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Snippet of Emerson

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In 1844 Ralph Waldo Emerson published his 2nd collection of Essays.  If you’re familiar with Emerson’s poetry but haven’t read his Essay’s, I highly recommend it. Years ago my wife and I were searching through some old books at a flea market and I uncovered a 1890’s edition of Emerson’s 1st and 2nd collection of essays.  I’ve read them all but the essay on Character I’ve read several times. Since these were written during the 19th Century, the words “man” and “men” are used and women are left out. However, his words apply to individuals of both sexes of course. So, please keep that in mind. The following passages are my litmus test. This is what I strive for every moment of my life.  Shouldn’t we all?

 

“The reason why we feel one man’s presence, and do not feel another’s, is as simple as gravity. Truth is the summit of being: justice is the application of it to affairs. All individual natures stand in a scale, according to the purity of this element in them. The will of the pure runs down from them into other natures, as water runs down from a higher into a lower vessel. This natural force is no more to be withstood, than any other natural force. We can drive a stone upward for a moment into the air, but it is yet true that all stones will forever fall; and whatever instances can be quoted of unpunished theft, or of a lie which somebody credited, justice must prevail, and it is the privilege of truth to make itself believed. Character is this moral order seen through the medium of an individual nature…A healthy soul stands united with the Just and the True, as the magnet arranges itself with the pole, so that he stands to all beholders like a transparent object betwixt them and the sun, and whoso journeys towards the sun, journeys towards that person. He is thus the medium of the highest influence to all who are not on the same level. Thus, men of character are the conscience of the society to which they belong.

The natural measure of this power is the resistance of circumstances. Impure men consider life as it is reflected in opinions, events, and persons. They cannot see the action, until it is done. Yet its moral element pre-existed in the actor, and its quality as right or wrong, it was easy to predict. Everything in nature is bipolar, or has a positive and negative pole. There is a male and a female, a spirit and a fact, a north and a south. Spirit is the positive, the event is the negative. Will is the north, action the south pole. Character may be ranked as having its natural place in the north. It shares the magnetic currents of the system. The feeble souls are drawn to the south or negative pole. They look at the profit or hurt of the action. They never behold a principle until it is lodged in a person. They do not wish to be lovely, but to be loved. The class of character like to hear of their faults: the other class do not like to hear of faults; they worship events; secure to them a fact, a connexion, a certain chain of circumstances, and they will ask no more…”

 

If you’ve read this excerpt do yourself a favor and read it again. For a long time I’ve attempted to put into to words what I look for when I’m considering which public servant to cast my vote for in elections.  I seek individuals with character. And this short section spells it out beautifully. I will continue to use this as a checklist for who to vote for and as a check on my own person. Thanks for reading. 🙂

Be the change…

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Boy, it’s incredibly difficult sometimes isn’t it? It’s a beautiful day, you’re sipping your first cup of coffee ready to take on the world and like a pop-up thunderstorm, something you read, hear or see pops your positive balloon, deflating your rosy outlook in a flash. If you’re like me, this whatever it is, evades your psyche, crowds out good things and gets you thinking about anything BUT good things. I get offended, I become incredulous, exasperated and lost in a sea of Qi killing thoughts and am left feeling helpless.  And I admit, it’s usually about politics.

No matter what side you land on, many of you experience the same thing. We hold on to our beliefs whatever they may be and we defend them relentlessly. Any high school or college debaters know this drill. We do our best to present our side, tear down the other and hopefully convince people our argument is correct.  But, here’s what I’m seeing now; no one is really listening.  And if I’m going to be the change I want to see in the world that’s where I must begin.

