Serenity Blog Award #6

Hi everyone! The team here at Serenity hope you all had a wonderful March! At the end of each month, we try to celebrate some of the best blogs out there by awarding them with The Serenity Blog Award!


The Serenity Blog Award is awarded to the authors of blogs whose goal is to spread peace and unity through love and respect, while shining light on important topics.

We ask that, if you choose to display this award, you do so with your reasoning of why writing about peace is important to you.

Here are the nominees for March:

Rob Talks Mental Health

Jenny in Neverland

Social Underground

Congratulations to all the nominees!


Is 2016 the Year of the Third Party?

Not since Abraham Lincoln has the United States elected a third-party candidate.  Is it possible that 2016 will overturn the two-party’s 155-year legacy?

Short answer – no.  If you’re easily bored, you can stop reading now.

2016 may go in the history books as the most divisive political election.  People are saying the Democratic & Republican candidates are equally awful.

So, why am I so convinced we won’t swear in a third-party candidate in January 2017?

How America’s System Favors Republican & Democratic Candidates

Republican & Democratic candidates are on the ballot in all 50 states once they receive their respective party’s nomination.  Third-party candidates must petition every state to either be on the ballot or be a write-in candidate.

There’s also the media coverage disadvantages third-party candidates face.

This year’s televised national debates had record viewer numbers.  However, only Republican & Democratic candidates appeared & shared their policy plans (or insulted one another, depending on who was talking).  This was key to getting the candidates’ views out.

The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), a nonpartisan (so they claim), nonprofit organization, sets the debate stage rules.  To appear, candidates must meet this criterion to show they have a chance of winning & public support:

  • Constitutional eligibility
  • Appearing on enough ballots to have a mathematical chance of winning
  • Polling at 15% in five national polls the CPD picks for their reputation & methodology

Two third-party candidates – Dr. Jill Stein & Mr. Gary Johnson, specifically – petitioned the CPD to let them debate the major party candidates.  However, neither candidate was polling at or above 15%, & the CPD refused to let them.

Major party candidates spend hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in advertising beyond the debates.  However, third-party candidates usually fund their own campaigns or get small sums from individuals, so they don’t have the same spending power.

The media is also less likely to invite them to panels & interviews.  So, they have to make every dollar & appearance count.  A single mistake could be all voters remember about a third-party candidate.  Many people know about Mr. Johnson’s on-air “Aleppo” flub, but they would be hard-pressed to name his take on important issues.

Why Third-Party Candidates Can’t Buck the Trend

Originally, I researched Dr. Jill Stein & Mr. Gary Johnson extensively for this post.  I wrote up a draft with their CVs, their political experience, & their faults.  I avoided their takes on the issues because my opinion on a candidate’s political views wouldn’t match someone else’s.

Then, as my research progressed, I realized I couldn’t discuss the third-party candidates in a single post.  I could write for years & not address every single third-party candidate – there are just too many.

In 2016, three third-party candidates are on the ballot in 20 or more states.  Five third-party candidates are on the ballot in fewer than 20 states.  Twenty-one third-party candidates are on the ballot in fewer than five states.  Five hundred & forty third-party candidates are write-in candidates!

But, we’re familiar with two, maybe three, third-party candidates at best.  The sheer number of third-parties (50+) makes it difficult for any one third-party candidate to gain traction in the general election.

Third-Party Path to Presidency

Federal & state governments make election rules.  Because most of those government representatives are either Republicans or Democrats, the laws favor those parties.

Third-parties would serve their efforts better by building up state & federal representation.  There, they could help craft laws that support their candidates.  They could also expose voters to issues they hold dear, make real changes for the people, & strengthen their party.

Instead, they tend to aim for the presidency before they build a third-party political resume.  Dr. Jill Stein has run – but lost – several Massachusetts elections as a Green Party candidate.  Mr. Gary Johnson served as a Governor of New Mexico as a Republican before running for the presidency as a Libertarian.

The other 567 candidates, I can’t speak to.  I doubt any one person can.


Spreading The Good Word

I know from the title, it sounds like there’s going to be some proselytizing in this post.  I assure you, that’s not the case (it simply sounded witty in my head).

Our dear friend, Ben from Meerkat Musings & leader of Coalition Of The Brave recently attended Star Trek Europe.  Not only did he get to meet the amazing Christopher Lloyd & the fantastic George Takei (for which I’m incredibly jealous), but he also chatted with Marina Sirtis, who played Deanna Troi on The Next Generation.

After the convention, Ben tweeted with Ms. Sirtis & she was kind enough to retweet a link to Serenity.  We here at the Serenity team couldn’t be more blown away by both Ben & Ms. Sirtis’s kindness in getting the word out about our blog.

Thank you, to both of them, & to everyone who reads our blog.




