The ground is saturated with water, and puddles reflect the deep blue sky above. It’s too cold to write you from the porch this morning, so I’m huddled in my art studio in the chair normally used by models. My heater is blowing warm air over me as I try to shed the goosebumps from the cold. It’s chilly and almost freezing. Fall in Austin lasted less than a week, dropping from the 90s to the 80s and then to the high 30s. The leaves haven’t even changed. I’m hopeful that later on color will come and the temperature will return to the 70s.
Though we’ve been back less than three weeks, it seems the lake was an eternity ago. I miss its deep green pines, and the scent of pine in the air. I miss our rustic old 140-year-old home, which has no road access, and of course I miss our friends there. But summers are short and life continues elsewhere. And it’s good to be home.
Near us on a neighboring lake where we spend our summers, residents have hosted many prominent guests, including every sitting president since Eisenhower, Supreme Court justices, secretaries of state, prime ministers, foreign dignitaries, and actors. About 25 years ago, Gorbachev was a guest of a local resident.
From Russia with Love
Following the visit of the then-Soviet leader, who at the time was in the midst of perestroika, his hostess was asked by someone … “Would you trust him with the lives of your grandchildren?” Her answer was that he was very charming, very competent and engaging, a remarkable human, and very impressive, but no, she would not trust him with the lives of her grandchildren.
Sometimes questions clarify everything. In spite of all of Gorbachev’s accomplishments, that question brought out the truth.
A Big Week
This week each of us is faced with a decision. Many believe it’s a life-or-death decision for this country. And if you ask most, in both parties, the world ends if their hero is not elected. Sadly, decisions like this are often more emotional than they are practical. Our emotions control us, and sometimes I catch myself making decisions because I don’t like someone’s personality, their demeanor, or the way they talk. Yet if I had to put priority on what really matters, the emotional reasons would fall toward the bottom of the list.
Stomping If They Don’t Get Their Way
As always, I avoid sharing my political beliefs or opinions, and I’m turned off by celebrities who try to sway voters with their influence. (Though I’m no celebrity — it would be shallow of me to think people could be swayed by my influence.) I have more respect for individual thinking than to believe you can’t think for yourself. Even celebrities who have threatened to move out of the U.S. are just stomping their feet because they might not get their way. They always threaten, but they never do it, and none of us care anyway. I’d be more heartbroken over losing a neighbor I loved than someone I like in the movies who I don’t even know.
On Tuesday our index fingers will waver between which button to push, which lever to flip. And it’s important to remember the weight of your decision. It’s not a casual decision, and it should not be based on who has the best ads, who has the most negative things to say about the other, or some probably-misinformed opinion shared with anger on social media. One Twitter post said it best: “If one negative ad can sway you as a voter, you’re not thinking about this deeply enough.”
The Death of Journalism
Though non-political, I am disturbed by the polarized nature of information. Balance does not exist anymore. We tend to watch one outlet or another that supports only our own viewpoint. None seem to represent both points of view — though that’s what true journalism once did — and we are all worse off for it. Those of us who try to do balanced homework may not be able to find reliable information anywhere. When was the last time you tuned in to hear a different point of view and were willing to just listen and not judge?
So, since unbiased research via the media doesn’t seem possible, how do we decide which button to push?
Is this the time for the question about trusting the candidates with the lives of your grandchildren or future grandchildren?
You see, the weight of your decision comes down to that — with every vote, no matter what party. All issues, social issues, party leanings, courts, and future decisions boil down to our future, the future of our kids and grandkids and great-grandkids. And it’s about our own lives going forward.
Most people put less time into their voting decisions than into choosing from a menu at dinner. My friend and mentor Keith always reminds me that decisions of importance require thinking time, and critical questions.
The Future of Your Family
If you think of each question you have with the grandchildren and future generations test, it may help bring clarity to your decision making. Thinking in questions helps me remove the emotion from my own decisions.
If you knew someone who wanted to have control over the future of your children and their children — even a little bit of control — wouldn’t you have questions for them? Maybe dozens of questions?
Think about the questions you had when you were choosing a preschool, a music teacher, a coach, or a college. What may be at stake now is the way your children will live their lives for years to come. Think of the questions you’d want to ask about that, and think about how the candidates for president and vice president (this is crucial this time, given the ages of the presidential candidates) would answer. Could they show you a future your children and their children can thrive in?
Bad or Worse?
Here is the reality. No one in their right mind would run for office. People do it for a lot of reasons, and too often for gain or power or other less than noble goals. Therefore our choices are not always great. But, frankly, I don’t care if I like a candidate as a person, that’s my emotions talking. I care if they will protect the future for my grandkids.
Bear the Pain
Last week I talked about following your own heart, and not doing things because they’ve always been done a certain way. And though you may think one vote won’t matter in your state, it will. And none of us have a right to complain if we are not voters. So stand in the rain, wait in line in the hot sun, do whatever it takes to make your voice heard. Don’t start thinking your vote doesn’t matter because you heard rumors, polls, or press reports. Vote anyway. And don’t let anyone stop you, intimidate you, or make you think bad things will happen if you vote one way or the other. And, when listening to others, ask yourself if they are the person you would take advice about for the future of your grandchildren.
Vote with thought behind it. Know what you’re voting for. Think about the future for your kids and grandkids even if you are young. Listen to your heart, but not your emotions alone. Ask critical questions. They will serve you well.
PS: For 221 days we’ve been “on the air” for you (Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter) at noon ET with me interviewing guest artists and at 3 p.. with art instruction videos. Join us. Go to any of those platforms and search my name or StreamlineArtVideo.