I’ve decided to narrow it down to the things that are most important to me.  First and foremost I value Love. I’m speaking about loving everyone regardless if they’re like me or not. It’s so difficult to do sometimes but I’m really going to make an effort. Honesty is also incredibly important to me.  I’m not just speaking about being honest with others but also with myself. Spiritually I find Compassion to be one of the most rewarding traits in myself and others. Taking someone else’s issues, concerns and problems and showing them you care about them is incredibly powerful. Sometimes, “I understand”, goes a long way. Character, the mental and moral qualities of an individual, is my litmus test for myself and others.  It’s judgmental I admit, but to me Strength of Character matters. Many times in my life I’ve said or done things that don’t sync with the character I strive for. But, I’m making a concerted effort to exhibit a more loving, honest and loving character. And finally, Knowledge is of enormous value to me. Whether through experience or educating ourselves, being knowledgeable on a subject should be the first step before responding to any topic.  I often catch myself responding emotionally to something I read, hear or see and realize later, I have no knowledge of that subject. I realize that many of my knee-jerk reactions are not based in fact, but rather deep held beliefs I’ve developed in my 50+ years on this planet. It’s not that those beliefs are right or wrong, it’s simply that by expressing my beliefs I alienate those who don’t believe like I do.

I have been so blessed in my life. I’ve been given the opportunity to travel, meet wonderful people from all walks of life from different parts of the world and it most certainly has given me a different perspective. It has taught me to question my deep held beliefs, and be more accepting of others. And I’m going to make a concerted effort to get back to that mindset.

The truth is, I don’t even like politics. But, I find myself drawn to it now because a lot of what is happening goes against my deep held beliefs. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, questioning what is going on right now, but I must realize that what I feel and think isn’t what others feel and think. I don’t understand why certain individuals act and feel the way they do but I really do try to put myself in their shoes.  I’m not writing this to make a point, or to try to change anyone’s views, but to write this down to hold myself accountable.  I’m going to love more, be honest with myself and others, show compassion, strengthen my character, and educate myself so I can respond accordingly when things happen that make my brain go haywire. And I will be accepting of others who don’t share my deep held beliefs.  As far as I’m concerned, that’s the most spiritual thing anyone of us can do.

 

Help me understand

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You have no idea how many times I started to write a blog post about our president. It starts with a paragraph or two, sometimes three, and it gets deleted. I delete it because my intent isn’t to argue with those of you who so adamantly support him.  So, I’m going to make it very simple. The example our president is setting is troubling.

Although I don’t have any historical data to back up my claim, I can say I never saw anything like this in my life time. We have a man in the oval office, who, doesn’t seem to have a clue about what it means to behave as the President of the United States. This has nothing to do with how intelligent he is or isn’t, whether or not he is a good businessman or his past success in branding or television. This is about what I feel it means to be president.

When I was younger something happened that changed the way I look at things. Without mentioning names or details, a pastor at my church was excommunicated and asked to leave. It had to do with a “sin” his wife committed and not him. I questioned why “he” was asked to relinquish his post when he wasn’t the one who committed the “crime”. The head elder of the church said, “If a pastor cannot control his own family then he can’t be expected to lead a congregation.” I found that very odd. It wasn’t his fault, right?

Now, years later, although I still don’t agree with that particular decision, I understand it. There are professions, positions in our society that require a person to be above the fray. I can think of a few examples where it would be appropriate. A parent, teacher, a preacher and yes, a politician must strive to be better than the rest of us. These are positions where setting an example is paramount. Am I right?

If a parent is seen making disparaging comments about someone they are frowned upon. If a teacher makes sexist comments they are reprimanded and sometimes fired. If a preacher is seen as not having control of his own family, he can be excommunicated. Why then, isn’t this president held to the same standard? I’m really trying to understand why people still support him?

My question has nothing to do with our president’s business acumen, his interest in making American great again or his straight talk. It has everything to do with the example he has been presenting to us and the world. If his type of behavior wouldn’t be acceptable in our own communities and homes, why is it okay for our president? If you choose to respond, please don’t disparage me. I’m not seeking hyperbole or “stump” statements about what’s wrong with our country. I’m really trying to understand why some of you are able to rationalize his behavior as acceptable.

