01 Nov

Do you know what I discovered recently? Our world is awash in opinions, and most of them aren’t worth the used toilet paper they should be printed on. I’ve decided that it isn’t the actual bad news that is on 24/7 media blast that bothers me as much as it is the opinions regarding the justification of everything from rude cat-calling (seriously knuckleheads, WTF: when you become verbally and sexually abusive with your comments, that’s somebody’s daughter, sister, mother, aunt, or grandchild) to the 4 billion dollars in dirty money* spent on the mid-term elections to manipulate our opinions and thus our voting choices.

Cat Calls Pat Bagley Salt Lake Tribune

Used by permission: Cat Calls, Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

“Don’t Take Anything Personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.”Miguel Angel Ruiz


Nowadays we don’t know who is trying to influence our opinions, and they are good—really good at what they do. One day, you could be born a poor black child, struggle through all the ravages of what it meant to suffer through the Jim Crow era in these here United States, and the next moment you could wake up as a Black right-wing Christian conservative who doesn’t give a shit about anybody who “can’t pull themselves up by their boot straps as I did” (I’m talking about you Dr. Ben Carson)—all because you weren’t paying attention to the inordinate influences of others. Trust me, it happened to me.

Is there a school or something where people take a course on manipulation to push their will and opinions on others to get what they want? Or is this a skill we learn as children?

I was meditating on the concept of personal opinions and the ability to get people to bend to our wills when I overheard a conversation in the aisle of my local drugstore. While I was filling up my shopping cart with the latest shipment of #117 Adele Feathered False Eyelashes (don’t judge, just know that at age 66 I still get respectable cat calls—I’ll take a construction worker’s opinion of “Damn Baby, you sho’ is lookin’ good” any day of the week). Anyway, I couldn’t see who was talking in the next aisle where the cards and toys were, but I quickly ascertained that it was a young mother and her five-year-old daughter whose name was Sasha.

SASHA: Mommy, can I have this doll?

MOM: (only half listening) No Sasha. You already have a gazillion dolls.


But Mom

Google Image

MOM: (The mom still only half listening) The answer is still no, Sasha. Now stop your nagging. You didn’t skip kindergarten today to go shopping for toys. You are sick, and I have to figure out what type of medicine you need to get over this cold. We need to get out of here and put you to bed before you get sicker, or I lose my mind from your constant whining. Why is that pharmacist taking so long to fill our prescriptions?

SASHA: Because the pharmacist wants you to buy me this Elsa doll, that’s why. He’s just waiting on you to make the right decision. Even the pharmacist knows how well I’ll sleep with Elsa and how much better she’ll make me feel.

MOM: Shush, Sasha! I can barely hear myself think.

SASHA: Moooooom, you’re being so mean! What will it take for you to buy me this doll?

MOM: The Messiah to come—in the middle of CVS, in this aisle, singing “Let It Go” from Frozenwith a back-up choir of black angelic beings.

SASHA: What’s a “themessiahtocome”? Is that some kind of tooth fairy for sick kids whose mommy won’t take pity on them and buy them a doll that they really, really, really, really, need?

MOM: (The young mother chuckled and became more conciliatory) Honey, you just had a birthday, and if I recall, you got three dolls from your grandparents. Three! Now zip it!


(There was barely a five-second pause before I heard another little girl’s voice chime in to try and melt the young mother’s resilience. This kid was good. Sasha had called in reinforcements.)

LITTLE GIRL’S VOICE: Sasha’s mom . . . look at poor, sick Sasha. How could you do this to her? She’s such a good little girl. Look at her poor, pitiful face. You’ve made her so very sad. What kind of mother are you to treat such an angel so poorly. Please, Sasha’s mom. P-L-E-A-S-E be a good mommy and buy Sasha an Elsa doll. Everybody else in her kindergarten class has one.

