Wearing a Mask in Public-Liberal Snowflake?

Our friend Jeff over at On the Fence Voters ponders about our society, how we are responding to the current crisis, and how Trump is further stretching the Great Divide that led to his unconscionable election three+ years ago. I can especially relate to his last sentence … I no longer recognize the country I once respected. Thank you, Jeff!

On The Fence Voters

These days everything is up for grabs. In today’s hyper-sensitive political climate, it doesn’t seem to matter. One would think that if you’re told to wear a mask in public to protect you and the people around you from possibly contracting a dangerous virus, it would be a no brainer to wear the mask.

But these are not normal times if you didn’t know that already. We have an abnormal president with a group of followers whose main goal in life now is to “own the libs” at all costs–no matter the consequences.

And it’s becoming increasingly apparent that the mask issue is only the beginning. What we’re seeing is the political strategy of the current president becoming more evident by the day. And if the Democrats aren’t up to the task to counter-punch, we may be in for a sad day on November 3, 2020.

As we all know…

View original post 951 more words

The Unthinkable Becomes Reality

What do you think about a president holding the highest office in the land, who purposefully and with malice incites people to violence?  What do you think about the ‘leader’ of a nation of 330 million people, who curses and denigrates more than half of that population?

I have seen twelve presidents (not counting Trump, who I refuse to call a ‘president’) come and go in my lifetime.  Some I’ve liked better than others, some I respected more than others, but not a single one have I literally despised.  I cannot say the same for Donald F. Trump.

President Harry S. Truman had a sign on his desk …Truman-buck-sign

“The buck stops here” … ultimately, the responsibility falls on the shoulders of the man at the top.  Too bad we don’t have a ‘man’ at the top today, but rather a self-aggrandizing lout whose motto is …Trump-no-responsibility

A number of quotes are attributed to President John F. Kennedy, one of which is …

kennedy

But Trump claims …

stable-genius

Or another comparison between Kennedy and Trump …kennedy-trump

And Trump’s predecessor, who he seems to have an unrelenting and unreasonable hatred for …obama-quote

Vs Trump …Trump-bigot

And I could cite example after example of how much more intelligent, more compassionate, more humanitarian every one of his predecessors were, but you get the picture, right?  This week, though, came what should be, but likely won’t be, the final straw, the most ignominious thing he has done to date, and believe me, there’s quite a bucketful of them.

On Friday Trump spewed forth a series of tweets in response to the news that groups were forming in some states to protest the shuttering of most businesses in their states, and the guidelines encouraging people to stay home, out of public venues, as much as possible.  They want businesses open and ‘business as usual’ to resume.

trump-tweets

Close your eyes and try to imagine President Kennedy or President Obama calling for a group of people to overthrow the government … the image just doesn’t work, does it?

Trump speaks and his base rally to the cause, never understanding that they are putting lives in jeopardy, that they are issuing a proverbial slap-in-the-face to all the doctors, nurses and other essential workers who are on the frontlines in the battle against this pandemic.  And never, apparently, stopping to think that … whether all businesses open tomorrow or six months from now, it will not be “business as usual”.  Not for a very long time, if ever.

Trump’s call for liberation from current shut-down rules followed protests around the country as protesters — many wearing red “Make America Great Again” hats — congregated in packed groups around state capitols to demand that restrictions be immediately lifted and to demonize both Democratic and Republican governors.

In Michigan, protesters waved banners in support of Trump and protested Governor Gretchen Whitmer by chanting, “Lock her up.” Sound familiar?  In St. Paul, Minnesota, a group calling itself “Liberate Minnesota” rallied against stay-at-home orders in front of the home of Governor Tim Walz, demanding he “end this lockdown!” In Columbus, Ohio, protesters crowded closely together as they pressed up against the doors of the state’s Capitol.  I am told that even in the more progressive state of California, hundreds gathered in Huntington Beach calling the stay-at-home ‘orders’ tyrannical.

I was particularly incandescent when I read that Stephen Moore, a conservative economist and a member the White House council to reopen the country, said of the protestors …

“I call these people the modern-day Rosa Parks — they are protesting against injustice and a loss of liberties.”

BULLSHIT. 

In Michigan, one of the hardest-hit states with more than 30,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and over 2,200 deaths, Michigan Conservative Coalition member Matthew Seely said …

“I feel terrible about the lives lost, but at some point, we have to say ‘Mission accomplished’ and come up with the next phase of this that doesn’t have us continuously locked inside our homes.”

Rather like saying, “Gee, too bad thousands of people have died, but … oh well. 🤷‍♂️

Denny Tubbs, a local leader of Ohio Stands United, a gun rights group, attended a protest rally in the state capital of Columbus against business closures ordered by Mike DeWine, a Republican governor.