My Dad

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My beautiful picture

My Dad, Clarence Eugene Glodfelter in his “happy place”. 🙂

This is my Dad. This is my Dad on a lake, in Canada. For those of you who never experienced vacationing with my Dad in Canada I’m not sure I can ever accurately describe what being there meant to him. All I can tell you is, I’ve never seen my dad as happy, as when he was fishing up there.

This joy; this exuberance; these fleeting moments in time; are how I choose to remember him. He’s been gone for over 14 years now, but when I think of him, this is what I remember.

My Dad wasn’t a complicated fella. He worked, he played and he loved. I don’t think of him in terms of what he taught me, but rather how he treated others. And he was a very kind man.

If I chose to, I could shine a spotlight on the aspects of my Dad’s life that weren’t necessarily his best moments. But, that would just be silly. He was just a man. He made errors in his life like all of us. But again, he was kind.

Over the years, I’ve spoken to many people who knew him. And the one commonality among all of them is, they loved my Dad. Friends and family alike say things like, “You’re Dad was so nice”, “You’re Dad helped me more than you know”, and “Gene, was one of the kindest men I ever knew. He had a huge heart.”  ‘Gene” is how my Dad referred to himself.  He never liked his first name ‘Clarence” so he took the second half of his middle name and made it his own. To me he was Dad, but to others he was Gene, Uncle Gene or Pop.

It is my sincere goal, to leave even half of the impression of the people my Dad’s life left. My wish is to always be kind as he was. I aspire to always see the best in people as he did. And I will make it my goal never to judge others by their actions because he always tried not to do that.

On this Father’s Day, Dad, thanks for always being you. Life wasn’t easy for you, but you nearly always found a way to stay positive and be kind. And in my book, that is your legacy.

 

2016 – Looking Back

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Yea, I realize Facebook is doing a look back for us, but I really wanted to create my own! I realize there are still 22 more days left in 2016 but it has been such a great year I really wanted to do my “look back” now!  🙂 First off, let me just say how much I love my wife of 19 1/2 years Carolyn.  It has been my mission to travel less and spend more time with my best friend in the whole world.  And 2016 was the beginning of that new chapter.  It started with a really fun New Years Eve celebration at Ralphie’s Fun Center in Glasgow, KY where we bowled, laughed and sang in January 2016!

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But it wasn’t long until I was back on the road for a short time directing and acting in “Moonlight and Magnolias” at Jenny Wiley Theatre in Pikeville, KY. Even though the audiences weren’t what any of us hoped for I had the distinct privilege of directing and sharing the stage with some incredible actors.

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Paul and Don I’m so honored you decided to join me in what will be one of my favorite stage experiences! We had a lot of fun didn’t we? I also got to share the stage with one of the most wonderful young women in all of Eastern Kentucky, Shannon Kirkpatrick Daniels.  She was fantastic!

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Plus, she had to clean up this mess every night! It was a crazy experience that included missing a performance or two because of Old Man Winter.

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In early February I headed back home to Glasgow, and moved in to our new home on “the farm”! What a joy it was finding this place, owned by two wonderful people Kerry and Karen! It has become our peaceful haven for sure!

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After getting acclimated to our new place and spending some quality time with the love of my life, I did head back out on the road to my ‘home away from home’ Tyrone, GA to start a new journey in the country.  “Into the Woods” to be exact. I started in late March and continued there until early May.  What an incredible experience it was to finally do a s Sondheim piece! And boy was it a great show!

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While there doing “Into the Woods” I also had the honor of playing the wicked witch “Lotte” in the Legacy Theatre children’s production of “Hansel & Gretel”

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I came back home for a few weeks and thoroughly enjoyed my little break, complete with a little fire and some guitar behind our new house!

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In June I was back down in Tyrone, GA at the Legacy Theatre to do the beautiful musical, “Mary Poppins”.  My goodness what a thrill it was each night playing George Banks. And the cast was outstanding!

