Little Women and American Politics

I am a sucker for a good book, and a good drink.

Today, November 29th, is the birth date of one of my favorite authors, Louisa May Alcott.  She’s best known for her more popular works like “Little Women” and “Jo’s Boys.”  But Alcott was far more than just an author and a poet, she was an abolitionist and a feminist who believed in equality for all, not just the privileged-of which she was not.   Alcott used writing as her emotional outlet, and that is something I have always been able to relate to.

For historical context, Alcott’s family served as station masters on the Underground Railroad, which basically meant they would house a fugitive slave for a week at a time.  She also advocated for women’s suffrage and actually became the first woman to register to vote in Concord. Massachusetts during a school board election.  In 1860, she began writing for the Atlantic Monthly, a publication I read to this day.  During the Civil War she served as a nurse in the Union Hospital in the Georgetown area of Washington D.C.  She was unable to serve long though, as she contracted typhoid fever.

So why do I share all of this here in this venue?

Honestly it’s because I have a lot of admiration for the works of Louisa May Alcott, but also because I feel that a lot of what she wrote and said is pertinent to our society today.  I’ve never been what I would call a feminist.  I am however a huge advocate of equal rights for all.

Our nation is in quite a tumultuous season, and an old Alcott passage comes to mind, “I’m not afraid of storms, for I’m learning how to sail my ship.”  We really have two choices as a nation today:  we can protest, pout, degrade, insult, criticize, tweet and gripe, or we can support, speak out, fight on, vote, encourage, listen and do better.  It is a stormy period in our country, the right and the left have never agreed but I’m not sure they’ve ever been so vehemently against each other as they are today.  And truth be told, even though many feel that their votes don’t matter because the Electoral College elects the President, we are all sailors in this storm and we are all trying to “right the ship” of our nation.  We are all learning.  This is a new era, a new age.  We are dealing with issues today that our Founding Fathers could never have dreamed of.  Our debts are higher, our world has famines and wars going on in so many locations, our nation is full of sickness, violence, crime and pain.  The waters are rough right now.

But this nation has not lost its beauty.  And to continue with the words of Louisa May Alcott, “Love is a great beautifier.”  Believers, and I am one, are called to love one another.  And the greatest acts of love have brought about ridiculous amounts of good.  If we love one another better, we find less time to criticize one another.  If we love our nation better, we find more ways to serve others than to tear them down.  If we love our freedom more, we think of fewer ways to take it away from someone.  If we love, we are a more beautiful nation.

We all have different opinions, I’m not sure that has ever been more evident than the recent Presidential election.  And while everyone wants their voice to be heard, so many feel like they are not.  Alcott once wrote, “Let my name stand among those who are willing to bear ridicule and reproach for the truth’s sake, and so earn some right to rejoice when the victory is won.”  I voted an unpopular vote this Presidential election, and I hope that will not drive you away from this site.  If truth be told, I could have voted for either Presidential candidate, it was a game time decision for my family.  And I posted to my Facebook after the election who I voted for.  I faced some criticism for sure, some expected and some unexpected.  I was very rarely allowed to explain my point of view as to why I voted the way I did.  “My truth” was hardly ever heard.  I had no victory celebration.  I had no feelings of winning, even though the candidate I voted for won, at least so far.  But I wanted my voice heard. I believe that voting is sacred.  I believe that the freedom of democracy has been fought for, bled for and died for and should never be taken for granted.

Louisa May Alcott once wrote, “He who believes is strong; he who doubts is weak. Strong convictions precede great actions.”  Those very words were exactly why I voted the way I did.  I have really strong opinions on some things. And the things that I do not, I am constantly researching and trying to learn more to form more opinions.  I believe that having strong convictions is vital to helping bring about great change.  I have always said, and I stand firmly behind today, that I have no issue with how someone votes as long as they know why they voted the way they did.  I take no offense in being told I am extremely opinionated, I only take offense to the tone in which it is said.  What a shame to attack someone for having educated opinions, when really, shouldn’t we all?

Alcott wrote, “Housekeeping ain’t no joke.”  And man, does that ring true today.  This nation is in need of some housekeeping, on both sides of the aisle.  It’s a daunting task, and I’m not sure who is up to the task other than God Almighty Himself.  Each side has flaws, dirt and grime.  Each side has more issues than we can even count.  It’s easy to point fingers and name call those who think differently than you or voted differently, but what is the point exactly?


Keep believing America.  Keep pursuing.  Keep dreaming.  Keep weaving.  Keep wishing.

