be hard-pressed to find me agreeing with any conservative party); however, your post is extremely well written. I wish everyone put the thought and care that you obviously do into their electoral decisions.

    1. Meizac,

      I always appreciate your intelligent comments. Take a look at my response to my friend Meaghan (two comments below) and it will give you a feel for what I was trying to accomplish with this post. Cheers and good luck with the Tough Mudder.

      Stacie

      1. meizac says:

        Thanks, Stacie! I’m going to need all the luck I can get.

        What I especially liked about this post (which may not have come across in my comment above) is that you are not a “I strictly vote Party X” voter. Rather, you weigh the options, investigate the positions and hope (as I think we all do) for better candidates.

        Too many people stick to a single party, because they *think* they know what the party stands for. This is where I wish that everyone put the though and care into their electoral decisions that you obviously do.

        Whomever you vote for, they’d all do well to read this post (as would our politicians on this side of the border).

      2. Thanks for taking the time to come back and read my thoughts, I appreciate and agree with yours, and know that you too make thoughtful decisions.

        Good luck again….you won’t need it, but I’m happy to send it your way!

  33. Stephen "Yolly" Yolland says:

    Someone sent this to me. I presume it is relevant, as regards a constituency that many in the USA consider very important …

    Much has been said over the past few weeks about the budget proposal in the House of Representatives, offered by Rep. Paul Ryan, and backed by Republican members, but not much has been said about how it will affect our veterans.  As you know, the Paul Ryan plan will end Medicare, making it a voucher program, leaving seniors to buy their own insurance in the private system.  It will therefore end one of the most popular and successful initiatives ever offered.

    This plan will also punish veterans – harshly – and it’s important that you spread the word on how it will do so.

    Here are the facts:

    Millions of veterans over 65 rely onMedicare, Medicaid or private insurance for their health care. In fact, according to the last survey of veterans by the Department of Veterans’ affairs, 39.3 percent of veterans useMedicare, compared with 14 percent of the general population.

    Many of these veterans are relying onMedicareas their sole health care provider.The Ryan plan would have an immediate impact on these veterans, forcing those falling into the “donut hole” with high-cost prescription drug costs to pay more for their medications in addition to paying more for preventative health services.
    Veterans who rely on Medicaid would not escape cuts either. The Republican plan could slash $1.4 trillion in health benefits over the next ten years. Forty-four states are already facing significant budget shortfall in Fiscal Year 2012,and the cuts could force the state to either ration health care benefits for veterans across the country, restrict eligibility rules and leave thousands uninsured, including veterans, or raise taxes to cover the shortfall.
    Finally, many veterans rely on private insurance, mostly through their employer. Because Republicans want to repeal the recent health insurance law, these veterans will no longer have guaranteed access to health insurance regardless of pre-existing conditions and may see annual or lifetime caps on coverage under the Republican budget.
    In short, Republicans and Paul Ryan will strip away care for our veterans, in the name of budget cutting.  These proposals are draconian, cruel, and unfair to those men and women who put their lives on the line for this country.  But, unless we spread the word about how severely the Ryan/Republican plan will hurt veterans, most Americans won’t ever know.

    1. Yolly,

      It’s an incredibly important issue, I agree, which is why I brought it up in the unsolicited advice portion of my post. My grandmother is battling dementia and I have a mentally retarded aunt. Neither can take care of herself and both rely on Medicare (and an incredibly supportive family) to make ends meet. I prefer to read facts surrounding issues in a non-political environment, but that’s getting harder and harder to do nowadays. Thanks for the visit and thought.

      Stacie

      1. I warmly applaud your determination to make a quality personal decision on your vote, Stacie, and to encourage others to do the same. I am a bit of an old traditional ironed-on leftie, but I have no patience whatsoever with those who will never consider the other side of the argument, nor concede that someone else may a valid perspective. Before I am a large-D Democrat (in American terms) I am a small-D one. I think Romney is a bit of a buffoon, to be frank, and I think the GOP in general has descended into laughable chaos, (Palin? Bachman? Gingrich? Santorum? Really?) so despite the fact that I dislike some of his non-progress on what I would consider core issues, I would be giving Obama another four years. But what I yearn for is some degree of bi-partisanship on issues that really matter – like vastly increasing research into delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s for example. I would urge you to keep writing, keep thinking, keep asking important questions. Above all, we should not be afraid of democratic politics, messy and uninspiring and unpleasant as it often is. The alternative is frankly much much worse.

