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I’ve been struggling with some newly learned information today from a close friend. It’s put me in a funk while I search my brain trying to understand her reasoning. Understanding and reconciling are different from acceptance. I accept what she’s doing but my system is out of sorts with it. To say the least. I’ve been consumed by her decision all day.

My close female friend is voting for Donald Trump. I hyperventilate typing that sentence. She’s an intelligent, kind, talented, lovely person with high emotional intelligence I’d say. I often gain a different perspective of things when we talk. But not today. Today I’m flummoxed, deflated and depressed.

She’s a devout Christian, one who participates in Bible study each week. And she believes that Jesus chooses broken people when he wants his work to be done. And that belief allows her to vote for Donald Trump to be President of the United States. Yup.

I’ve tried to counter that argument, haven’t and won’t succeed. After everything she knows about what kind of person he really is – how he cheats, scams, avoids taxes, demeans women, forces himself on women, cheats on his wives – not to mention his temperament, bullying, lying viciously, multiple bankruptcies, lawsuits, knowing absolutely nothing about economic and foreign affairs and not having the patience, or interest to learn – she’s voting for him.

So now it’s my problem to handle. I’m a person fiercely driven by principles. While I’m not sure I could ever have an abortion, I absolutely believe that others should have the right to make that choice themselves. I’m not gay or a transsexual, but that doesn’t pre-empt my feeling that those gender identity people have the same inherent rights I do. I think that’s what Jesus taught – love, compassion and forgiveness.  I know she feels differently. She’s a bible literalist I think, though I’ve never been to her bible study group. And it’s those issues and other “family values” that’s driving her vote. Never mind that Trump is not Christian and that he’s the antithesis of Jesus Christ. There’s nothing noble about that man. And yet he will get her vote.

This election season has agitated my constitution. Other than Trump’s cult members I can’t understand why anyone would think he’s fit for the highest post in the world. Donald Trump? Are you kidding me? Would the same people vote for Charles Manson if he ran on the Republican ticket? Or Hitler? Even the Republican brass is renouncing him as their choice.  Where have we gone as a country?

Alas, this is my problem, the need for people to look at the facts, objectively. Maybe if we had a less divisive opponent, someone other than Hillary, maybe it wouldn’t be so hard for people to take their heads out of the sand. I won’t go into why there’s such hatred and distrust directed at Hillary – just suffice it to say that the smear campaign lasting years and years has been effective.  Forget all her years of family and children activism, and her successful track record.  The haters hate.

I put this out to the universe from the depths of my soul….

Please let the vast majority of people and delegates elect Hillary. The planet is in peril otherwise and the rest of the world knows it.

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There is so much hullabaloo over Sheryl Sandburg’s book, “Lean In”that I decided to look through it to understand reasons for the fuss.

Much of her premise, that women essentially underestimate and undersell themselves, is familiar to me –  having either read about it over time or witnessed those characteristics in person throughout my career.  I’m among those of my gender mates labeled “ambitious” and have been ‘affectionately’ called a bitch from time to time because I accept authority easily and hold others accountable.  Those traits are more difficult to come by in women and I don’t know whether that’s due to nature or nurture, frankly.  But I can say that I’ve identified more strongly with men than women over the years and seem to have nurtured more professional friends of the opposite sex.

It’s true that men are raised with the expectation of earning a living and supporting their families.   The more money he can make, the better lifestyle he can provide.  They’re also taught to be strong and to assume power as their birthright.  I’m talking power over their destiny because that’s the role of a man.  Of course there are always going to be the artistic types who defy society’s expectations.  It’s my guess that swimming against that tide for those men can probably be as difficult as for the woman who aspires to take control of her life and aim for an office in the corporate executive suite.  Both are defying stereotypes and that usually involves swimming upstream.

But I think there’s a real distinction to be made between men assuming power as a birthright and actually having real self-confidence.  Portraying strength is an image they learn to cultivate.  But dig a little deeper and discover that many of those fellas don’t actually feel strong inside.  Some drink to ease their tension and muster courage.  And though Sandburg attributes self-doubt to women, there are many men who also feel like frauds internally and learn to compensate for that by networking with other men to create quid pro quo relationships.  You do this for me … I do this for you.  It’s the way of their corporate world – developing allies to protect their backs and help them succeed.  It’s their understood reality.

Sandberg writes that men will attribute their success to innate qualities and skills.  Women will say they got lucky, or worked really hard or had help from others.  When asked about failure a man will say he wasn’t interested enough or didn’t study enough where women might attribute failure to an inherent lack of ability.

I’d like to suggest that only women are telling the truth in those two examples.  Because men are raised to “fake it till you make it” it’s natural for him to continue to put his best foot forward to preserve his image while women are better able to absorb what could be the objective truth.  Nobody reaches the pinnacle of a profession alone.  Good timing has always played a role as well as people who’ve helped – either directly or as part of a team.  Think of any successful man in the world, read his bio and examine the team around him throughout his career.  Smart leaders choose the right people with whom to surround themselves.

The fact is, corporate America is used to having men in charge.  There’s a style of conducting business that’s well suited to a man’s psyche because men created it.  Women have always had to fit in to play the game.  And some women are comfortable with that role while others aren’t and there are plenty of guys who will never become part of the executive suite either.

My mother always told me that I could do anything I wanted and she ‘knew’ I’d be successful at it.  My father owned a business and was clearly comfortable being in charge.  Maybe as a combination of nurture and nature I’ve also been comfortable as a leader.  And yes, with hard work, good timing, smart choices, help from people who believed in me and success over the years I’ve achieved a professional self-confidence too.  But more important to me than climbing to the very top of an organization was keeping a close distance to the product we were creating, in my case, television projects.  That’s where I found my joy and the idea of being relegated to a business office overseeing a couple of levels of management who managed the product was not my idea of fun.  So I climbed as high as I wanted to and the money I made was better than most, certainly good enough to pay for all my expenses and all of my conservative wants.  I’ve never been a big acquirer.

So a corner office with a view in the executive wing was not what I aspired to.  And there are plenty of other women … and men … whose passions lead them in other directions too.  We don’t all have to run companies to make a difference in lives and our communities.  As long as we’re paying attention to the beat of our own drums and fearlessly living our lives, I believe we’re leaning in.

The real take away from her book might be an invitation to women to dream big, feel their fears and do it anyway.  That’s what most of the male species does and women are equally capable as they.

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