(At this point, I couldn’t take the suspense any longer and had to see who Sasha’s opinionated, manipulative, little friend was, so I abandoned my shopping cart and quickly whipped around the corner to see this wunderkind with my very own eyes. But there weren’t two children: there was only Sasha and her mom. Sasha (one of the cutest little girls I’ve ever seen) was holding the Elsa doll (still in its package) in front of her face and doing one of the best ventriloquist acts on record. Sasha was having Elsa, the Disney Snow Queen, plead her case with her mom. If all else fails, bring in the inanimate objects, right?)

SASHA’S MOM: (clearly at her wit’s end) I tell you what, Sasha and “Sasha’s friend.” Rosh Hashanah is coming. Maybe if Sasha is a good girl and stops getting on Mommy’s every last nerve, Sasha might be able to get Elsa as a Rosh Hashanah present.

You could see Sasha mulling this over in her mind, and finally she acquiesced, thinking she had won the day. But even I knew as a black Charismatic Christian that Rosh Hashanah was September 24th, and it was now October 15th. As the pharmacist called Sasha’s mom’s name to come get her prescription, I gave her a high-five from one mom—now grandmother—to another for the victory she had won over Sasha’s manipulaton. As I turned the corner, I heard Elsa/Sasha’s voice scream out as she ran after her mom with the Elsa Snow Queen tucked under her arm:

“Wait a minute, Sasha’s mom! You tricked us.

We just celebrated Rosh Hashanah with Saba and Savta. It doesn’t come back until next year!

Oh, man . . !”

Kid Pouting

Not the real Sasha but a close enough imitation


I am discovering that after meeting the delightful Sasha, I suspect opinions come as part of the soul-package when we’re born, and all it takes is the onset of language skills. I also suspect that the ability to manipulate others to bend to our will is part of the original-sin passport we get as a citizen of planet Earth. Just ask any mother.

I once read that we spend 50% of our time resisting the efforts of other people who try to push their agendas on us and the other 50% of our time trying to push our agendas on them. We’re all a bunch of opinionated manipulators, but when one side’s agenda brings great harm to another, then that manipulation must be resisted at all cost—whether it is a friend that is taking advantage of our good will or it is our fellow citizens spending 4 billion dollars in dirty money to steal an election. Our elections are being influenced and bought by dark money, voter suppression, gerrymandering, defaming campaign ads, bigoted cable news channels, and out-and-out lies.

Dark Money and Democracy David Fitzsimmons The Arizona Star

Used by permission: David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star

The problem is voters really don’t know who is trying to influence their votes on Election Day and who is trying to influence the elected officials who are going to take office after Election Day.”— Ian Vandewalker of the Brennan Center for Justice (What Americans could have bought instead of a $4 billion election) by Chris Frates, CNN investigative correspondent*


I am also discovering that I am going to lay my opinion on you right now, right here: Are you planning to vote? If not, why not? There are people trying to push their agenda on your lives that don’t want you to vote, and they think you won’t because they are of the opinion that Blacks, Latinos, women, poor people in general, and young people overall don’t vote in off-years—not sexy or exciting enough it seems. The problem is that all politics are local, and you’ll get screwed over more by your state and local politics than you ever could by a presidential election. There are people who died so that you could resist that type of evil by being able to vote (see blog FiftyFourandAHalf). The GOPs opinion is that the Senate is theirs for the taking. Is it true? Until voting day, it is only their opinion. What is your opinion? Express it in the voting booth!

P.S. Someone told me that in Australia, Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Peru it is against the law to be a citizen and not vote. It is my opinion that I should try and get a similar law passed in the United States.