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One of the most wonderful things that happened while I was doing “Mary Poppins” was reuniting with my best friend from high school Warren!  It was like we just talked yesterday!

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The show ended in early August and I was able to come home for a nice long respite! I can’t remember the last time I spent over two months at home.  I know that might be weird for some of you but it’s the nature of being a traveling actor and director. But boy was it great being home with my sweetheart for awhile!  Plus, in addition to my “kids” Neo and Jack there was now a new addition to the family, George!

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What a great cat!  🙂 And he seems to get a long with great with his brothers! He sure is lovey!  And as if being home with a new addition wasn’t enough, my oldest sister Carla flew in from Pennsylvania and spent two wonderful weeks with Carolyn and me!  Boy we did have fun!  Whether we were in Nashville…

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visiting historical landmarks…

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Or just sitting on the back porch enjoying the South Central Kentucky landscape…

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It was so wonderful having her visit us!  And honestly, I can’t wait for she and my other sister Fanny to come visit in 2017!

Another highlight of my 2 1/2 months home with Carolyn was the addition to a few goats on the farm!  They were great! Unless of course you walk outside in the morning and they’re no longer penned up!  No worries when you have Carolyn around.  Watching my favorite goat whisperer lead these fellas to safety was hysterical!

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That was October, shortly before I flew down to Fort Myers, Florida to do my final show of 2016 here at the Off-Broadway Palm Theatre. It will be my last “traveling show” for awhile because I have some serious plans to set down some roots for awhile!  🙂 But before that happens I will finish up the year playing “The Guy”, my current character in “Another Night Before Christmas”.  My goodness what a heartwarming, rewarding show this has been! This two-person show also has me working with the ultra-talented Melissa who really shouldn’t be missed.  It sure is a wonderful way to close out 2016.

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Well, this bearded guy has a lot to be thankful for in 2016!  But I’m most thankful for the time I spend with the love of my life, Carolyn.  Let’s have a great 2017 shall we?!!  Happy Holidays everyone!

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Vetting Presidents?

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It was actually a constructive conversation that included positive attributes on all the candidates. I took a deep breath and finally said to my brother, “I just can’t vote for him, he’s not a nice person”.  He took a deep breath and said, “Oh please, no politicians are nice.” Does that sound familiar?

I have avoided arguing or debating the republican nominees’ shortcomings because honestly no one seems to care. Well actually that isn’t true. I do believe on some level his actions and words do sicken many who continue to support him. But any attempt at debate is met by an attack on the democratic nominee and vice versa.

I have attempted to stay above the fray. I really have. And I’ve made my voting choice based on character, work history and qualifications not on any negatives of opponents. However, I could never endorse or vote for this year’s republican nominee. My soul would never allow it.

Since this is my space, my opinion and my blog I’m going finally say something. I honestly don’t like writing anything negative but today I do it the spirit of empathy. I’m incredibly empathetic toward the republican nominee. Every time I see him he seems so angry and resentful. Holding on to that much resentment and anger must be having a detrimental effect on his body. That’s what happens to our physiology when we hold on to negative emotions. It happens to me when I stupidly allow myself to mire in negative thoughts and emotions too long. But not only does he exhibit resentment and anger, he also seems so defensive. I realize he’s attacked on a daily basis for things he has said and done and that has to be awful. But I can’t quite figure out why he takes everything so personally. I always think, he’s a billionaire who is a success, what does he have to prove to anyone? Yet, he bites back when pressed like a rattlesnake that gets cornered. God bless him. It must be maddening thinking people are always out to get you, take advantage of you and trying make you look bad. Perhaps that’s why he seems to behave in a way he believes people want him to behave rather than be himself? No, I’m not a psychologist but I see this man say what he says and do what he does and I scratch my head in disbelief. I’ve analyzed this thing up and down, front and back, side to side and the only thing I can come up with is he’s psychologically damaged in some way.