    2. I know that Stacie doesn’t want the response to her piece to turn into a political debate, and I don’t really mean to stir up one, but as a veteran, I feel I need to address the assertion that overhauling Medicaid or Medicare would somehow eliminate healthcare for veterans. As a veteran, I’d like to thank you for your concern and lending your voice to the veteran constituency. I fear, however, that the information above is not entirely accurate.

      Nearly all active duty veterans, as well as reservists who have been called to active duty, are eligible for VA Healthcare Benefits. Veterans fall into different priority groups based on a number of factors ranging from income to whether or not they have a service-connected disability. The priority group determines whether or not the veteran has to pay a co-pay, but all eligible veterans receive the same care and services regardless of what priority group they fall into. The VA offers patients a full range of services, including access to specialists and prescription drug benefits. Additionally, if the VA does not have a specialist or service provider available to provide for a specific need, the VA will pay for the patient to go outside the system to receive care.

      As a veteran, I have been enrolled in the VA Health Care system since I was discharged from the service. I have also at different times since I left the service been both a Medicaid recipient and have been enrolled in private health insurance plans. My primary care doctor is a VA doctor, and I have no intention of going elsewhere for my primary care. I’m not saying the VA is the best provider in the world, but having been a recipient of both private practice health care providers and VA health care providers, overall I am extremely satisfied and grateful for the VA Health Care system.

      Unfortunately, there are many veterans, especially those my father’s age, who are under the impression that they are not eligible for healthcare through the VA for one reason or another. Some of them are not combat veterans, so they assume they aren’t eligible. Others are combat veterans but they are under the impression they have to have suffered a disability. Some veterans of my father’s generation still believe the VA provides sub-standard care and are unaware of the drastic changes and improvements that have been made to the system since they were discharged decades ago. Unfortunately, these are all misconceptions. You do not have to be a combat veteran or a disabled veteran to be eligible for healthcare through the VA. Even if you do not meet the minimum requirements for time spent on active duty, if you are income-eligible for Medicaid, you are most likely income eligible for VA care. As for the standard of care, I have had both excellent and aggravating experiences receiving my care through the VA, but that goes for the care I’ve received from private practice doctors as well. Like I said, overall, I have been extremely satisfied with the quality and level of services the VA provides.

      I don’t mean to stir up any kind of debate over whether the Paul Ryan plan is a good one or not, or whether or not you should vote the Romney/Ryan ticket. I just want to make sure that if the concern is how his plan will affect veterans, people understand that we are actually the least affected by any changes to medicaid or medicare in the sense that we are covered by an entirely different system altogether. The fact that a high percentage of veterans are on Medicaid does not mean that they are not eligible for VA care (I was on Medicaid because I applied for services for my entire family, and I was eligible, but I still went to the VA for my healthcare). I’m not sure what the source of the above information is, but the facts as they are presented are incomplete and rather misleading.

      Thank you, Stacie, by the way, for your excellent post! Thank you for bravely embracing moderation and rejecting polarization. These are not easy times for moderates or folks who understand that just because you may fall towards one side of the aisle, that doesn’t mean you don’t identify with the issues and positions of the other side.

      1. Wow. Beautifully written and informative. In writing this piece, I wanted to set a tone that avoided the mud slinging that just about every constituent has grown to abhor. Your response is the opposite. It’s a polite, well-thought, genuine, and thoughtful. I’m a huge believer is self-education, so to the extent that comments add perspective, inspire people to research, and provoke thought, I’m all for it. Thank you both for sharing. I hope, that as we each individually try to match our beliefs with our votes, that the discourse can be this civil and thoughtful.

      2. Thank you so much! I felt the same way about your open letter!

  34. aquilla says:

    I hope he is all you and Mitt see in him. We need something GOOD…no GREAT!

    I have concerns about the Medicare.. I better boost my savings! But we all need to do that more.Part of what has put us where we are is our reliance on social programs. Moving our nation farther away from the Jeffersonian spirit and more to the socialist side.

    1. Aquilla,

      The point you raise is a brilliant example of the predicament American citizens are in right now. We have to vote in a manner that’s black and white when life is anything but.

      Thanks for the visit and comment,
      Stacie

  35. Amy Bittmann Hicks says:

    Stacie:
    Great article; as an independent voter I relate to your definition as an interesting mix that’s hard to define. It is thrilling to think a fellow Miami alum has been selected as a candidate for VP. However, I can’t abide his stance on gays: from same-sex marriage to adoption rights. I don’t believe anyone should be excluded from parenthood because of their sexual preference. It never fails to amaze me that people really are still homophobic. And as a practicing Catholic, I believe it’s more important to be inclusive than exclusive. So, I agree with your comment about dialing down the camo and ammo, but I think he also needs to tune in to the ‘modern families’ of today. And I just don’t think that will happen with this ticket.
    Keep up the good work!

