Friday, July 30, 2010

Sign Waving

In case you haven't picked up on the themes from my latest blog posts, LTIA has renewed a political fervor in me and as such I've decided to get involved with one of the local mid-term election campaigns.

Her name is Kelly Emerson and she's running for Island County Commissioner for Dist #3. Here's the link to her blog.

Today was out first sign waving effort. I live in an area where we do mail in ballots and so making sure that we get out there as people are going home and will receive their ballots is part of the plan. Who can miss the bright yellow:)

It was a beautiful sunny day, perfect for sign waving, thing is though that I was the only one out there with the signs. Yup, just yours truly. There were supposed to be more of us, I had people RSVP, but something must have gotten lost in translation. But it's hard to miss someone waving a bright yellow sign on the corner of the only major 2 lane HWY on the Island, in front of the major National Park. I'm just sayin'

In any case, I'll be out there again for the next couple weeks as long as we're in primary season. I hope that I get a couple more bodies next week. It really matters that people volunteer. The only way that officials can "hear" your voice is by letting them know what you stand for and becoming active. Otherwise that's how people become doormats, letting people dictate to them how their lives should be run and what they should and shouldn't care about. I'm also helping out with a couple of fund raisers for Barbra Bailey, our WA state representative in Olympia, and I have stepped up to try and be the secretary for the Central Whidbey Republican Women. It's gonna be a long election season, but it will be worth it when we have fiscally responsible and sound representatives leading our state.

Monday, July 26, 2010

LTIA Part 5...Wandering thru Wednesday

Half way to graduation...

Memory verse. . .Psalm 11:3 - If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?

We were all set to meet with the State representative for Ohio, Jim Jordan, on the steps of the Capital building. But the meeting times kept getting pushed forward, so that we were practically running to the metro and running off of it trying to get ahead of the crowd of people. We missed him though, by about 5 minutes. While it was a bit disappointing we did manage to get some great pics on the steps of the Capital. Some people just look political, don't you agree?

Though we were a little bummed about having to rush around and still miss out it did make it possible for us to get to our next destination on time. Where were we going now? The Macedonia Embassy. Here we met with Ambassador Zoran Jolevski. He showed us slides of his country and spoke to us about their economy and political system. Macedonia has a tax system that taxes everybody straight across the board. When they went to this system they realized that people were no longer trying to cheat on their taxes an because people were paying them they were actually about to close their deficit substantially. Hmmm...ideas? They also have it set up so that women who become mothers have an average of 6-9 month maternity leave, but the more Children you have the longer your maternity leave is able to be. Oh, and it's all paid leave to!

After the presentation they hospitably opened up their staff and Embassy for lunch. Everyone got to eat except for me because it was Pizza, but they broke out the china and everything for the occasion! We took a picture with him before he had to leave, it was also published in our local newspaper in a story that Levi wrote (here's the
link for you to check out for yourself), and then we were off to the Metro again to go back to LI for some more lectures and dinner, which ironically was pizza again for the group. They were definitely on carb overload.

Meg getting interviewed
The Embassy before it was renovated
After the renovation
Our evening lectures were brought to us by Maureen Wiebe, from the American Association of Christian Schools, and Seton Motley, from Less Government & News Busters. Maureen spoke to us about how the government has started to gain control of education and the effects that have come about from that. She gave a really great example of how we can get involved, by citing Daniel and his friends as examples. How even though the were held captive in Babylon they were still able to maintain their testimonies. The same could be said about Joseph as well, and his testimony was so trusted that he got to basically run Potiphars entire estate, and eventually the entire land of Egypt. Seton Motley then brought us some disturbing information on how the sitting government wants to legislate away our first amendment rights. He was very effective in getting his points across an errr...colorful manner, but the information was very good to have and it's something that Americans need to be on the watch out for.
Maureen Weibe

After the lectures we broke away to work in our team projects. At the beginning of the week we were put into groups and asked to pick two topics from the Herritage Foundations 10 Transformational Initiatives:

-First Principles
-American Leadership
-Energy & Environment
-Enterprise & Free Markets
-Family & Religion
-Health Care
-Protect America
-Rule of Law

We then had to research them and present them before the rest of the class at the end of the week. My group chose Energy & Environment and Enterprise & Free Markets.