Get Out the Vote Pat Bagley Salt Lake Tribune

Used by permission: Get Out the Vote, Pat Bagley Salt Lake-Tribune


“Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.”Franklin D. Roosevelt

“If American women would increase their voting turnout by ten percent, I think we would see an end to all of the budget cuts in programs benefiting women and children.”Coretta Scott King

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”Steve Jobs

“Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even incapable of forming such opinions.”—Albert Einstein



Vote Now




Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Posted by on November 1, 2014 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , , , , , ,

24 responses to “SASHA’S MOM

  1. calvin

    November 2, 2014 at 1:12 am

    ‘E’ you cut the mustard with this one -deception and manipulation is born into us -part of our genus, part survival, part propagate and part procreate. An ever evolving dance between truth and lies. And we’re all guilty of it, at the same time it is a necessitate we can’t ignore or live without . It is a sin and well as a virtue. It can impoverish and conquer, as well empower and free the disenfranchised. Informing and educating oneself the only way to decipher the good from the bad. Not only is important to vote, but it is invaluable to do so with an informed opinion on the issues that matter close at hand. Gosh you had your thinking cap on with this one. Not an easy one to wrap ones head around as one might think.

    Manipulation and propaganda I think they are the same animal, if not then they are akin; an incestuous union with potentially traumatic results. The other branch in this family tree is marketing, the true master of deception and purveyor in the art of persuasion. Though the marketing side would argue they have no political agenda, to which I would respond, ‘back the truck up’, perhaps not directly but absolutely indirectly and more so than any other institution (a hundred years ago religion and business where neck and neck but in today’s world it commerce is light years ahead). Governments on the other hand have obligation to an collective not just to those whom voted them in. When they manipulate and deceive it should never be called propaganda or referred to as political agenda, it should be called BAD Government. But if the system supports and fosters it manipulation, then perhaps the systems needs an overhaul.

    As for the ‘cat calling video’, yes it is appalling, I’d be a dirty rat scoundrel if I thought otherwise . Still, there is a small part of me which is suspicious of the intent and its integrity and wonders if it was manipulated to elicit an desired reaction. But in this case the message out ways the suspicion.

    Take care Eleanor

    • etomczyk

      November 2, 2014 at 7:46 pm

      Hey there, Calvin.

      Thanks for stopping by, buddy. You are so right about manipulation and propaganda are the same animal. Then when advertising is added to the mix, we have modern day politics in America.

      I also agree with you about the “cat calling video” which is why I added the line in my post about appreciating a decent compliment by anyone, including a construction worker, they just can’t get nasty or demeaning in their delivery of it–Homey don’t play that. We should all compliment each other–makes people feel good. All the best Calvin

  2. maryisidra

    November 2, 2014 at 7:59 am

    Don’t worry none on my account, I am going to be first in line on Tuesday! Politics here in AL are a real mess but I am ready.I swear I have gotten a forest worth of paper junk in my mail.From both sides.Sorry folks, I am a blue girl so back off..Have a lovely day,your fan Mary I.

  3. Lorna's Voice

    November 2, 2014 at 10:55 am

    I’ve noticed that the “experts” these “news” shows bring in to discuss anything are just journalists who love the sound of their own bias!

    • etomczyk

      November 2, 2014 at 7:49 pm

      Lorna: So true, so true–on both sides of the fence.

      • Lorna's Voice

        November 3, 2014 at 9:47 am

        Yup, both sides of the fence. News is entertainment and entertainment is based on the news. Everything is upside down!

  4. Valentine Logar

    November 2, 2014 at 11:21 am

    You and I my friend, we think along the same lines. You do this so much better than I though, wrapping the every day world into what is wrong with all of us if we don’t do what is necessary to fix the every day world.

    You are so right. Thank you for this one.

    • etomczyk

      November 2, 2014 at 7:55 pm

      Hi Val. This was a fun one to write. I had been holding on to the story about Sasha and her mom for weeks wondering where I could use it. I actually talked to the mother for about 15 minutes while we both waited for our prescriptions. I told her that I thought I had just meet a future female president of the United States, and she said everybody tells her that about Sasha. She was the cutest, most articulate child I’ve ever met. Do you know, when I finally left, Sasha was still trying various angles to get that doll. Her poor mother. She looked exhausted.

      • talesfromthemotherland

        November 9, 2014 at 4:58 pm

        I wondered if you somehow connected with the mother… I would have been so disappointed if you hadn’t! Love this story, Eleanor. Thank goodness you finally found a place to share it with us!