“I’m not saying it doesn’t have to be dealt with but shutting down and crushing the economy is not the way to do it. Our civil rights have been stomped on.”

Tubbs is a gunmaker, by the way.

A competent president would be urging calm, but instead Trump is egging the protestors on, urging them to basically overthrow their state governments!  What sort of a leader does this?  What’s next?  Do the protestors come drag people out of their homes and force them to open businesses and congregate?

It is unthinkable to have a president who urges citizens to resort to violence against their own government.  As much as I miss our Saturday outings to dinner and a trip to the bookstore, I am not comfortable with businesses re-opening yet, for most medical experts have cautioned that to re-open too early would almost certainly lead to a second wave of mass fatalities and ultimately yet another shut-down.  And yet, the republicans in this nation are more than willing to risk that … for what?  I’ve said more than once that common sense must prevail, that we cannot cower under our beds in fear.  But, what the protestors, egged on by Trump as well as conservative groups, are urging is dangerous, foolhardy, and selfish, caring more for their own profit than our lives.

In normal times, a crisis such as this pandemic would have pulled people together in this nation.  We’ve seen it before many times.  But these are not normal times, and we have the single most divisive person at the helm of this ship.  It is insane for this person, who is responsible for some 330 million lives, to be inciting what amounts to civil war in this nation.  Thus far, to the best of my knowledge, nobody has been injured in these protests, but it is only a matter of time, especially with gun shops open and gun sales at an all-time high. Will Congress and the Courts stop the madness emanating from the Oval Office?  Doubtful.  Will we stop him in November?  That’s up to us, isn’t it?

How Versus Why–And Why It’s Important

The newest member of On the Fence Voters wrote a very thoughtful … and thought-provoking … post yesterday that I would like to share with you this afternoon. I hadn’t thought to categorize people in this way before, and I suspect that most people are some combination of these two, but what he says makes a lot of sense. Take a look …

On The Fence Voters

Keeping in mind the crucial caveat that there are exceptions to almost every rule, I will attempt to persuade those reading this missive that we can accurately place every human into one of two categories. Category one is made up of how people. Category two is made up of why people. How people tend to be doers; they accomplish beneficial tasks–or at least want to do so. Why people tend to be dreamers, thinkers. They might also accomplish beneficial tasks, but they are more likely to want to discover why those tasks the how people accomplish are beneficial.

How People

How people tend to be hard-working blue-collar folks. If they attended any college, it probably was a community college or a trade college. It’s likely that during their career-preparation years they had only marginal interest in subjects outside those that pertained to their chosen profession…

View original post 776 more words

Filosofa’s 2020 State Of The Union

This evening, Donald Trump will present to members of Congress and anyone who cares to listen, the annual State of the Union Address.  Last year, as Trump was forced to cancel his planned January address, I wrote my own, thinking that perhaps I would be asked to fill in for him.  I wasn’t, but still, it was a good speech, so I’ve decided to prepare my own again this year.  Some things are the same as last year, some have changed.


Good morning, fellow humans.  This is called the State of the Union address because the purpose is to inform the people of this nation how the country is doing.

Environment

I regret that I must tell you that we have some very serious problems here in the U.S., and if we don’t address them very soon, the ramifications will be tragic.  We produce and use far too much coal and oil, for the fossil fuel industry has our government in a choke-hold that keeps us from doing everything in our power to promote renewable energy sources.  Far too much federal land has been opened to mining, drilling, and logging, and we don’t yet know the full extent of the environmental impact, or the level of destruction of wildlife.  The fossil fuel and logging industries are putting farmland and water supplies at risk.  In addition, we have rolled back so many environmental regulations that we are putting far more CO2 into the atmosphere per capita than any other nation on the planet, including China.  We have made little or no effort to reduce single-use plastics and other garbage that is polluting our land and waterways, not to mention the oceans.  This is the area that is most important of all the topics I will cover here, and yet we are doing the least to address the problems.

Economy

If one looks only at the Dow-Jones or the employment rates, the economy looks pretty fair.  But, there is more to the economy than just the stock market and employment rates.  When you look at such things as affordable housing, income inequality and minimum wage, the picture is far less rosy.  Then, factor in the national debt, which stands today at more than $23 trillion, and the budget deficit hovering around the $1 trillion mark, you can see that in truth the economy has some serious problems.  It may seem great for that upper 1% who are the beneficiaries of keeping wages low, tax cuts, and other benefits, but the majority of people in the U.S. are no better off than they were ten years ago.