    1. Amy!

      So happy to see you here, and your comment highlights a point that is increasingly frustrating with our political system. Both sides have become so polarized, that “moderate” may as well be a four letter word. To your point, what do you do if you hold traditional Catholic values yet believe in equal rights for everyone? What if you’re fiscally conservative and are pro-choice? You can declare yourself to be an independent voter, but there has yet to be a viable independent candidate to vote for. My bet is that if our system keeps moving in opposite directions, there will be by the next election cycle.

      Thanks so much for reading my post and commenting. I hope you and your family are well, and if we ever get the chance to get together in Denver I’d love it!

      Stacie

      1. Amy Bittmann Hicks says:

        Oh, yes! We should get together for a glass of vino and figure out where to find this idealistic independent candidate. Hickenlooper, perhaps?

      2. Sounds great. We can make Amanda drive down from Boulder and grab any other DGs who happen to be hanging around. =)

    2. Anastasia says:

      And…anybody who votes to end funding for NPR is ridiculous in my eyes. They’re the most educational and least depressing news sources whose primary fault is apparently making the mistake of daring to infer that “people” from other countries are actual (gasp) human beings rather than animals or cave dwellers.

  36. Bob Hogan says:

    I am sorry to hear about your grandmother. I am a bit older than you (55) and just lost my mother to the complications that come from the horrible meanness of dementia.

    I will pray for your strength and that of your family in the times that come.

    That experience could have left me challenging some of my own politics. I consider myself a libertarian; but I have always felt government (aka society) has some place in helping those most in need; and even those that are not in distress, but could be if left totally unassisted. Those like my sister and I.

    You see without Medicaid my sister and I would have faced even more stark choices with my mother than we did. We are both middle class. She is a retired school teacher whose husband is retired from a blue collar life. I am an IT guy with a Realtor wife.

    My father died young, and by the time my mother had reached her 80’s she had nothing left financially; and no desire to rely on anyone. So she worked up to the day she was mis-diagnoned with terminal cancer; the outfall from which soon after her dementia became so evident.

    The bottom line on my meandering is, that as a pragmatic libertarian I recognized that we needed help from society to get my mother the treatment she needed; and although taking help is anathema to my philospophy on life, need dictated.

    I compromised, and I am honest about it.

    Which brings me to your discussion of Paul Ryan.

    I think the worst part of our political discourse these days is that when a leader tries to lead, their opponents only try to misinform and detract.

    That comes from both sides of the aisle.

    In the case of Mr. Ryan, he puts forth honest, but conservative approaches to solving our most significant problems. One may not agree with them, but one should certainly recognize he is at least being honest and brave.

    But as expected his proposals weren’t countered with either honestly or bravery.

    Perhaps one shouldn’t condemn President Obama and his allies for reacting as they did; in light of how their Affordable Care Act was so demagogued (sic) by their opponents.

    But I do condem him.

    I so wanted this President to be the man he presented himself as; one that would rise above petty politics, and bring hope and change.

    But he did not.

    He did not lead.

    Instead, when Mr. Ryan proposed his plan for fiscal responsibility instead of offering an alternative, and scoring Mr. Ryan’s plan for positives and negatives in his view, the President simply denounced him as abandoning our seniors when in fact his proposals would not even affect someone my age, let alone my mother or your grandmother.

    Bottom line, I expect our parties to heartily disagree. And I expect our pundits to have opinions rooted in their own philosophies. But, until we have pundits willing to take a stand against politocs (even those they side with) that are not being the leaders they were elected to be; and until we have politicians that are willing to lead; to be bold; to tell the truth as they see it and put a flag in the ground, those like Paul Ryan, we will not fix our nation’s ills.

    One closing thought. I am a Republican; that I will admit. But I am Republican in the sense that the GOP is the place more closely aligned with my thinking, much in the same way that one of my other politcal heroes is Republican; that being Ron Paul. But also I must be given credit that I have besides Ryan and Paul, two Democrat political heroes as well who likewise try to lead and give honest statements. Dennis Kucinich and Joe Lieberman.

    No, I rarely agree with Mr. K, but I respect him as much as I do Sen. Paul with whom I largely agree on most everything. Yes, Mr. Kucinich is brave and does lead. If only our Presidnet would do the same.

    But alas, he does not. Hence I will vote for the man that at least selected a leader as his second.