With Wednesday behind us we were excited about the close of the week. We were all tired, but the experience was bringing us all closer together.

Friday, July 16, 2010

LTIA Part 4...Trodding through Tuesday

If we thought our feet hurt after our tour of the monuments and standing around the Holocaust museum we had no idea what was in store for them. However, we arose on Tuesday looking forward to the days events. On a personal note I was super tired from the previous evenings gab session. I wasn't a part of it, I unsuccessfully was trying to sleep through it. Finally around 1 I had to turn around and sush them all to bed. It was rediculous, but a couple cups of coffee and a pep talk from some of the staff members and I was good to go.

My memory verse for Tuesday was Psalm 33:4 - "For the word of the Lord is right; and all his works are done in truth."

Some of our lectures that we had were on Secular Humanism and Creation vs. Evolution.

It's the events of the day however that were the most exciting for me. We split off into a couple of different groups based mostly on whether or not we had a meeting time for our senators. Fortunatlely for the SPG's Levi took charge of that and called ahead to make our appointment time.

Our first stop though was at the Faith in Action building for a meeting with Tim Gueglin from Focus on the Family. The walk to the building was a hike from METRO and in order to make sure that we arrived on time we were walking at a pretty speedy pace, which only helped my make-up to melt, but once we arrived at our destination, the AC was nice, and as you can see below the brownstone that houses FIA was lovely. Mr. Gueglin spoke to us about the NEED for strong families in America and more pointedly the NEED for strong fatherly leadership. In the absences of true leadership people will look to anysource that they can to lead them, like government programs that take of their lives for them...hmmm, sound familiar to anyone. He also encouraged us to try and make a difference where we can by getting involved. Part of that naturally comes with knowing what the issues are that effect people and their lives.

After our audience with him we made our way to Senator Cantwells office. Honestly I had no idea what to expect in meeting her. Already knowing that we have two different world views I wasn't sure how exactly that would go down. To say that she was cordial to us would be about the best that I could say. Though she was a little bowled over that she had 10 constituents from he state in her office, much to her chagrin she realized that we were not on her side. We had unanimously come to a decision that Tim would be our intial spokes person. He wasn't entirely thrilled with the idea of meeting her, and prior to meeting her he asked me how he should open it up. Well if there's one thing that I learned while being an enlisted person in the Navy, and being a woman in a mans world, it's that flattery will get you everywhere. Nothing overdone mind you, but if you find yourself in a conversation with someone who is in a position of authority like that the best way to engraciate yourself is to start with a compliment i.e. "Thank you for your service" something to that end. But he did a fine job of opening up the discussion.

Prior to us leaving for the day we were encouraged by the staff, on behalf of Concerned Women for America, to lobby against the passing of the Burris Ammendment. This ammendment was made by the Illinois Senator and it's a provision that would allow for abortions to start taking place on military bases, Bill No. NDAA-FY2011. For many years this has been against the DOD but alas that is not the way that our current leadership wants to see things go. And while it's advocate would have you believe that the ladies that get pregnant in the military have no options that is just not true. They have them, and it involves going off base, and in the case of over seas assignments being sent back to the states. However, this should not be an expense that is put on the burden of the tax payers to foot the bill for, which we will. So this was our mission: Lobby with Senator Cantwell against the Burris Ammendment.

Tim started to, but knowing that she wasn't going to budge he didn't hit it to hard, and instead started to talk to her about energy alternatives. Then he opened up the floor to the rest of us. Nicki wanted to bend her ear on the Durbin Exchange Ammendment, which would make it hard for credit unions to offer the free services that they do to their customers. They would basically have to start charging customers fees on their debit purchases, this was all done to help offset the cost of the bail outs. One thing that though, credit unions did not accept any bail out money and they did not help contribute to the financial melt down that other banking institutions did, because they did not lend to their customers irresponsibly. Nicki works for a credit union so that was her platform. Once she was done though I jumped in on the issue of the Burris Ammendment. My experience as a woman in the military put me in a unique position to speak not only from my faith POV but from one of practical knowledge of how it would affect the military in the long term should this ammendment pass.