Education

The average cost of a four-year degree ranges from $40,000 for in-state tuition at a public college, to $140,000 at a private college.  It is estimated that with rising college costs, that amount will nearly double over the next decade.  Few working-class families can afford that, so students must rely on financial aid.  Young people are leaving college already burdened with a mound of debt that would have purchased a nice home 15-20 years ago.  The result is that fewer and fewer students are attending college, for it is rapidly becoming available only to the wealthy.  This is alarming, for who will be the doctors, lawyers, accountants, scientists, computer programmers, etc. in the coming decades?

Global image

As I reported last year, we have lost the trust of our allies.  Since WWII, the U.S. has worked hard to be a trusted and valued partner in the global community, to develop alliances for the purposes of trade and security. But in order to maintain those alliances, we must first be a good friend, and we have let that ball drop. We have pulled out of treaties, imposed tariffs, been a poor trading partner, nearly started a war in the Middle East, and been critical of our allies for less than no reason.  At the same time, our leadership has gone out of its way to befriend our adversaries.  Is it any wonder, then, that a recent Pew research poll indicates that 64% of the 32 countries surveyed had very little confidence in the leadership of the U.S.

Domestic strife

The United States is more divided than at any time since the close of the Civil War in 1865.  We are divided along racial lines, religious ones, and more than ever before, along political lines.  The majority of the people do not trust our government, do not believe anything that comes from Washington.  When the people have lost all faith and trust in government, the nation has truly lost its way.  This is not a sustainable situation, but rather one that is likely to lead to serious trouble in the near future.

Guns

Already on this, the fourth day of February and 35th day of the new year, we have seen 28 mass shootings, resulting in 38 deaths and 112 injuries, for a total of 150 victims.  In total, in these first 35 days of the year, there have been a total of 3,618 gun deaths in the U.S. – 1,374 were homicides and the other 2,244 were suicides.  This figure, as much as any, tells the true state of the union.  No meaningful gun legislation was passed into law last year.

Immigration

While the majority of the people in this nation welcome immigrants, understand that immigrants add to the richness of our culture and contribute in countless ways to the well-being of our country, immigrants are being treated terribly.  Just last week, six more nations were added to the travel ban … nations whose people have never and do not now pose any threat whatsoever to the United States.  Funds have been siphoned from other areas to support the building of an unneeded border wall on the U.S.-Mexico border – over $10 billion in total – money wasted.  And children are still living in cages at the southern border, separated from their parents, perhaps forever.

Health care

There are now some 44 million people in the U.S. with no health insurance.  While there has been much talk, many promises, the only actions have been those which caused the cost of health insurance and prescription medication to rise, making it un-affordable for many.

Although I could go on, my time is up.  As you can see, the state of the nation leaves much room for improvement, however I would like to end on a positive note.  One industry in particular has seen positive growth.  Alcohol sales in the U.S. rose by some 5.1% over the past year!  If you’re looking for a place to invest a few dollars, I strongly recommend Jack Daniels or Budweiser!

Admittedly, last year’s ‘Filosofa’s State of the Union’ was better than this years, but consider that I’ve had an entire year of deterioration & detritus has taken place since then, and I think my gloomier outlook is somewhat justified.  I can only wonder what next year’s will bring!

Discord & Dissension — Part III — Where Do We Go From Here?

Where do we go from here?

Last week Jeff did a marvelous job explaining much of what has led us to where we are today, a place I call The Great Divide.  This nation is divided more than at any other time since the end of the Civil War in 1865.  The divide is complex … not just white vs non-white, but Christian vs women, LGBTQ, & non-Christian, even once again male vs female.  And perhaps most notably, conservative vs liberal.  Those who are for smaller governments with fewer powers, for unlimited wealth, for uber-capitalism, versus those whose values are all about people, about using tax monies to help those in need, to reduce the ever-widening income disparity, to educate the nation’s youth, to provide such things as health care, housing and food for those who cannot provide for themselves.

Trump was able to rise to power largely because of those divisions.  He played them, he pitted one against the other, he instilled in his supporters a ‘fear of other’.  Since 9/11, people in this nation have worked to quell their fear of Middle-Easterners, and then along came Trump and fanned the flames of fear.

Today we stand at a crossroads, a place where we must decide to either accept the rifts, to allow a madman to divide and conquer, or to move past the things that divide us and search for common ground, to find ways to heal this nation.

So, Jeff answered the question, “How did we get here?”, and I must attempt to answer the question, “Where do we go from here?”  My inclination is to answer with three words:  to the polls.  But, while that is obviously the short answer, there must be more.  We must find ways to reach out to that 40% I mentioned in our introduction two weeks ago … the 40% who did not bother to vote in 2016.  We must find ways to remind ourselves that we are all in this together and that if we don’t make some serious changes, we will all go down … together.

