25 August 2012


When I was a child, I was taught, “say what you mean, and mean what you say”, so growing up, I was always very conscious of what I said and how I said it. I confess: I wasn’t always very good at doing this correctly – I was (and still am to some degree) a person who opened mouth and words would just fly out – sometimes without rhyme, reason or compassion. This often led me into situations where I had to go, hat in hand, and beg someone’s forgiveness for hurting their feelings. (And let the record show: I HATE having to say, “I’m sorry”). As I got older, especially during my high school years, for the sake of keeping peace at home, many times I would bite my tongue and just say nothing at all. Losing my “voice” like that, was traumatic and (as I found out later) was often misunderstood by my peers as being aloof, standoffish and conceited. ME? Wow. I eventually found my “voice” again, and I am sure that there are some people in my circle of influence who would be very happy if I would sit down, shut up and be quiet. Yeah, not gonna happen.

I am now at a place in my life where I strive to stop, take a breath, and think before I open my mouth, so that WHAT I say is what I MEAN to say. I wish some of the people currently aspiring for political office would utilize this same technique when they speak before public audiences. Ok, before I go on this “rant”, let me say up front, I am politically biased towards the Democratic party, so my vent will be putting the Republican candidates on the “hot seat”, so if those are your political leanings, you probably will not like what I am about to say.

I am tired of people, politicians especially, who say something (that I personally believe is spoken from their hearts and what they truly believe) in public, their statement gets caught on tape/video/film, someone reacts negatively to the statement, and then all of a sudden, the person (politician) is back in front of the cameras “apologizing” for what they said. And then, we – the American public – are supposed to accept their apology and then just move on as if they never said what they said. REALLY?

Did Todd Akin really just use “the wrong word” when he said that a woman cannot get pregnant from a “legitimate” rape? I don’t think so. He and his buddy, the new Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan, co-authored a Congressional bill which tried to define the term “rape” – a bill to determine which “rapes” were “rape-y” enough to qualify as “legitimate” so that permission could be granted to a woman to legally get an abortion. Irregardless of his public appearances since he made the initial statement, Mr. Akin’s record/actions show me that in his mind and heart, he believes that there are “legitimate” rapes. He also believes that there are the “rapes” where the victims just made it up in their own minds for attention, or because they got caught having sex or because, after the initial glow of sex wore off, she decided it wasn’t that great, so let’s just scream “rape”. (Ok, that was snarky, but don’t even get me started on this!)

Did Mitt Romney, the Presidential candidate for the Republican party, not realize that his statement that “no one has ever asked me for MY birth certificate” would immediately make people think about the controversy surrounding President Obama’s birth certificate and citizenship? Of course he did – and no matter what his position has been in the past – I concede that he has never signed on to the “birther movement” – with that one statement, which is now being portrayed as a “joke”, he started up a firestorm again for the people in this country who do not know that Hawaii really is a State and not just a great vacation destination.

In both of these situations, once the media started spinning things out of control for these candidates, they stepped in front of another set of cameras and said, “Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it the way you all took it. I should have used different words.” Whatever. I, for one, am tired of the recent spate of “heartfelt” apologies which don’t amount to a hill of beans. I would have more respect for either of these men if they had just said, “You know what. I said it, I meant it. I’m sorry you don’t agree with my views, but this is what I believe and how I felt.” I still wouldn’t vote for them, but at least I would be under the (false) impression that I could trust that they were men who would speak the truth and stand by their convictions.

When God wrote the Ten Commandments, He included one that says “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” [Exodus 20:16]. We tend to interpret that commandment to mean “don’t lie on your brother” (or maybe that was just me). But expand that a little bit, and I think that God is trying to tell us that we need to watch what we say and how we say it. “Don’t lie” doesn’t only apply to throwing your brother under the bus for breaking your mom’s favorite vase when you know you are the one who broke the vase. It also applies to saying “I’m sorry” when you know you are not, or saying “I didn’t mean it” when you know you did. Finally, Proverbs 16:23 states: “The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips.” In other words, wise men and women are impeccable with their words. I choose to be wise, don’t you?

Be blessed.
©2012 Kristina Smith

01 August 2012


We have all done it. Read an online newspaper article or watched a YouTube® video and posted a comment. Sometimes the comment is complimentary and constructive. Other times, the comments are just downright rude and snarky. But since you can hide behind the cloak of a screen name that does not identify you – with an avatar that makes you seem more mysterious than you are in real life – you feel free to be the person that you would not be if you had to sign your real name to your comment.

Just how responsible are these online publications for the actions – or in this case, words – of the reading and posting public – especially when the writer has not provided their true name or any clue to their real identity? This is an issue facing a lot of newspapers, magazines and other online outlets that cater to the reading tastes of the public. In fact, one newspaper just went to court to defend one online commentator’s right to remain anonymous after a comment they posted was used in a defamation suit against a prominent member of the Republican Party’s political machine. Eventually, the anonymous commenter came forward, but only after the newspaper had already spent a ton of money defending the free speech rights of their online commentators.

It is easier to show your true character, belief system, and general dissatisfaction with a situation when you are hidden within a cloak of anonymity. If no one knows it’s you, then you can say what you truly feel. I have a writer friend who has a blog. I asked her once what the name of it was so that I could subscribe since I know she is a phenomenal writer. She told me that basically I wouldn’t be able to handle her candor on her blog and she would just prefer that I not subscribe. Since I have known this person for decades, I couldn’t imagine anything she could write that I couldn’t handle, but I respected her wishes and drop the subject. However, I still, to this day, wonder about what she writes on that mystery blog somewhere in the ethersphere known as the Internet.

No matter how anonymous we might want to be, there is One Person who always knows our thoughts, ideas, belief systems and character. Our Heavenly Father and Creator is never fooled by screen names and online personas. The Bible tells me that He knows the number of hairs on our heads (Matt. 10:30; Luke 12:7) and in Isaiah 49:1, we are reminded that God called us before we were born and that, from the womb, He called us by name. So, if He knew you (me) then, He definitely knows you (me) now. Shouldn’t that fact alone make us act with kindness and grace, even when we are clothed (from the rest of the world, at least) in anonymity? I think so.

Be blessed.
©2012 Kristina E. Smith