Does Love Really Trump Hate…

On March 25, 1965, in Montgomery, Alabama, Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at a rally giving a speech called, “Our God is Marching On.”  Being that the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” has been one of my favorite songs for as long as I can remember, I have always enjoyed reading the magnificent words in this speech.  Dr. King gave this speech at the end of the Selma to Montgomery march, in a time period when fear was the norm and hate speech would have filled Facebook had it existed in that time period.  Many believe this speech sparked the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.  The words of Dr. King fifty one years ago hold the same powerful truth today, “The battle is in our hands. And we can answer with creative nonviolence the call to higher ground to which the new directions of our struggle summons us.  The road ahead is not altogether a smooth one. There are no broad highways that lead us easily and inevitably to quick solutions. But we must keep going.”

Friends the struggles that were highlighted during this Presidential campaign season are far from over.  The road ahead is most definitely not a “smooth one.”  There is no “broad highway” or easy solution, and to be honest with you, even if the results were different this week, there would still be no “quick solutions.”  But the truth in 1965 that “we must keep going” rings true today, more than ever.

Martin Luther King Jr. went on to say, “the faith that nonviolence and its power can transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows, we will be able to change all of these conditions.” Violence is never the answer.  Violence never met a problem that it actually solved.  To continue with the words of Dr. King, he said in 1964, “But in spite of temporary victories, violence never brings permanent peace. It solves no social problem: it merely creates new and more complicated ones. Violence is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding: it seeks to annihilate rather than convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys community and makes brotherhood impossible. It leaves society in monologue rather than dialogue. Violence ends up defeating itself. It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers.”

Dr. King hit the nail on the head 52 years ago in that Nobel Peace Prize Lecture, we must strive to “win his understanding.”  We must strive to work together as a community to meet each other where they are, understand their point of view, embrace their fears and allow LOVE TO TRUMP HATE.  All violence will do is “create bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers.”  We MUST create a “dialogue” and not a “monologue.”

In June of 2007, Hillary Clinton said, “The worst thing that can happen in a democracy – as well as in an individual’s life – is to become cynical about the future and lose hope.”  And I truly believe, even in defeat today, she still believes this to be true.  And we as Americans, those of you who are her supporters and those of us who were not, would do well by each other to remember this statement. We cannot lose hope.  I cannot lose hope in America by watching the senseless violence that is stemming from what some hoped would be peaceful protests this week.  And you cannot lose hope in America by the swearing in of a candidate for President that you did not support.

Politics is as flawed as it comes, and that only makes sense when you remember that we as humans are ALL flawed.  Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Mandy Asberry, and you can go ahead and insert your name here as well.  Where humans live, flaws will exist.  Franklin Roosevelt once said, “Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country.”  Politicians are not the answer, government is not the answer.  We need to remember the words of David in Psalm 24:1, “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.”  We have to be careful who we place our hope in, politicians, entertainers, athletes will all let us down.  Heck Colin Kaepernick started a movement of kneeling during the National Anthem to bring attention to social injustice and then didn’t even go to vote.  I am NOT a Stephen A. Smith fan (quite the opposite), but I’d have to agree with what he said on ESPN yesterday that now, “what he said meant absolutely nothing” when discussing Kap.  This world will not bring you peace, it will not bring you hope, it will not bring you joy-only Jesus Christ can do that and we as believers, democrats and republicans alike, need to be showing that peace, that hope and joy to the world around us who is struggling with the events of this week.

Chants of “Not my President” are ringing out in some of our nation’s biggest cities from New York , to Chicago, to LA, to Seattle and many places in between.  One thing I do know for sure is that no matter how many anti-Trump slogans you yell, no matter how many fires you start in protest (which by the way makes no sense) that will not prevent his Inauguration in January.  But what it will do is drive a deeper divide in this nation that you claim is your problem with Mr. Trump.  I’m not sure how that makes any sense to these protestors.  I understand they are upset, disheartened, disappointed and scared-but just as MLK said, “violence is NEVER the answer.”

There have been a few moments that I’ve been proud of my country in reading Facebook.  I love seeing those who are feeling upset about the election results who are already taking action to help make a better tomorrow-they are writing letters to their elected officials, they are making donations to organizations that help others and they are hosting events for those on both sides of the aisle. I love seeing my fellow Republicans reaching out to their Democratic friends with an olive branch and words of encouragement.  This country has a lot of wounds that need to heal, wounds that I assure you existed before this week and have absolutely nothing to do with the Presidential candidates.