To those of us who are displeased with the corruption, greed, and lack of integrity in Trump’s administration, it is clear that we must vote him out of office.  No doubts there.  But, my friends, that is not the end of it, for Trump is not the entirety of the problem.  I have long said, and I still believe, that Trump is but a symbol of a greater problem.  Some 40% of the people in this country still, despite massive corruption and ineptitude among Trump and his cohorts, support him.  Even if Trump leaves the White House on January 20th 2021, those 40% are still out there, and they are going to be mightily displeased.

So, the problem is multi-fold.  First, we need to vote Trump out of office, for it is the opinion of this writer that he presents, as our friend Keith has often said, a clear and present danger to the future of this nation.  But then what?  How do we heal the ‘great divide’?  How do we find a middle ground, some common cause?  When I was doing graduate work back in the 1980s, one of my jobs was as a research assistant for a professor of Political Science, Joe Scolnick.  At the time, Joe was writing a paper on conflict management, and I well remember the theme.  According to his research, when the people of a nation are so seriously divided, often a threat from outside the nation is the only thing that will bring them together.

In our lifetime, we have seen how this works, albeit briefly.  Remember in the days and weeks following 11 September 2001, aka 9/11?  New Yorkers, notorious for their callousness and stand-offish personas (which is somewhat of a myth anyway) came together, they helped their neighbors, they volunteered both time and resources.  All around the nation, people were kinder, more human.  It didn’t last for long, but it was there … it was palpable.

I experienced this on a personal level.  I live in a neighborhood that is comprised of about 30% Middle-Eastern refugees.  They are all truly wonderful people, generous to a fault, kind and caring.  A couple of days after 9/11, a woman from down the street, a Pakistani woman, brought me flowers, a card, and said that she just wanted me to know how sorry she was.

But back to my point.  Governments have, at some points throughout history, created an external threat to bring about internal cohesion.  Think about that one for a minute.  Do we really need to have a threat from outside, whether real or perceived, to bring the people of this country together for the common good?  I don’t think so, but if we don’t find ways to heal ourselves, we leave ourselves open to that very real possibility.

I like to think there are more things that we have in common than there are things that divide us, though sometimes it certainly doesn’t seem that way.  For one thing, we are all humans with shared needs of family, food, clothing, shelter, jobs, friends … and love.  This is our country, our home.  All of those are basic human needs, far more substantial and important than the things that divide us.  Among those things that divide us, I think there are three that rank at the top of the list:  religious beliefs, income disparity, and bigotry.

So, our first goal must be the November elections, not only the presidential, but also the congressional and gubernatorial elections.  And, in the interest of staying focused, keeping our eye on that ball, we will focus most of our attention in this project toward that end, but keep in the back of your mind, that the problem does not end when Donald Trump walks out of the White House.

Now, beyond going to the polls on November 3rd, we have other things we need to do.

Every day, states are working on ways to disenfranchise minority and lower income voters.  Some of their tools are gerrymandering, voter ID laws, closing or reducing the hours of polling stations, purging voter registration rolls, making registration harder, and the list goes on.  Most of this we have little voice in, but there are things we can do.  The most important thing, I think, is … talk.  We need to work toward convincing people how imperative it is for them to vote.  And, we need to have conversations about the reasons Trump must be voted out of office.  This is the tough one, folks, but … we have been going about it all wrong, I think.  A few of you may remember my post from August 2017 about Daryl Davis,  a black man who befriended members of the KKK by listening to them, talking to them, reasoning with them, and had convinced more than 200 KKK members to lay down their robes.  He didn’t call them names, didn’t belittle them … he tried to understand them, and to help them to understand him.  This, I think, is the approach we must take, this is how we will help some Trump supporters understand what it is we want for this nation.

We have our work cut out for us, my friends.  There are just under 10 months until election day, just 286 days.  Right now, if I had to lay odds, I would say that if the election were held tomorrow, Donald Trump would get another 4-year term, for he has played the victim card on the impeachment issue, and played it well.  His fan base are typically single-issue voters, and the two most important issues to them are immigration and religious ‘rights’, including an abortion ban.  Let’s put our heads together, let’s try to find common ground with those who view the world through a different lens than we do.  In the long run, it will be worth our effort.

*Note to Readers:  This project will be ongoing for … some time, we’re not sure how long yet, but we would like to keep up the momentum through election day, at least.  In keeping with that, we will cover various topics once a week for (with an occasional break) the next ten months, including how to motivate voters, the lifetime appointments of the judiciary, where we go from here, the role of the U.S. in the larger, global world, and more.  After the Democratic National Convention, when there is a final Democratic nominee, we will move more into the area of platforms and ideologies.  We hope you’re enjoying this project as much as we are and really would welcome any ideas or suggestions you may have.