Honestly I had no idea what I was going to say when I opened my mouth, and she did try and sway me with her own false flattery saying that I looked to young to have served in the military, please!!! Really, give me a break! 31 looks a whole lot different than 18 does and once I figured out that she was trying to throw me off my game something other than myself took over and I went to work, talking about how to begin with sex isn't even allowed in the barracks and then how and ammendment like this will have repercussions with command readiness. Seriously, it may have been my voice coming out, but those words weren't mine I barely remember all that I said. What I do remember distinctly is that the more glazed over her eye became the more I wanted to sit there and continue lobbying on behalf of the unborn lives that would suffer from this ammendment. I may not have been able to get through, but after that I was super pumped and wanted more. "Carolyn Pivarnik goes to Washington".
Once we all regrouped it was time to go to the USS Barry at the Naval shipyard. Which may seem close on a map, but not when you have to hike there, and yes I mean hike. Maggie was a trooper, she was in heels all day! I looked down at my feet as we were walking and my ankles were the size of grapefruits, no joke. They were huge! I sported cankles for the rest of the week. But those that had never been on a Naval ship before enjoyed the visit, we got there right before they secured for the day. I chose to stay on deck instead of move and melt some more from the heat. Resting in the shade of the battleships gun I talked with Tim R. about his experience with going to talk to the humanists. As an advanced student that was what he got to do that afternoon. Personally, I'd rather lobby, but it was an interesting experience at best for that team of students.

We returned to LI for dinner and fellowship. Our dogs were barking and Miss Nancy, upwards in her 80's, bless her heart made it through the whole day without complaining (she even got a ride from a kind stranger that saw our group) which definitely put things into perspective, but that knowledge still didn't do much to alleviate the pain from my blisters. However, if I lost sleep the previous night, this night more than made up for it. I forgot to add though that the girls dorm is right underneath a dance club. So every night we were accosted with the ever changing beat of 80's hip hop, country, and other various dance music. It was a flash back for me most nights of the party life style that I used to live in, every night that is except for Latin night, but still it was only by the saving of my MP3 player and some Joshua Bell (violinist) that made the reverberating beat drown out of my head and help me close my eyes for som much needed rest. Wednesday was just a few hours away, and no less eventful.

Whidbey News Time publishes LTIA article

Here is the write up from the Whidbey News Times, just in case you didn't click on the attachment in my last post.

Friday, July 9, 2010

LTIA Part 3...Monday's Martyrdom

Day number 3 was off to a bang to start off with for we started with the pledge of allegiance.

I pledge allegiance to the flag,
of the United States of America.
And to the republic for which it stands,
one nation under God, with liberty
and justice for all.

Really, who doesn't get invigorated by simply saying the pledge of allegiance? Sadly I remember it slowly getting faded out in school while I was growing up. Sure we had a flag hanging right above the blackboard, but little was done to recognize it. Sadly here is an article that talks about a town in Massechusettes that won't allow the pledge to even be said/

Memory verses for the day, Isaiah 40:31 ~ But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up their wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. & 2 Samuel 23:3 ~ He that ruleth over men, must be just, ruling in the fear of God.

This being the first full day we first had our lectures on the Evidence for God, the Resurrection and in Inspiration of the Bible. Bro Ken also brought us a lesson on martyrdom, in preparation for our trip to the Holocaust Museum (you won't be seeing a lot of pictures from here because photography was not allowed, but here are some pics of us waiting outside).