We MUST stand united, this is the UNITED States of America after all.  Barack Obama said yesterday in his speech about the election, “The point though is that we all go forward with a presumption of good faith in our fellow citizens, because that presumption of good faith is essential to a vibrant and functioning democracy. That’s how this country has moved forward for 240 years. It’s how we’ve pushed boundaries and promoted freedom around the world. That’s how we’ve expanded the rights of our founding to reach all of our citizens. It’s how we have come this far.”  We have to have faith in one another and we have to have faith in this country.  This democracy, even if you don’t agree with the results, is a far better place to live than those who face dictatorship day in and day out.  We have come this far as a nation by finding ways to understand our differences and finding a common ground of respect.  These protests around the country last night will not make matters better, they will only ensue further hate, further divide, and in turn-more fear.

If love really trumps hate, that means love for all people-not just those who voted the same as you.  And honestly, if love really trumps hate, it also trumps hate for Donald Trump.  We, as believers, must show love to one another no matter race, sexual orientation or religious affiliation-if we don’t set the example, how will the world know?

How Dare You Vote…

Well, here goes and with that being said, I know I stand to lose a friend or two after this post.

This morning while scrolling through Facebook I saw a quote that struck a chord with me, “We don’t have to agree on everything to be kind to one another.”  The author was not listed and honestly I have read so much today I cannot even recall which friend had posted it.  I find these words to be very powerful on this day.

I want to start out by saying, I love this country.  I love democracy.  I love my freedom to vote.  I love the political process, with all its stresses and problems.  I love history.  I love my African American friends (and husband).  I love my friends who are members of the LBGTQ community.  I love my friends who were not born in this country but have taken steps to join me in citizenship to the greatest nation on Earth. I love my fellow Republicans.  And I love my friends who are Democrats.

I want to also say that I am incredibly proud of some of my closest friends who worked tirelessly over the past few months for both Presidential candidates (as well as numerous Senate and Congressional races).  I am in awe of your dedication, your strength, your resolve and your passion.  I remember those days on the campaign trail fondly.

Here is where the rubber meets the road, brace yourselves.  Last Wednesday, while standing in the voting area here in Wilmington, North Carolina, I held my little boy in my arms and prayed with him over my ballot. I’ve never done that before.  First of all, this is his first election, but secondly typically my mind is made up far in advance of my actual voting.  But as I prayed with Judd I asked God to give me wisdom and to protect our country through His will being done.  And I firmly believe today, just as much as I did last week, that God is still sitting mightily on His throne and nothing has happened that He didn’t expect, even when the pollsters didn’t predict it.

Last Wednesday afternoon, I cast my vote for Donald J. Trump for President of the United States of America.  I realize some of you are about to hit the unfriend button on my Facebook page, and that is fine. I understand your anger, your frustration and your pain.  But what I would ask of you is to hear me out and have an open mind.

Let me start by telling you, I am not a racist.  I am married to a strong, African American man who I love with my whole heart and I could not be more proud of anything in my life than I am of being his wife.  I am also not a bigot.  One of my very best friends in the entire world is a homosexual.  I love him as much, often times more, than I love some of my heterosexual friends.  I want all the wonderful things for his life that I have experienced in the past few years including marriage and starting a family.  Deplorable is defined as being shockingly bad in quality.  If you are my friend on Facebook, you clearly know me.  I would hope that over my 33.5 years on this Earth, even with my  mistakes, you have seen that I do have some redeeming qualities and I cannot therefore be considered a “deplorable” human being.

In a statement today, Ellen DeGeneres (one of my absolute favorites) said, “And I believe we can all come together because if you take away the labels, you realize we’re far more alike than we are different.”  You see I am probably more similar to those of you who voted for Hillary Clinton than you’d like to recognize today.  I am first, and foremost, a believer in my Lord Jesus Christ.  I mention that to say that I have complete faith that He is in control of this world, no matter how we view the election results.  I’d challenge those of you who said early on last night that you were “leaving it up to God” to realize your later statements of dread and hate do not equal up.  We are tasked as believers to have faith, even when we don’t see the way.

The truth is today, I do believe that love trumps hate.  I actually love that saying.  But it has to stretch further than just one particular campaign’s usage.  If love trumps hate, it trumps all hate, that includes the hate being spread through social media today-on both sides.