      • etomczyk

        November 10, 2014 at 12:09 pm

        Dawn: We actually had a lovely chat. The mom was very chagrined that I had overheard her conversation with Sasha and I had to apologize for eaves dropping. I explained that I’m a writer/blogger and that I often listen to conversations unobserved so that I can hear cadences and rhythms of speech patterns which helps me write dialogue better. Normally, I don’t let on that I’ve overheard anything, but that Sasha was just too compelling. I assured the mom that Sasha was such a riot that if her mother had any writing ability she should start a Sasha book series ASAP! We even discovered that we had lived in the same area in Israel but in different decades. She was delightful.

      • talesfromthemotherland

        November 10, 2014 at 12:29 pm

        I can almost imagine the whole scene. I would have done the same thing. 😉

  5. Dorothy Longo

    November 2, 2014 at 11:26 am


    I hope your blog helps with voter turnout. I don’t understand complacency. I’m reminded of this quote by Edmund Burke: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” The future is in our hands.


    • etomczyk

      November 2, 2014 at 7:59 pm

      Dottie: So true, so true! I really do wish we could make it a law that every citizen has to vote or be fined for if not followed. Vote or pay a penalty. If it works for Australia, it certainly could work for us.

  6. Let's CUT the Crap!

    November 2, 2014 at 11:28 am

    Another excellent post! We just had local elections where I live a week ago. Only 34% of the people in my city turned out to vote. That is beyond shameful. Disgusting.

    • etomczyk

      November 2, 2014 at 8:00 pm

      Tess. Nooooo, tell me it isn’t so! I thought Canadians were so much better at this than us. 😦

      • Let's CUT the Crap!

        November 3, 2014 at 2:05 pm

        I’m afraid not. Now everyone’s asking the question regarding what do we have to do to get voters engaged. Grr

  7. morristownmemos by Ronnie Hammer

    November 2, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    Nobody likes to be taken for granted. Yet that’s what so many of us do on Election Day. Take for granted the right that so many worked so hard to achieve for all of us.

    So no excuses; get yourself informed and get yourself to the voting booth on Tuesday.

    • etomczyk

      November 2, 2014 at 8:09 pm

      Hi Ronnie. Hope all is well. I agree, of course. There should be no excuses. But how do we get that message through to a very complacent, distracted American citizen? It is frustrating.

  8. Alaise

    November 3, 2014 at 10:08 am

    Thank you, Eleanor…That was so timely.

    • etomczyk

      November 3, 2014 at 8:37 pm

      Thanks Alaise. It was a fun one to write. They don’t always come this easily.

  9. Elyse

    November 3, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    Eleanor, this was beautifully done — and thanks for the shoutout.

    You know, I think a big part of the problem is that so often the news folks just interview each other — they aren’t newsmakers, they are reporters!,,, they shouldn’t be chatting with each other that way!

    • etomczyk

      November 3, 2014 at 8:41 pm

      Thanks Elyse. You are so right about the news folks interviewing each other with their opinions. I have purposely restructured how I gather and process the news to cut down on that inordinate influence just because of that.

  10. composerinthegarden

    November 30, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    Voting is the bomb! I still remember the Vietnam War era when those of us under 21 could not vote, even though our friends were dying in the war. I also remember the thrill of voting at age 20 after the age limit was changed; something NEVER to take lightly or to forget.

    Still, I would guess that no one votes unless 1) they think their vote is actually counted (courtesy of hanging chads, etc.) and 2) they think their vote counts rather than being an exercise in futility (think redistricting and gerrymandering) and 3) they have a vested interest in the outcome of the vote (usually as the result of owning their homes and caring about home value and all that it implies – a huge incentive for local voting practice). If those 3 elements align, people are more inclined to vote. If not, well, it’s up for grabs and the politicians know it and try to control for it. Just my humble opinion 🙂

    • etomczyk

      November 30, 2014 at 7:20 pm

      Lynn: You’re so right, and I never thought of the lack of enthusiasm that all the political manipulations can cause. Somehow, we’ve got to get people to catch the long view. Sigh.


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