Table of Contents to Project Discord & Dissension

Discord & Dissension — Part I — Introduction

Discord & Dissension – Part ll – “How did we get here? – Part 1”  

Discord & Dissension – Part ll – “How did we get here? – Part 2”

Discord & Dissension – Part II – “How did we get here? – Part 2”

We proudly present the second part of this week’s ‘Discord and Dissension’ project … please feel free to comment and make any suggestions you may have … we want this project to make a difference! Thanks to all of you!

On The Fence Voters

Note to readers: This week’s post on our ‘Discord and Dissension’ project ended up being too long for a single post, and so it will be presented in two parts. The first part was presented earlier this morning, which you can read here. The following post is the second part. 

Bush v. Gore

The 2000 election was extremely close. In the end, it came down to the state of Florida. George W. Bush had a lead of only 500 votes over Al Gore, and a recount ensued. It was during this period where the partisan divide between the two parties was on full display. One of the closest and most contentious elections was ultimately decided by the Supreme Court when they settled in a 5-4 decision to halt the recount—a split decision which also reflected the conservative versus liberal ideological makeup of the court.

The fact that Al Gore ultimately…

View original post 887 more words

Discord & Dissension – Part I – Intro

The year is 2020.  Ten days into the new year, and so much has already happened that we cannot keep up.  The world is teetering on the brink, and all thanks to one ‘man’:  Donald Trump.  Yes, that Donald Trump, the ‘man’ who sits in the White House, in the highest position of leadership in the nation, despite the fact that he lost the election by nearly 3 million votes.

The year is 2020, and the United States will be having an election on November 3rd, in just 298 days the people of this nation will head to the polls to cast their vote for their representative, some for their senator, and all for the next president.  Or will they?  In 2016, between 58% – 59% of eligible voters actually voted.  WHY?  Because …

  • Hillary Clinton was a woman
  • Hillary Clinton was not “warm and fuzzy”
  • Hillary Clinton was blamed for her husband’s indiscretions
  • Donald Trump claimed that Hillary Clinton was responsible for the lives lost in Benghazi, though that myth was long since de-bunked
  • People who had hoped that either Bernie Sanders or Jill Stein would gain the Democratic Party nomination were disappointed and thus stayed home, rather than vote at all
  • People claimed they were “making a statement” by not voting

There are many more reasons, of course, but folks … think about it … barely more than half of the people who could have voted, did.  Throughout the relatively short history of this nation, men and women have put their lives on the line to protect our right to have a voice in our government, and some 40% of the nation’s citizens threw that right away.

Because of that … mainly the apathy and ignorance of people in this nation … we are currently facing a number of crises in this nation, not the least of which is that an impeached president, trying to distract the public from his own crimes, is leading us down a path of destruction.

The year is 2020, an election year, possibly the most crucial one in the 233-year history of the United States of America.  If we lose this one, we may well be responsible for ending life on this planet as we know it today.

The year is 2020, and here in the U.S., the two parties, Democratic and Republican, are more divided than at any time in history.  There are strong ideological differences, as there have always been, but it goes even beyond that.  We are almost two separate nations without a line of demarcation, and the sheer antagonism between the two is toxic.  How did we get to this point?  How can we ever reconcile the seemingly irreconcilable differences? Where do we go from here?

The year is 2020, and we are determined to make our voices heard, to do our part to put an end to the madness that has overtaking the U.S.  Who are we?  We are Jeff and Jill – you know us from On the Fence Voters and Filosofa’s Word.  We are going to spend part of our time and some of our voices in the coming ten months trying to make a difference. We will be in your inbox most Fridays screaming WAKE UP, AMERICA!! We are all, democrat or republican, Christian, Jew, Muslim or atheist, black, brown or white … we are all in this together and in order to make this nation whole and healthy again, we need to start … somewhere!  We hope you will join us in our little project, and we look forward to your input and suggestions.

Next Friday, 17 January, Jeff will begin with a bit about each of the two parties, the origins and how they got where they are today, then Jill will follow up with where we go from here.  After that, we are going to be considering ways we can make a difference in this year’s upcoming election, how we can get voters engaged, make them see how important their vote is, etc. We will also be discussing things like religious liberty, the long-term effect of judicial appointments, and whatever else seems relevant in any given week.  We want you to feel free to jump in with comments or even a guest post if you feel so inclined!  That’s our plan for now, at least, but with the landscape changing daily, sometimes hourly, our focus could change over time.  That’s the fun part … we have no idea where we’ll end up!  So, until next Friday …

Elmo

The Purpose of Life?

My mind is in a state of rambling and introspection today …

What, for most humans, is the purpose of life?  I’m not asking about the ‘meaning’ of life, for that will be something very unique and personal to each of us … what gives your life or mine meaning is not necessarily universal.  But, what I am asking is the purpose … what justifies me or you taking up space and using valuable resources on this planet?