I know there have been some pretty thin-skinned, ruthless, spiteful people who’ve held the office of President over the years. But in my historical searches I’ve found no one quite as thin-skinned and spiteful as this guy. Perhaps because of his wealth it’s been very difficult to have anyone in his life that has been trustworthy. Maybe he has so few true friends because he’s always wary that people are trying to get some of his money. Whatever the cause, when he smiles it doesn’t feel genuine. When he talks it doesn’t feel genuine. His demeanor is smug, aggressive, resentful, unapologetic, greedy, insecure, pompous and unkind. I can’t possibly be the only person on the planet who sees and feels these things can I?

What is the latest negative about him? He actually said because he’s a star he can force himself on women any time he wants because they let him. Well that’s just disgusting. Then, several women allege he has done just that. Yea I know, no proof right? Fine but he did say it.

Look, no one I ever knew EVER said things like he said. I’m not lying. In my 50+ years on this planet not one male I ever encountered said anything like this. Yes, I’ve commented on beautiful women, their body and even their smile, but I or no one I know has ever made predatory comments like him.  It’s sickening and downright wrong.

What does it say about a person that speaks that way? Is that kind of talk presidential? Does it speak to something more serious? Maybe it’s time our government implements the hiring processes of so many other companies and require pre-screening of all presidential candidates?

I was thinking the past few days about the psychological tests many companies utilize before considering hiring someone.  Many years ago a friend was applying for a career with an intelligence agency. Since I was listed as a best friend, I was questioned about him, for hours.  The vetting that took place was unprecedented. When I asked him about it years later he said, “Hey, a person who gets to know what I know; well you have know they’re sane right?” That made sense to me. I certainly wouldn’t want anyone in a serious position who is psychologically unstable. And I definitely don’t want that for our president.

According to 2014 trends, 62 percent of human resource professionals are using personality tests to vet candidates in the hiring process. Is it time to do that for the POTUS as well?  Maybe it is. Perhaps if a person decides to run for president, they should first be submitted to psychological tests to determine they don’t possess traits that would disqualify them. We need to know about their health, why not their mental health as well?

I’m not a psychologist but something is definitely off about this guy. His supporters say they like the fact that he’s not a politician but is that necessarily a good thing? He’s supported because he’s convinced many hard working American’s that our country is doomed, the democratic nominee can’t be trusted and that he alone can fix it. I want to reiterate; he alone. Those are not the words of a public servant who understands all elected officials must work together. Doing it alone isn’t possible because that is not the way our government is laid out. POTUS does nothing alone; nothing. Without our legislature POTUS can’t pass any laws to fix anything. He has demonstrated a very limited knowledge of how our government operates and that’s disturbing. But I digress.

My heart races when I see him attempt to speak. And all I see is an angry man who is playing on the fears of hard working Americans he cares very little for in an attempt to con them in to voting for him. He shouts words like liar and speaks in conspiratorial theories with no basis in fact. I’m serious about that, just take time and do your own research as I have from non partisan sources. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I have no party loyalty to anyone. I’ve voted independent, republican and democrat over my 32 years of voting. I’m not the smartest man on the planet by any stretch of the imagination, but I’ve paid attention, read important information from hundreds of sources and I have an educated, non-partisan opinion I’m confident about. It astounds me that people believe everything the republican nominee says! He lies about nearly everything. Please do your research, I mean really do it, and be prepared to see the truth.

*Heavy sigh* If you currently plan on voting for the republican nominee please understand I’m not trying to attack you. I have the utmost respect for your right to vote for whomever you desire, but this guy? Gosh I feel for him. I really do. I’m not sure even HE believes what he’s saying. He reminds me of some bullies who attacked me when I was younger. It wasn’t until I was much older I realized they only had power if I allowed them to. So in some respect, that’s why I have such empathy for the republican nominee. His life is littered with bullying tactics that many say, ‘made him the man he is today’. I say, “Yes, I noticed.”