    -Bob

    1. Dear Bob,

      Thanks for your kind words about my grandmother. She’s 91, and is in the picture at the top of this post.

      Your thoughtful comment is a real and personal testimony as to how the business of politics impacts everyday lives. Each of us has a different, often complicated life that we’re living, which shapes our layered and multi-dimensional political views.

      I really appreciate that you took the time to share yours. It says a lot that you are willing to look at multiple sides of a given situation. It’s hard for any one politician to be everything to everyone, because as constituents, we’re all individually unique, and our needs don’t often fit into one of the boxes we’re supposed to check.

      Stacie

  37. Susan Francke says:

    Thanks for having the courage to write with your heart knowing it was unlikely the post would go without “political” comment. Like you I am a wife, mother, sister and friend. I too worry about the future of our country and am immensely frustrated with the politics of both parties. I hope your letter finds its way to Paul Ryan. I hope Barack Obama and Mitt Romney find it as well. It so eloquently captures the thoughts and fears of myself and many women I know. Feel free to sign my name to it as well.

    1. Susan,
      I love seeing your thoughtful comment with one exception. It makes me miss actually seeing you.Your friendship means the world to me and I really appreciate your support.
      Miss you. Please tell Chris and the kids hello,
      Stacie

  38. Pamela says:

    I also graduated from Miami in 92. Though I never knew Paul, I can relate to and agree with what you’ve written. Frankly I wish I could vote for a level-headed, open-minded and well-educated woman like yourself in this upcoming election.

    1. Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Pamela. Your thought is incredibly flattering, so much so, that I’ll end my day with your kind words. I’m so proud to be a member of Miami’s class of ’92. There is an abundance of incredibly talented people who graduated with us, and it’s fun to be part of the discussion.
      Take care, Stacie

  39. Harry Zander says:

    Stacie

    Wow what a well-written piece. I am socially liberal and fiscally conservative, which mean I hate the ‘black and white’ requirements of our two party system. I believe that lgbtq rights are naturally heading the direction they should, but perhaps not at the speed some people would like them to. I am also a huge believer in a woman’s right to choose so seemingly I would be at odds with Republicans, but generally that is where my vote ends up. While I think and feel these and other social issues are critically important and the ongoing effort to chip away at them will likely not end soon, those are not my highest priorities when electing a president. I feel like government is simply too big and any effort to help people that need it is lost in the government muck. I am board president of a local Humboldt Park charity that focuses on providing homeless solutions (lacasanorte.org, but sadly the website is being redone) and I feel like my direct financial and pro bono support is far more efficient than taxing me more and filtering cents on the dollar to where the help is needed. I just wrote a ton more than I intended as all I really meant to do was tell you how well-written this was and hope many people including Paul read it.

    I will be in Denver in September and will hope to see you or Cheeto or both.

    HZ

    1. Harry,

      So nice to see you here, weighing in in such a thoughtful and articulate way (not that I’d expect anything but that). Your views highlight the frustration many Americans feel when asked, via a single vote, to fit round heads through square holes because no one candidate necessarily embodies the full beliefs of a given constituent. You’re right, for now, we each need to filter our greatest desires to the top, but to your point, we’re all multi-dimensional, complicated people, and it isn’t necessarily easy.

      Scot and I would love to see you in September. It would be great to further discuss this and many other things over dinner. Hope you, Michelle, and your family are well, and thanks so much for commenting.

      Stacie

  40. Michael Lehman says:

    Interesting piece. My Brother and sister also went to Miami at the same time as Mr. Ryan. Neither knew him, but, honestly, it is nice for a change to have someone who isn’t an Ivy leaguer (which lately has seemed like a prerequisite for the office). He seems to be a man of conviction and not one to shirk responsibility or read platitudes to win votes. It is easy to demonize someone when all you see or hear are other peoples impressions of a man. It is tough when he is known to you. The current adminstration has failed to lead, failed to compromise and failed to succeed in an admitted tough time. They had a chance, and squandered the oppotunity to do something substantive, helpful and bipartisan, and opted to try something historic, divisive and fiscally stupid. SUper majorities in both house produced 1 piece of bad legislation. It is time to give someone else a try.

    1. Michael,

      Thanks for taking the time to read my post and share your thoughts.

      Regards,
      Stacie

  41. This is a great blog you have here.

  42. Tony Luzza says:

    Stacie- Amazing piece! I’ve shared it with some folks and it’s opening a lot of eyes!! And they are forwarding along as well. Thank you for writing it!