No, I haven’t lost my bloomin’ mind … I’m just cleaning it out a bit.  Much of the news over the past few weeks/months/years, have led me to ask this question, have taken my mind down a path that needs to be explored.  And no, this isn’t in the least bit a deep philosophical discussion, but rather an ideological one.

Is the purpose of life to gather as much wealth, as many toys and shiny objects as possible during the course of one’s life?  It sure does seem that some people would answer in that way.  Think … here in the U.S., people applauded when the fool-on-the-hill rolled back environmental regulations in order to benefit the fossil fuel industries.  Why?  Well, the robber barons in the coal and oil industries applauded because it extended, albeit briefly, their ability to make money at the expense of the planet, the future.  Other people applauded because they hoped it meant their jobs in those industries would be secure, at least for a few more years, for they know no other trade.  And some applauded simply because it was Barack Obama, an African-American, under whose tutelage the regulations had been established in the first place.

Donald Trump ran in 2016 on the buzz-phrase, “make America great again”, but what does ‘great’ mean?  My vision of a ‘great nation’ is different than that of those who wear the silly red hats and cheer Trump’s slogan.  My vision of what makes the U.S. … or any nation, for that matter … great is diversity, people of all nationalities, all getting along together.  In my vision of a great nation, people help each other just because it’s the right thing, the compassionate thing to do, not because there is something in it for them.  But, in the maga crowd’s view, I think greatness is defined differently.  I think it is defined in terms of relative wealth and of bigotry.  I think the maga crowd wish to turn this into a nation of straight, white, Christians, and in my book, that would be hell on earth.

So, what is the purpose of life?  And please note that I am not coming at this question from any religious viewpoint … that speaks, again, to the ‘meaning’ rather than the purpose.  To me, I would feel I had fulfilled my purpose if I made other people happy, if something I did improved the quality of life on earth for as many as possible.  I’ve no interest in wealth, am quite content with the basic essentials (essentials, of course, includes books!)  Do you think Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell or any other politician in our government today would be satisfied with such?  Or what about the CEOs of Exxon-Mobil, Amazon or Nike?

In my view, the purpose of life should be about making life better for everyone, not just for oneself, or even one’s family.  I fail to understand what pleasure is derived from gathering wealth just for the sake of wealth.  The only purpose I see in wealth is the ability to use such wealth to help others, to help find ways to improve the quality of life for as many people as possible.  But instead, those who value their wealth over humanity are using their wealth to destroy all life on earth.  They are using it to build more factories that spew more chemicals into the earth’s atmosphere.  They are using it to develop harmful products that enable them to grow more food but are killing the bees – bees without whom we will all die sooner than later.  They are using it to build and buy weapons, both for military and civilians, that have the sole purpose of killing.

Socialist?  Yeah, I pretty much lean that way these days.  I would much prefer to see equality among all than the scant 1%, or I believe it is now ½%, living in houses with gold-plated toilets while others go to bed with empty bellies.  I would like to see people getting along rather than the bitter gulf that exists between the political parties and their followers these days.  I would like to see people throw their guns into the sea, deciding that life has more value than the false sense of power the gun gives them.  I would like to see all people caring enough about future generations of all life forms to make the sacrifices necessary to protect and preserve the planet and its resources.

I think that our lives can have purpose, and for many they do, but that purpose isn’t money.  If one’s purpose is to amass great wealth, then I posit that the person truly has no purpose at all.  Thanks for putting up with my rambling thoughts for the day … and now … back to the news of the day.  I see Trump just fired John Bolton. More chaos. Sigh.

A Visit To The Other Side …

I stumbled, quite by accident, onto a very conservative website, Townhall, last night.  As soon as I saw some of the OpEd titles, I knew I was not in Kansas anymore, and was aiming to make a hasty getaway before I was spotted in enemy territory.  But then … I thought … why not take a look at what they are saying?  I’ve long said that in order to meet somewhere in the middle, we must first listen to each other, right?  Here is a sampling of the titles of some of the OpEd pieces on this site …

  • Trump Pushes Back Against Anti-Christian Bullies and Bigots – Todd Starnes
  • Trump Supporters Have ALL The Moral High Ground. Don’t Cede One Inch Of It To The Left – Scott Morefield
  • American Workers Looking Forward to Five More Labor Days With Trump – Bob Paduchik
  • The New York Times’ Revisionist History on the Start and Story of America Is Absurd and Dangerous – Richard Land
  • President Trump—Not Democrats—Is Really Helping Low-income Americans – Michael Busler
  • Mainstream Media Hijack Hurricane Dorian for Climate-Change Alarm – Vijay Jayaraj
  • Democrats Put Their Faith in the Faithless – Robert Knight

I actually read a few of these articles this morning, thankful that I hadn’t yet eaten, so there was no danger of a return visit, and then I went to take a shower, for I felt somehow dirty.  These are semi-legitimate journalists, by the way, not the Tucker Carlson variety of ranters, although I did notice Ann Coulter’s name on their list of contributors.  According to Media Bias/Fact Check, their factual reporting gets a mixed review, as they are known to “publish misleading reports and omit reporting of information”. Anyway … in case you care what the other side thinks … I shall share just a few relevant snippets.