I am also a wife and a mother.  I am raising a child of mixed ethnicity.  I am married to a black man.  I get the fear that exists based on racial issues.  But I have to trust my Savior, He’s never left me or abandoned me and He commands us in Deuteronomy to “not fear or be in dread for it is You Lord our God who goes with us, You will NEVER leave or forsake us.”  I have to have faith in that truth.  My only peace is in Christ alone, not in Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.  Today Barack Obama said, “We are not Democrats first or Republicans, we are all Americans, we are all Patriots who all want what is best for this country.”

As a mother I want the best for this country because I want to leave the best for my precious son.  I want the best for my African American husband.  I want the best for my gay friends.  I want the best for ALL Americans.  Today we have to hold steadfastly to Matthew 22:39, “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”  I get it.  A resounding number of Americans voted for Hillary Clinton, the popular vote displays that fact strongly.  And today you are disappointed, some are frightened, some are discouraged, some are saddened and some are confused.  But rest assured, this country can still be a great place to call home for ALL Americans if we love one another.  Love does trump hate.

In the worlds of Hillary Clinton from her concession speech today, “Never stop believing that fighting for what is right is worth it.”  Don’t let the results deter you from taking part in the political process.  Don’t let the electoral votes stop you from striving to contribute to the greatness of this nation.  Don’t let fear drown out your faith.

To Secretary Clinton, President Clinton, Chelsea, Mark, Charlotte and Aiden-thank you.  Thank you for your service to our country.  Thank you for your service to my home state of Arkansas.  Thank you for your passion for your ideals.  Thank you for your dedication to democracy.  And thank you for your graciousness today, even in defeat.  And thank you Madam Secretary for reminding all Americans that your gender does not define you and equality is one of the most precious gifts we have in this country.  And to your staff, and my dear friends like Hannah Herdlinger, thank you for working so tirelessly for your party and most importantly our country.

To President Elect Trump, Mrs. Trump, Eric, Donald Jr, Ivanka, Tiffany and Barron-thank you.  Thank you for your dedication to this race in the face of great adversity.  Thank you for continuing to strive to be a voice for those who were likeminded.  Thank you for your commitment to our nation in this enormous role.  And to your staff, like one of my best friends in the entire world Sarah Huckabee Sanders, thank you for fighting so hard for what you believed in, even when no one else believed with you.

God bless you, and God bless America.

Welcome to Pearls and Vodka…

We appreciate that you took the time to come by and visit our site.  With all the content available at your fingertips today, we hope that at Pearls and Vodka you will be able to take part in a community of voices that strives to respectfully present different viewpoints and opinions on topics ranging from politics, to news, to worthy causes, to Broadway, to Hollywood, from places like Wrigley Field to inside the Staples Center.  This website will cover a variety of topics and provide a variety of voices to all things relevant.

So why the name, Pearls and Vodka?

This website is owned and operated by a southern girl who lives by the famous words of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, “Pearls are always appropriate!”  It has been said before, “If you give a girl pearls, she can conquer the world.”  And the vision of this site is to conquer the world together, piece by piece.

You may not know the story behind how pearls are made, but it’s actually a parasite that enters an oyster, mussel or clam and their defense mechanism is to form a fluid that coats the irritant.  After many layers are coated, a pearl is formed.  There are typically three types of pearls that are placed on strands to be worn-the everyday wear quality, the special occasion quality and the heirloom quality.  With each level of quality comes a new perspective.  The everyday wear is not perfect; it’s flaws though cannot typically be seen from a conversation distance.  Sound familiar?  The world of social media has built a society where we have two lives, the one we display online and the one we live in-person.  The special occasion quality requires a hands-on examination to see the flaws.  I’m sure in your life today you can think of your circles and how you let some in, and you keep some at arm’s length for fear if they really knew you or your thoughts it might change their opinion of you.  And finally, the heirloom quality.  Only a trained pearl professional will see any flaws.  This is where “your people” come in to play, “your tribe,” “your squad.”  They know you, they know the nitty-gritty…they know all the “parasites” you have that are refining inside of you to make you the highest quality of person you can be.

That explains the pearl in the name, so why vodka?  A better question is, why not?

You’ve heard the old saying “A drunk man’s words are a sober man’s thoughts.”  This website has been created to provide a voice for everyone, not just the like-minded, not just the educated, and honestly, not just the overly opinionated.  This site has been founded to allow everyone to come together and refine ourselves together through topics, trends and truths.

So please enjoy, please stop by often, please tell your friends, please share and please be respectful.