Mental health, like any disease does not discriminate between rich and poor, black and white, celebrity and non-celebrity.
Five years ago today, mental health took the life of one of our most beloved performers: Robin Williams.
He was more than a comic who could do impressions. He could play drama, he could play comedy and everything in between. Underneath all of his performances was a huge heart that was evident to anyone in the audience.
This past week, his eldest son, Zak, spoke to CNN about his father.
When it comes to those who are no longer with us because of suicide, there are always questions that start with what if. While the question is certainly valid, at a certain point, we need to ask other questions. I firmly believe that we need to not only accept mental health issues as a valid disease, but treat it as a valid disease.
When confronting a problem, the first and hardest step is to ask for help. The issue with mental health is that many are afraid to ask for help because of the backlash they may receive.
Mental health and the diseases that fall under the categories of mental illness are real. The sooner we accept that, stop stigmatizing mental illness and open the doors to treatment, the better our country and our world will be.
When a President or any political leader refers to someone or something as “enemy of the people”, one probably thinks that this person is not democratically elected. They probably think that this person is a dictator or autocrat, ruling a country in which human rights and the rights of the average citizen barely exist or don’t exist at all.
This phrase was uttered by you know who, who somehow was elected as President of the United States in 2016.
The thing that struck about Mr. Acosta’s story is that it is eerily reminiscent of the early years of a dictatorship. My hope is that this book inspires the reader to think for themselves and make a decision about their political future. Do they want to live in a thriving and growing democracy? Or do they want to continue to let you know who take us to h*ll in a handbasket?
We all make mistakes, that is part and parcel of being human. But what happens when that mistake leads us to jail and years later, we have to look at the people who were affected by that mistake?
That is the concept of the CNN program, The Redemption Project with Van Jones. The premise of the program is as follows: host Van Jones tells the story of a victim (and/or their family), the perpetrator who was jailed for their crime and their face to face meeting years after the crime was committed.
I have watched the first two episodes and I have found the program to be compelling and worthy of an hour of watching television. When we make a mistake, the first step is to admit that we made it. First steps are often the hardest to make, especially when that mistake leads one person jailed and another person (or their family) forever affected by that mistake.
The theme of the show is restorative justice, leading to a conversation with the person convicted of the crime and the person and/or their loved ones who were affected by the crime In the two episodes that I have watched, I have seen a spark of hope. While there is no way to go back in time and undo what has been done, both parties walk away with a sense of peace, perhaps a little understanding and a human connection that goes beyond the general idea of a victim and a perpetrator.
I recommend it.
The Redemption Project with Van Jones airs on Sunday night at 9pm.
There is an old saying: we can never understand another person until we walk a mile in their shoes:
Lisa Ling‘s CNN documentary program, This is Life with Lisa Ling (2014-Present) is the next best thing to walking a mile in another person’s shoes. Every episode tells the story of Americans who see the world from a similar perspective. No issue is off limits. This past season, Ling took the viewers on a journey to meet the children of killers, visited a town full of psychics and explored how the damaging the legal system can be toward fathers in the process of divorce.
I find this program to be fascinating. It is fascinating because we are all human beings, but we frequently don’t see that common humanity. This is Life with Lisa Ling allows the viewers to see the subjects of each episode as fellow human beings, opening the door to conversation, common ground and mutual respect, in spite of our differences.
The cornerstone of any thriving democracy is freedom of the press. When this freedom is severely curtailed or taken away, that is a sure of sign of a dictatorship.
Last week, The White House revoked CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s press pass. Today a judge reinstated it on the basis that revoking the press pass infringed on Mr. Acosta’s First Amendment rights. Standing behind Mr. Acosta was not just CNN, but other media outlets, including Fox News.
How long before the man-child who unfortunately bears the title of President Of The United States take a tantrum on Twitter?
Anyone who knows me or has read this blog knows that I completely disagree with anything and everything that comes from Fox News. However in this case, I have to applaud whomever made the decision to stand up for freedom of the press. When this essential freedom is denied to one, it is denied to all. We can disagree from here to eternity about who is right and who is wrong when it comes to politics. I have no issue with that, the ability to disagree but still live with one another is what makes America a great country. But when it comes to our basic freedoms, if we don’t stand up for them, they could disappear and we would never know it.
Expanding one’s world by traveling outside of their home and comfort zone is often the way that many of us grow and change.
Starting in 2013, the late chef and author Anthony Bourdain took viewers around the world in his CNN show Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown. Instead of hitting the usual tourist spots, viewers followed Bourdain as he visited parts of the world that don’t often receive a lot of fanfare. During these travels, he would immerse himself in the culture of the people he was visiting and joined them for a meal.
Sadly, Anthony Bourdain took his own life earlier this year. The final season premiered in September, remembering the man who brought the world into living rooms of his viewers. What I loved about this show was that it introduced viewers to people and cultures that they might have ever been introduced to otherwise. To me at least, it was a reminder that at the end of the day, we are all human beings.
When one takes the mantle of political leadership, there are certain qualities that we expect this person to have. He or she is expected to be mature, level-headed, thoughtful, introspective and basically act like an adult.
After the results of the 2018 Midterm Elections were announced, you know who took an adult temper tantrum. As a result of this temper tantrum, Jeff Sessions is out of a job and CNN reporter Jim Acosta has lost his White House press credentials.
Since Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation, his former boss put on a target on his back. Truth be told, I had a feeling that Jeff Sessions would be fired at some point, it was just a question of when rather than if. That point came last night.
For the most part, you know who has had it out for most media outlets since nearly the beginning of his time in office, if not sooner during the campaign. Jim Acosta was doing what every journalist does, making sure that those in power remember who is truly in charge. But he who shall not be named does not like those who do not kiss his feet and proclaim him to be the G-d he thinks he is.
We have two years until the 2020 Presidential election. In the next two years, I hope this country remembers what it stands for and why it was founded. Otherwise, the America that I know and love may turn into a thing of the past.
In an effort to encourage Republican voters to vote in two weeks, the current resident of The White House described Democrats as a mob.
History tells us that there is a correlation between words and deeds, especially in politics.
The major headline of the day is that bombs were mailed to the New York City office of CNN, to the suburban New York homes of the Clinton’s and George Soros, and to the Washington DC home of Barack Obama.
Thankfully, no one was hurt or killed. The authorities were able to intercept the bombs before they could do any real damage.
We have a tradition in this country that allows different points of view (especially when it comes to politics) to be heard and respected with equal measure. That being said, it’s fine to disagree with someone when it comes to politics, it’s not acceptable to kill or destroy because of those political beliefs. What happened today speaks volumes about the current state of American politics and more importantly, it points to the person who is encouraging such acts.
If America had an official royal family, the Kennedy family would be it.
They have it all: glamour, class, fame, beauty, power, tragedy, etc.
For the last two weeks, CNN has aired parts one and two of a miniseries entitled American Dynasties: The Kennedys. It started with Joseph Kennedy, the family patriarch named as ambassador to the Court of St. James in the late 1930’s.
Narrated by Martin Sheen, the series contains intimate family home movies, interviews with journalists, historians, family members and those who are/were close to the Kennedy family.
I am thoroughly enjoying this series. It humanizes a family that many Americans put on a pedestal and allows the audience to see the subjects as fully formed human beings, instead of references in a history book.
I recommend it.
American Dynasties: The Kennedys airs Sunday nights at 9:00 on CNN.