He’s a troubled soul who doesn’t seem to know love, compassion or charity. And that’s really, really sad. Other than build buildings and create jobs for folks, I’ve seen nothing to convince me that he cares about anyone other than himself. Again, I’m not attacking you but I don’t think someone who exhibits this kind of behavior and has this history will make an effective president.

Will anything I just wrote matter? To my friends and family who support the republican nominee, I love you so much. I really do. My relationship with you is much more important that any election. So understand my assertions on this man are not a reflection of you. I completely understand that having a candidate who is pro-life is important to you. I know in my heart that having someone conservative who might have a chance to present conservative Supreme Court justices means a lot to you. I get why you feel a successful businessman might do a better job of managing the financial aspects of our government than the politicians who apparently have been messing it up for years. And my goodness I totally understand wanting a person who might be able to protect America by strengthening our borders, and making sure folks who are moving to our country don’t intend to harm us. I get it. But everything in his message is based on fear. And I can’t support anything or anyone who deals solely in fear.

The decisions I make in my life come from my soul. I trust that my choices are right for me because I feel I’m living out my purpose; the purpose laid out for me by my Creator. I don’t live in a world of self-doubt, anxiety and fear. I trust in that all-creating spirit that lives inside me. So when I experience anyone who deals in those things, plays in those things, who attempts to do business with those things, my soul shuns them as something that doesn’t emanate from my Creator. Does that make sense? He’s not a nice man. Not because he was born that way, but because he became that way. I feel sorry for him, I really do. I send him all the love in the world in the hope that he may be able to change some day. I just feel that change should occur first before trying to become our president.

My Endorsement

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I will be voting for Hillary Rodham Clinton on November 8th.  There, I said it. Many of you already “knew” who my choice would be but until now I never publicly announced my intention to vote for her. Actually I never publically announced any of my voting choices since my first election in 1984. But this year is different.

Let me give you a little history here. In 1984 I voted for Ronald Reagan and in 1988 and 1992 it was George H.W. Bush. As a registered Republican I towed the party line for over 12 years in local, state and federal elections. Then at some point in the early 90’s I began to have an opinion of my own, I educated myself and I realized that I didn’t agree with all Republican ideals. So in 1996 I voted for incumbent William Clinton for President.  It was the first time I voted for a Democrat for president.  In 2000, I voted for George W. Bush and I honestly was happy he was in office during 9/11. In 2004 I helped keep him in office for 4 more years but was unhappy with many of his actions as POTUS. However, the one thing I really loved about “W” was his sincerity.  Whether I agreed with him or not, I always felt he believed in what he was trying to do for the American people. That’s important to me.  It’s the reason I voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. I didn’t agree, and still don’t, with every one of his positions. But again, I feel he believes in what he’s attempting to do for America.  This is why Hillary Clinton is getting my vote.

I will not and have not made my decision because I do not like the other candidates. I will not get into the “lesser of two evils” media spun debate. I realize if I sat here and shared all the negatives about each candidate this year it would be an incredibly long list. But that’s not important to me. I’m not swayed by fear mongering on either side. I’m not interested in what if’s, but’s or if only’s. For me, there is one candidate who I believe, believes in her platform. I spent the past three weeks researching the work history of Hillary Rodham Clinton and I’m convinced she has the American people at heart when she creates programs to help us. And here’s an interesting thought, I don’t have to agree with everything she says to support her.

Call me stupid if you like, but resist that urge to spout hatred on this post. Resist the nagging voice that is telling you to lash out and spread the RNC talking points. If Hillary Clinton is not for you, so be it. If Hillary Clinton is your choice, I highly recommend telling folks you are voting for her and why. I’m a moderate voter who is making this choice because of qualifications and a belief that Mrs. Clinton believes in what she says and wants to do. And I do feel as Americans, we are definitely stronger together. Those of you who want to start a revolution listen up.  What better way to start something new and fresh than to elect the first female President of the United States?

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