Last week’s Realism Live was the world’s largest virtual art conference. It was a huge hit. We had lots of fun, including bringing Bob Ross in for a visit from Heaven. You can see it here.
Now we’re launching the world’s largest watercolor conference with the best watercolor artists in the world. It takes place in January, but the price increases on Black Friday. Check it out at www.watercolorlive.com. We even have a Beginner’s Day.
Politic is a headache, better of without it
Great article, Eric.
Thanks for sharing and having the freedom to do so.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and wisdom with such grace. May God Bless you ✝️🕊.
Thank you Eric. Very important and well stated non-political message! Our votes count in securing the future we want for our children and grandchildren.
Would it be possible for you to offer an alternative of listening to this, as well as reading ??
Excellent advice Eric. Thanks.
Thank you Eric. As usual you have hit the nail on the head.
Powerful message, Eric! Yes, my grandchildren are precious to me and I think of them a lot….about their future, and about what I hope to still give to them. I love them so dearly! All are adults now and a couple are engaged to be married. So I am also thinking about my GREAT-grandchildren to come, as well!! And I feel that it is a great responsibility, of those of us who have years to look back on, to pass along truth and sanity and a God-based morality. (Think it was G.K. Chesterton who said, “When a man stops believing in God, he doesn’t believe in nothing, he believes in anything.”) Thank you for this insightful message this morning and for the SPECTACULAR week in the ADKs!! May you and your family be blessed.
Good morning Eric. Thank you for speaking with wisdom, grace & strength. I was so looking forward to having some chats like this at FCW but I didn’t make it. I’ve really appreciated your comments lately about life. Keep using your influence to bring peace and clarity. Praying you have many years ahead to continue. We are here for such a time as this.
Good article, with the world in the mess it is, this sort of sober thought should be put into our votes. So many vote for celebrities, or the good hair one, or that’s who dad voted for etc. Sometimesi wonder if people read anything any more or do they just sit and play video games or follow rag mags or worse some of those hiddiest talk shows.
Guess my age is showing but we learned in school through discussions on relative subjects and were taught to think things through. I worry what the future decade will be like. I do worry about my grandson ‘s future . And his maybe children.
Hopefully common sense will once again overcome this woke culture seem to be stalled in.
I had met you when I went to two of the events in the Adirondacks. My friend and I had a great time. We were the two gals that actually got another artist to sit and model for us in the evenings way back after the first price change. It was also the time you introduced Karen Hitt who I knew from Venice, Florida. You probably do not even remember with so much happening in your life. I had a fantastic time. Thank you for that.
Well, back to my reason for this note. I try to ask questions in what is called Next Door to test the waters of the public or stir the minds. What you wrote is what I try to convey. Think, ask questions even asking on existence of God. Glenn Beck brought those words to me and I ask that of others.
Today I read a few of the replies and was struck by one sentence “I chose to turn it off.” It was the same words my past friends preached to me. Just turn off the news. Do not watch watch is happening in Congress. Put on music and just paint. Today these same people are still turning off the news and voting by their “emotions” as they tell me. My opinion: if you do not know what is happening, you will be fooled into voting for the stupid.
Good focus & advice!
Thank you Eric; … Timely and very well said!
Vetoing the decision to have my morning coffee outside after the humidity blanketed my face when I opened the lanai door, I chose instead to sit in my favorite chair in my art studio and enjoy the morning sun on the palm trees across the golf course in my backyard through the sliding glass doors. While reading your Sunday Coffee article, I was struck by your description of now being in Austin, the chilly air, the sudden drop in temperature and I was once again reminded that people all over America and the world are seeing their world from the lens of their own morning coffee spot. We are so much the same and yet we share differences. Where did we lose that strong frayed thread that holds us together? That reality that reminds us that we truly are much the same. Politics, cable news, religion are always pulling at us like the arrogant bully on the playground. It takes me back to 6th grade and “King of the Mountain.” I chose to turn it off, to keep my broad brushstroke view of everyone’s life being considered just as I told my children to sit down and have their lunch with the new kid in class. Never lose your humanity, always be thoughtful and always, always be kind. Those that have voting choices, always always vote. If you don’t, you have no right to complain because your vote does count, no matter what the politicians, cable news outlets tell you. We all matter, our votes matter and the lives of all of our children and grandchildren matter. Thank you Eric for this lovely read every Sunday morning! Now I’m going to enjoy another cup of coffee!
Hi, I am from Canada and I love to read your Sunday Coffee Emails. What is important when you vote is to go beyond appearances as politicians put a lot of energy on their image and they have a big team behind to tell them what to do. I trust the people who don’t hide who they are, who don’t pretend to know it all and have good instinct and most importantly who demonstrate so much courage by facing the dark forces no matter how bad they look when they do it. We can see clearly who is being manipulated or not. Politicians are the reflection of society, so we all need to understand that changes need to start by looking at our lifestyle, our friends and our values. We need to realize that we are materialists who don’t want to give up anything like the second car, home, vacation, big salary so until we make some sacrifice and take responsibility for what is happening in this world, until we evolve, we can’t expect anyone to change this world. It is on us all.
Well said. I have told many that you don’t vote for the person or the party. We must be educated and vote for the person’s platform–ideas and goals. It is important to understand which personalities and political figures support the candidate. That can give a clearer picture of the candidate’s plans and vision for the future of our country. Candidates often have unspoken platforms and pressures that can be discovered by the company they keep.
Wisdom and discernment! Thank you!
Sunday mornings have always been a favourite of mine, a morning to sleep in, read the Sunday paper, the one morning a week I feel I can indulge in a strip of bacon. Since discovering Sunday Coffee with Eric, it’s even better. Thank you Eric for your peaceful words of truth.