About Jill Cody
Jill Cody Bio
Jill Cody, M.P.A., is a political scientist and a multiple award-winning author and radio show host (jillcodyauthor.com). Both her books, America Abandoned: The Secret Velvet Coup That Cost Us Our Democracy and Climate Abandoned: We’re on the Endangered Species List (also an #1 Amazon Bestseller), describes ideas, at the end of each chapter, regarding what the reader can Keep doing, Stop doing, and Start doing to fight for our democracy and save civilization on our planet. Jill produces and hosts a KSQD 90.7FM radio program titled “Be Bold America!” ksqd.org/be-bold-america/. Jill joined KSQD90.7FM with her show “Be Bold America!” – airing every other week on Sundays at 5:00pm (PST) – to discuss ideas with nationally-known authors and activists. This live talk show imagines an America with functional systems and ethical principles. America can be a country with engaged citizens whose lives are politically active and personally meaningful. A bold, democratic America first requires informed principled-centered citizens. For post-program listening, “Be Bold America!” is pushed out to ten podcast platforms including Apple, Google and Spotify. Like her books, she closes each show with the interview guest’s suggestions on what listeners should Keep doing, Stop doing, and Start doing as they pertain to their topic. LIVE BOLD!
Previously, Jill was Chair of the Recreation and Tourism Dept. and Deputy Director of the School of Library Information Sciences at San Jose State Univeristy, California. She is also past president of the SJSU Emeritus and Retired Faculty Association. Jill was an international Organization Development consultant in the U.S., the Czech Republic, and Egypt. In addition, she held senior management and superintendent positions in three Bay Area municipalities.
“The Beginning of Abandonment: My Story and Personal Insights”
Abandonment: “To withdraw one’s support or help from, especially in spite of duty, allegiance, or responsibility; desert.” – The Free Dictionary –
Abandonment is breathtakingly pervasive in America. Collectively, we have abandoned ourselves, our country, and even our planet.
In 1948, my parents were in their early twenties, facing the bright promise of unlimited opportunity. World War II had been over for a few years, and the country was infused with a new energy. San Francisco, where they met at a phone company, was undergoing a transformation, becoming a center of optimism, prosperity, and growth. Our country, after fighting foreign wars for so long, was ready to focus on its own future.
The time was alive with new possibilities, and there was a hope and belief that America could do anything if she put her collective mind to it. We had beaten Hitler and the Japanese. America was strong. The world was my parents’ oyster when they met; nevertheless, even enveloped by all that unbridled optimism, my mother could not escape the irreparable damage that had already been caused by abandonment. Those scars simply ran too deep, and no amount of positivity, not even on a national scale, was able to completely heal her.
When my mother was a small child, her mother and grandmother emotionally and physically abandoned her repeatedly. Sadly, my mother’s history was fraught with unimaginable, horrific things that no child or teenager should ever have to suffer. To compound the problem, there were no federal safety net programs in the country at the time, nothing that would have kept my mother from being victimized.
These grim events took a toll on her psyche and her sense of security, spawning a profound fear that would plague her for the rest of her life. As Cheryl Strayed, an award-winning memoirist, novelist, and essayist, said, “Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves.” Because my mother’s childhood abandonment was so deeply imbedded in her soul, she could never tell herself an alternative story, a happily-ever-after tale that would free her to find true relief and happiness. My mother never spoke of her bitter childhood; in fact, I only know about the horror of it because my stepfather revealed all of this to me after her death.
My stepfather’s relationship with her is parallel to the point I wish to make in America Abandoned: The Secret Velvet Coup That Cost Us Our Democracy. My mother was saved from total abandonment because he listened to her and loved her, thereby providing her security. Nevertheless, love alone was not enough. He also made an effort to understand her real needs by being sympathetic and realistic throughout their life together.
It is the same on a larger scale. Love of country and others is good, but it is not enough. We must also be realistic and sympathetic when it comes to the problems we face, in advancing our love of country by activating our individual duty and responsibility in addressing the great multitude of abandonment issues that have overtaken our society.
The genesis of America Abandoned occurred one autumn evening, while I was on vacation and reminiscing about what little I knew of my parents’ childhoods. I pondered how their rearing affected me. I searched for a word to tie it all together, and I found a common thread: Abandonment emerged and fostered a deep resonance. As my life unfolded, abandonment was a common theme in one form or another, whether emotionally, physically or both.
As I began writing this book, I realized that responsibility is the converse of abandonment. Abandonment destroys; it demolishes everything it touches because people expect duty, allegiance, and responsibility from those close to them. When the responsible parties are not dependable, those they fail are left deeply hurt and may become cynical. Cynicism is really just a symptom of a deep heart wound, a gash in the heart of someone who feels abandoned.
My purpose in writing America Abandoned and Climate Abandoned: We’re on the Endangered Species List is to increase awareness of the breadth and depth of personal and societal abandonment and how pervasive they have become — and to offer practical suggestions on how to control the negative impact of abandonment on our lives. Only through awareness can change truly begin.
Can any good come from abandonment? Yes, it can, when we willingly abandon a thought or behavior that hurts us or others and opt for healthier choices. However, when we consider the meaning and serious side effects of abandonment by people and institutions we trust, it is wholly undesirable, dangerous, and something to be avoided. Truly, we should abandon abandonment as a society.
The only way to overcome abandonment and the vacuum it creates is to take real responsibility in all areas of our lives. Realizing the impact abandonment has had on our lives will ignite hope that it does not have to subconsciously control us. We need to live principled lives and truly own our thoughts and behaviors. If we fail to take responsibility for ourselves, our society, and even our planet, we will abandon our lives and futures to someone who will be delighted to exploit them … which they certainly will
Jill Cody, a well-known, influential educator, consultant and advocate, presents an expanded view of abandonment to illustrate how this calculated crisis is destroying our democracy. This book’s optimism speaks to the hope that, when we realize we have lost something of great value, we will fight to get it back.
After reading America Abandoned, you will know it is time to take a stand, be bold, and recapture our democracy.
Climate Abandoned is for readers who are aware that climate change is an issue, sense that it is complicated, feel confused or overwhelmed by the details and scope of the problem, and desire to better understand how to be part of the solution.
With the onslaught of the super-charged Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria along with the large and legion wildfires in the Western states, more people are becoming aware that something is very, very wrong.