When you enter the museum the first thing that they do is hand you an identification card. For the afternoon you are assigned a person that was affected by the Holocaust. Some are survivors, some are not, some (like mine) were able to escape the Nazi regime. The identification card takes you through 3 different stages of the persons life during the Holocaust. These stages correspond to the 3 levels that make up the time line of the museum. That way you can try and experience the museum on a more personal level than other museums. They also lined us up single file and escorted us to the elevators. From beginning to end the curators have the museum set up so that you can try and get the full "experience", which included shoving 40+ people into the elevator that came to pick us up, not unlike the cattle cars that the Jews experienced on their ways to the concentration camps. The person escorting us tried to claim that this wasn't the design, but please it was, and really why hide it. It's a very effective tool in trying to communicate what it would have been like.

My person was Dora Unger and here is her story.

Dora was born January 7, 1925 in Essen Germany. Dora, her parents, brother, aunt, uncle, and two cousins lived together in her grandfather's home in Essen. The Ungers were an observant Jewish family, and when Dora was 8, she began to regularly attend meetings of Brit HaNoar, a religious youth organization.

1933-39: In October 1938 a teacher, with tears in her eyes, came to me at the municipal pool, saying "Jews cannot swim here anymore." Just weeks later, on November 9, Jews were arrested and their property destroyed. A neighbor tried to protect us, but that night as our family huddled together, Nazis spotted our house. Suddenly, an axe flew through the window, landing on my head. A few days later, we fled for the Netherlands.

1940-45: In Amsterdam, as refugees, my parents were not permitted to work and so could not provide for me and my brother. I was sent by a Jewish aid organization to the Buergerweeshuis, an orphanage which had 80 Jewish refugee children. Just after the Germans invaded the Netherlands in May 1940, "Mama Wysmueller," a Dutch woman who worked to rescue thousands of children by arranging their passage to England, came and told all of us to get dressed. We were taken by bus to a pier and put on the Bodengraven, a boat. Dora spent the remainder of the war in England. Her parents and brother perished at the camps of Sobibor and Auschwitz. Dora emigrated to Israel in 1946.

There were quite a few moving displays. Anything that was blocked by a gray slab wall was only to be viewed if the person walking through chose to. There was sensitive material behind those walls. Like behind one was a video of the experiments that Dr. Mengele performed on the infirmed, the disabled and the children. Very tough. I did look behind all the walls though. Behind one particular wall was a display of shoes that had belonged to people that were sent into the gas chambers. And there was another moving display that was actually broken up between different floors. It was a display of photos from families that had lived in one town in Europe. This town was completely annihilated and all that is left of this place are the photos that were discarded and left behind during this tumultuous period in history. Not since that time has the town ever exhistedd again and no Jews have ever returned to that part of Europe.

I also had a surprisingly personal experience in the museum. With all the other walls that have different names of people that died, or did the killing, at the end of the museum there is a lone white wall that has the names of those people that helped Jews escape the Nazis. Now rewind with me for a second. Over 10 years ago I went to NYC with my drama club and during our tour of Ellis Island I misspelled my families last name in the computer system and was hence unable find my families history of going through there. Well this time I knew how to spell it and decided to take a shot at seeing if I had any distant family members that would have been on the side of the "good guys". And guess what (seriously if you haven't figured it out you haven't been following along)? I did find my families last name on that wall!!! How far removed we are from one another I'll probably never know, but it was pretty amazing to see it up there and to know i came for a family that was willing to do what was right. I am, or at least I like to think of myself, as the type of person that takes up for the "underdog" and fights for what is right. And i like to think that had I been alive back then that I would have done the same thing.

Upon exiting that final display there is a quiet reflection room, where an eternal flame burns in remembrance of the dead and the survivors, and a place for people to sit and contemplate what they had seen and experienced for themselves.

After we returned to LI for dinner and a lecture from the LI staff on social networking. It was an end to our first long and emotional day. The picture below displays the sentiments of what we should all do in order to make sure that something that atrocious never happens again.

On a side note the article that Levi wrote to the local newspaper on our experience was published in today's edition. Here is the link for you to read it for yourself. Good job Levi!


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