    1. Thanks, Tony.

      Relative to standard media outlets, it’s a small blog, so I appreciate the feedback and support. I had hoped, when writing this piece, that the message would resonate. I’m happy to know that for you, it did.

      Stacie

  43. Inmann Clotfelter says:

    Stacie I really enjoyed this blog. You do a great job of writing. This should make people think, and disregard all the mud slinging. When you get to be my age you don’t want to hear all that garbage, you just want to hear the facts. I don’t claim either party. I vote for who I think is the best person and can do the best job. But I am human and I make the wrong decision often.
    Wish we could see your family, but our time for travel is about over. Inmann

    1. Inmann,

      Your note makes me both happy and sad on multiple levels. Happy that you’re reading and sharing such a straightforward and meaningful thought, and sad that your travel is slowing down, and what that means about aging in general. I hope you are feeling OK.

      We’re all human and make mistakes. I’ve made plenty. Your note makes me think about a notion running through my head for my next post…something about life being as much about the opportunities you miss as the ones your take. I’ll work on it tomorrow and see what I come up with, and I’ll think about your comment as I write.

      Thanks for reaching out. Even though we’re far away, your thoughts make the distance feel a little less pronounced.

      Stacie

  44. Scott C. says:

    It was great to see you back in Oxford, Stacie. I really appreciated this piece—so much thoughtful eloquence. (and humor) As someone working hard right now to bring more social and emotional learning into our industrial-age education system, I was especially glad to see our schools mentioned in this light. As for PD, I think he’d benefit greatly from your advice. While I know you don’t pretend to speak for all the women of Colorado, yours is certainly a strong, compassionate, and important voice that I hope will be heard. (Side note: After reading this, I’m eagerly anticipating that novel you mention in your bio.) Also, your blog was passed along to me by my brother through a surprising, mutual friend I didn’t know we shared. If you haven’t already heard about this small world connection, send me a quick note and I’ll share it. Take care.

    1. Scott,

      Not to start superficially, but you looked EXACTLY the same when I saw you in June as in the picture above. You and Avery need to get together, get your DNA sequenced, find the parallel markers, and get to a lab ASAP.

      Thank you for such a thoughtful note. The kind compliments you’ve given me above are even more flattering considering the source. I really appreciate it, and would love to talk about what you’re doing in education. I’m sure it’s fascinating. Email to follow….

      Stacie

      BTW I love your gravatar pic. I have a lucky writing bracelet that’s made of old typewriter keys. =)

  45. inphiluencer says:

    This post was a very interesting read Stacie. I like the perspective that you gave it. Don’t quite understand your two-party system in the States but I do know that candidates spend millions on their campaigns and have armies of pollsters and marketers working for them. Maybe they should all take a break from reading poll results and read more pieces like yours, in order to get a better idea of how “real” people live their lives. Good writing; keep it up.

    1. Philippe,
      I think there are a lot of Americans who don’t understand our political system, so rest assured that you’re not alone. Thanks for the kind compliment, and for all the support you give me. I’m looking forward to reading YOUR work one of these days so that I can return the favor.
      Stacie

  46. Andrew Pelt says:

    Great site…I bookmarked it and will return often….

  47. purplemary54 says:

    I respect your opinion, Stacie, and I think you bring real insight into this because you knew him when. Unfortunately, the Paul Ryan I see stands for everything I am against (not to mention his running mate looks a little like an insurance salesman). Government is not business, and should not be run like business. I’m a big government person. Not government that is big simply because it can be (that’s running things like a business), but an FDR/LBJ kind of big government. One that actually does something for its citizens. Obama hasn’t been that great; I kind of wish we’d repeal the Amendment limiting presidents to two terms, just so we could get Clinton back in office. He screwed up (and around) occasionally, but left us better off than when he started.

    1. Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Mary. Even though this post is an endorsement of Paul Ryan the person, it’s more of a probe of Paul Ryan the candidate. I hear what you’re saying. =)

  48. Tom Morris says:

    BRILLIANTLY WRITTEN!!!!!!!!!

  49. Wonderfully written, Stacie! I can’t wait to read what you blog about me when I become Vice President of, erm, something. Please use the word “shenanigans” if you would. Oh, and where’s the Paul Ryan ab photo? Were you lying about the whole strip beer pong story?

    1. She’s back! And with a vengeance. I’m feeling some kind of hypnotically strange vibe, like the pre-shock of an earthquake who’s epicenter happens to be in Tampa, FL. Something’s building. Something’s brewing. It’s gonna be big. I just know it.

      1. Yep…I’m a red giant and I’m planning on taking over Planet Earth. Yes, I’ve been reading too many science magazines.

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