Somewhere, someone just cringed.

No one likes hearing, directly or implied, that they have privilege.  We don’t like hearing that our race, age, gender, sexuality, religion, or other factor we have no control over, somehow gives us an unfair advantage.

“Privilege” brings to mind partying frat boys.  People who have had everything handed to them on a silver platter, possibly with a side of Beluga caviar.

We think, “Well, that’s not us!  That couldn’t possibly refer to us!”

Or, we defensively rattle off the ways in which we’re disadvantaged.  We grew up poor.  We didn’t go to college.  Our parents had issues.  We have issues.

Unfortunately, none of these factors eliminates the pervasive influence of privilege.  Where we might be deficit in some way, – say, economically or by a lack of higher education – we still have privileges to which we could easily remain blissfully blind.

To be conscious of our privilege, we have to be made aware of how oppression – the unfortunate flip side to privilege – plays out in other people’s day-to-day lives.  To do that, someone has to point out our privilege to us.

I’ll give you an anecdote from my life, because I know this concept can be hard to understand without an example.

I once posted to Facebook that I drive like there’s a cop behind me.  I was using this to describe how carefully & safely I try to drive.

A friend, a female person of color, commented that driving with a cop behind her – real or imaginary – made her incredibly anxious.  It was her experience that, when the police were behind her, they were going to pull her over.

I was floored.  I hadn’t thought of that, because, as a white woman, I don’t get racially profiled every time I drive to the supermarket.

She called me out on my privilege, &, to be honest, I couldn’t be more thankful for it.  It gave me the opportunity to see things from a perspective that privilege’s insidious nature covered up.  I stopped, took a breath, recognized that her lived reality was different from mine, & that what I had said was hurtful in ways I hadn’t intended.

She called me out on my privilege & I appreciate her more than I can express for doing it.

Being told that we have privilege stings.  I know it does.  However, people call us on it to say there’s a problem with society, from which we’re – through no fault, attempt, or even consciousness on our part – benefiting & under which they’re suffering.

They’re saying that what we’ve said or done has hurt them because it highlights ways they’re treated differently, they’re treated poorly, by society.  You don’t mean it that way, because you don’t see that side of it.  Our privilege shields us until someone tells us how it is.

What we do with that information after it’s brought to light… that’s under our control.  What will you do with your privilege: ignore it, deny it, or fight against it being used to hurt others?  Those are your choices.  Do the right thing.

The Serenity Blog Award

Matt took the time to respond to Serenity’s first ever award & he wrote a fantastic reply to the question “Why do you find it important to write about peace?”

In Silence We Suffer

A couple of days ago I was lucky enough to receive The Serenity Blog Award. Serenity is a site set up by a group of fantastic bloggers – B.G., Carla, Ariel and Rae – some of whom I keep in regular contact with. If you have a free 5 minutes I’d really recommend heading over there to check out their collaboration as well as their own personal blogs.

As part of the award, Serenity asked me why writing about peace is important to me…

Life is complicated. We wish it was simple, but it’s not. We all know the conflictions that can occur. The difficulty to find balance in our life, between good days and bad days, between work and play, between helping others and looking after ourselves. It’s not as easy as we’d like. We don’t need to be suffering from mental illness to have days in which we struggle.


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Award Exception

Josh’s brilliant response to the first ever Serenity award!

My Friday Blog

Hello dear reader(s)!

A while back, I received a blog award.  Despite my usual award-free blog-type-thing stance, I have made an exception in this case, since it is actual recognition and not a game of nomination tag.  The award is the Serenity Blog Award.  The award is given to those blogs whose goal is “to spread peace and unity through love and respect, while shining light on important topics”, which is apparently something they think this blog-type-thing does.  And maybe from time to time, they are right.

I wanted to display the little graphic thingy, but I can’t get it to show up.  Oh well.

Anyway, I think it is important now, having accepted this award, to explain why I write about peace.

I write about peace the same reason I write anything else.  I write about what is important to me.  I feel that as humans…

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About Me: Ariel Lynn

Hello everyone!  My name is Ariel Lynn.  While I’m new to WordPress, I’ve been writing for years.  I graduated, Magna Cum Laude, from a state University with a degree in English and a concentration in Creative Writing.  I had a poem published in The Melancholy Dane Review in Spring 2009.

After I finished writing for school, I started writing in the professional world.  I wrote web content for law firms and attorneys – who are far too busy and important (not to mention ignorant of how people read on the Internet) to write their own content – in addition to pet blogging and copyediting.

I’m incredibly excited to be a part of this venture.  I only hope I can live up to the work of my colleagues.

You can read my sparse blog posts on WritingRadiation.

If you want to contact us, please email us! (If you’d prefer to type out the email address, it’s