From the Scott Morefield piece …

  • Especially given a leftist-controlled mainstream press all-too-willing to portray the president as a monster and his policies as monstrous, you may be forgiven for thinking all of those things. But the reality, however, is actually the exact opposite of what they would have you believe. In fact, it is Trump’s supporters who truly have every inch of the moral high ground. In fact, it is Trump’s policies that are the very definition of objective principles, morals, and values, even if his presentation at times gives his haters ammunition by seeming to belie that fact.
  • Every time these jackals politicize mass shootings to call for more gun control, remember that they really don’t care about any of the lives such legislation would save, especially considering they know full well the legislation they espouse wouldn’t actually save any lives. In their unquenchable thirst for control, leftists would happily take away the right to defend oneself against rogue criminals or rogue governments. They cry alligator tears at the deaths of gun victims while ignoring those who successfully defend themselves with guns or the unarmed who die from a senseless home invasion.
  • Those who refuse to support President Trump based on optics alone are completely missing the big picture. Whether you consider some of his tweets and comments “presidential” or not, the policies Trump espouses and helps to implement through executive orders, signed legislation, and appointing judges result in by far the greatest good for the greatest number of people, full stop.

From Bob Paduchik’s …

  • The Democratic Party’s presidential candidates not only want to repeal the tax cuts that saved taxpayers an average of $1,400 last year and restore the regulatory overreach that crippled American businesses during the Obama era, they’re also urging surrender in the seminal trade negotiations that are still underway between the Trump administration and the Chinese.
  • The Democrats have plenty of other nasty surprises in store for working Americans, too. Their outrageous “Medicare for all” proposal, for instance, would eliminate the private health insurance plans that workers earned at the bargaining table.

And, according to Robert Knight …

  • Democrats can’t seem to figure out whether they want to use the government to drive Christianity underground or just replace the biblical version with fake Christianity. These aren’t mutually exclusive goals; either one brings America closer to a secular, socialist state whose unofficial religion is atheism.
  • Democratic presidential contenders like former Vice President Joe Biden, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, California Sen. Kamala Harris and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg invoke Christianity to shill for taxpayer-funded, unrestricted abortion and the family values of Sodom, plus confiscation of wealth and redistribution. Note to the media:  Why aren’t Democrats – and Republicans – being asked what they think of Drag Queen Story Hour? Anyone?

Well, I think you get the gist, right?  The thing that disturbs me is that both sides are so far apart on all issues from foreign policy to humanitarian issues to immigration to religion that I see no room for any middle ground.  The middle ground seems to have become a barren desert where nothing can exist.  I mean, how do you debate with someone who calls gun-control advocates “jackals”, and says, “Trump’s policies that are the very definition of objective principles, morals, and values …”?  Where do you even begin?

The name-calling is taking place on both sides, I engage in it myself on a fairly routine basis, but it is detrimental to any meaningful meeting of the minds.  How do you engage in any sort of discourse with people who turn a completely blind eye to the single most important issue of the day:  climate change?  When they applaud Trump’s de-regulation by executive order rather than will of the people or congressional mandate, they are essentially begging to hasten the destruction of life as we know it.  How do you speak to that?

Well, the exercise wasn’t entirely futile, for it got my adrenaline stirring and gave me some food for thought.  How ‘bout I end this with a few cartoons from “the other side” …

rep-toon-1rep-toon-2rep-toon-3rep-toon-4rep-toon-5


I didn’t really find any of them to be that funny, did you?  Thought for the day:  How can we shrink this great divide that is destroying the country?  How can two sets of ideologies that seem so far apart with nothing in common, unite?

United We Stand … Divided We ???

Sean Spicer … remember him?  The first to claim that Trump’s less-than-stellar inauguration had drawn bigger crowds than Obama’s in 2009, he soon tired of being forced to tell so many lies on behalf of Trump that he resigned his position as White House Press Secretary and returned to private life.  So, what’s he doing now, you ask?  Why, he’s Dancing with the Stars, of course!DWTSThat’s right, folks, Sean is going to be paid between $125,000 and $295,000, depending on how long he remains on the show … as compared to the $180,000 per annum he earned as Trump’s mouthpiece.  Now, the show’s host, Tom Bergeron, is not at all pleased with Sean’s gig, and put out the following statement:Bergeron-statementNew York television critic James Poniewozik also sees it as a bad … really bad idea …

“To treat Spicer, and his reason for notoriety, as a harmless joke is to whitewash the harm of what he did, which was to say things so absurdly false that he invited his political side to join him in denying their own eyeballs, to encourage people to believe that facts don’t matter if they hurt your team.”

But Sean sees it differently.  He claims his appearance(s) on DWTS will “bring the country together” …

Sean Spicer Visits "Extra"

“My overall hope is that at the end of this season that Tom looks at this and says, bringing people together of very diverse backgrounds, whether it’s in politics or other areas, and allowing them to show America how we can engage in a really respectful and civil way, is actually a way to help bring the country together as opposed to bring it apart.”

Which brings me to my topic of the day: the divisiveness in this nation.

In any nation at any time, there will be conflicts, issues that divide the pro-business right and the pro-humanitarian left.  It has always been so, and that isn’t going to change, probably ever.  Most often, this is a healthy thing, leads to the best possible solution, a meeting of the minds.  But, today that divisiveness, which I have often enough referred to as ‘the great divide’, is at the highest level since the end of the Civil War in 1865.  Having a highly controversial political figure on an entertainment show is not going to change that.  And make no mistake, Sean Spicer is still lying for Donald Trump, as a senior advisor and spokesman for a pro-Trump super Political Action Committee (PAC) called America First.great-divideToday, there is no middle ground … the right has gone to the extreme right, and the left has moved further left than ever before.  There is no room for moderates, no tolerance for bipartisan lawmaking, and very little civil discourse taking place.  You’re either with us, or you’re ‘agin us’. Social media is a large part of the culprit here … sites like Facebook and Twitter could be venues for respectful, meaningful dialog, searching for answers to better understand ‘the other side’, but instead people have turned these sites into a venue for spewing hate and ugly reactions.

While I fully support the 1st Amendment right to free speech, there are times that unfettered freedom of speech does far more harm than good.  Conservatives and liberals, right and left, will never completely see eye-to-eye, will always be ideologically divided, but the state of affairs we see today cannot endure.

On June 16, 1858, President Abraham Lincoln gave an address after accepting the Illinois Republican Party’s nomination as that state’s US senator.  An excerpt from that speech is apt today …

“A house divided against itself, cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become lawful in all the States, old as well as new — North as well as South.”

The situation was different then, the ideology different, but in some ways not so different after all.  Then, as now, there were some who believed that people with darker skin had less value.  That, certainly, is one of our issues today, but others are more complex.  Today, we fight over whether there is more value in large corporations having nearly-unlimited profit margins, or in protecting our environment and rescuing all life on earth.  Today, we fight over whether it is the role of government to assist those who cannot, whether temporarily or permanently, meet their own financial needs, or whether those people should simply be left to die.

Today, we fight over whether health care is a right for everyone, or a privilege for only the few.  Today, we fight over whether or not every Tom, Dick and Harry should have access to guns that were meant for one purpose only:  to kill.  Today, we fight over whether LGBTQ people are to be afforded the same civil rights as the rest of society, or whether they should be looked down on and treated as ‘sub-human’.  And today, despite the mandate for a separation of church and state in the U.S. Constitution, we fight over whether one specific religion has the right to impose their beliefs, their will, on all in this secular nation.

The above are only a few of the issues dividing this nation, but they are highly-charged, emotional issues, and they are leading us down a path that can only end in disaster.  Shortly after Lincoln’s speech, we ended up in a Civil War.  In that war, there was a line of demarcation – there can be none this time, for on any given street in this country, you will find people on both ends of the spectrum.  In the Civil War, the north wore blue and the south wore grey … in this war, everybody looks essentially the same.  The civil war divided families, brother fought brother.  This ‘war’ has already divided families, destroyed decades-long friendships, and led to bloodshed.

Sadly, the people who we have elected to govern this nation, are only widening the divide.  It is in their power to bring the two sides together, to ‘reach across the aisle’ and set an example for the people of this nation.  It is their responsibility and duty to do just that, but they have chosen to shirk those duties, to help widen the gap, to breed even more hatred and division across the nation.  Unless things at the top change drastically, this is not going to end well, my friends.  Sean Spicer is not an ambassador for good will, but rather is as much a part of the dividing wedge as any.  Watching him tap dance and likely end up on his arse is not the cure for what ails this nation.

I offer no solutions, for if I were that smart, I would be sitting in the Oval Office, or have an office on Capitol Hill.  I only know that we must do something soon, else the United States will be torn asunder, and likely end up in tatters.  All I ask is that you … think about it.