Just Me

Just Me
Look,I'm just sayin'

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Let me explain

 I started writing that book I always talk about. Well, truth is I started a while ago but have begun to write the words down. I found a book writing program on the Internet that is free to use that seems sufficient. This website will publish your book, for a fee of course. They do offer a great range of services depending on how much you wish to invest. I'm hoping to one day have them print a few copies. I would like a hard cover version, I'm thinking six by nine inches. But I have plenty of time to think about all of that. First I had best write the book.
  I began to write whatever came to mind. I know you're supposed to have an outline and be organized. I'm not sure what I'm writing about or where it is I wish to go with this book so an outline is impossible. I keep telling myself , don't constrain your thoughts to an outline. I'm a rebel writer, not a rebel rouser ! It's as good an excuse as any. I do want to write my book, my way. I balk at the thought of an editor. I don't want my thoughts edited by anyone else. In my thinking that would be fine if I intended to market this book, for a profit. That's not the reason I'm writing it though, I'm writing it because I feel a need to do so.
 I haven't gotten far. I did compose an introduction and an explanation. Those two sections have already been written and rewritten numerous times. I'm certain they are not in their finished form yet. I'm wondering just how you decide that. My thinking is that you just have to commit to it and say , that's it. Just hand that paper in like you did when you were in school. It will be up to the reader to grade that work. I'd like to say that it doesn't matter, but it does. I'm not expecting to make any money on the deal but I do want positive reviews. It would be a lie to say I didn't. Vanity rears its' ugly head. I expect that is why companies such as the one I am using are called vanity presses. They will publish anything as long as you are willing to pay. It is for those of us that lack confidence in our literary endeavors. That's the truth of it, but I fool myself by saying I refuse to be judged ! However it comes out in the end, it will be mine exclusive of any editing.
 Like everything else it has to have a form. Is it to be a novel, a mystery or a piece of non-fiction ? Having read what I have written over and over again in the editing process I came to a startling conclusion. What I am writing is an epistle ! I know, an epistle ? Epistles are in the Bible aren't they. Yes, that's true but it isn't the only place you will find them. Just what is an epistle ? It is nothing more than a letter written to someone or an entire group of people. It is didactic in nature. So far what I have written is centering on morality and ethics. I'm just as surprised as anyone. Having discovered that I am now wondering just who I'm writing this letter too. I do like the sound of an epistle better,  sounds scholarly. Epistles are generally used to instruct. Whatever it is that I am composing, letter, epistle or otherwise is offered more as an explanation than instruction. I do believe there is little I could teach anyone. I do try to provide a different point of view on occasion. Yes, I offer an opinion, on everything. I've even got an opinion on opinions.
 Perhaps what I'm writing isn't an epistle after all, just a remembrance. In that case I would just be reminding myself. I've been around for a while now and perhaps a review is in order. I've made my choices along the way. There has been sacrifice, as well as gain. The question to be examined is, were the sacrifices made sufficient ? Well that would depend upon whom the choices benefitted ? Were they for myself, or for others ? The truth is, both ! Just what does the balance sheet look like ? That's the book we have all heard about. It is an account book. I did this on account of that ! An explanation to a life lived.
 In the end I don't believe we get an opportunity, to explain. The facts are written in the account book. We will be judged on the bottom line. We are allowed to make mistakes so long as we amend our choices in the future. The final judgement, the bottom line is a simple one. Either you were a plus or a minus. The goal is to become a plus, that is clear enough. ?  Do we owe others an explanation ?  I believe we do only so as much as we value those people. What I mean by that is, the more you value others, the more the need to explain. Explanations are a sign of caring, excuses are for yourself. Intentions are what we think, actions are what we do. The two don't always align. If your intentions were pure you may offer an explanation, if they were not, you will offer an excuse. Explanations should outweigh excuses. That is the plus you want to achieve.
 Is this an epistle ? Or is what I have written an explanation ? There are some that will see this as an excuse. I have no control over any of that. Yes, the style, the choice of wording can cause emotional responses that may cloud the truth of the statement. They may also cloud a fallacy. In my eyes I am offering an explanation, not an excuse. 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Victimized ?

 How did it come to be that being a victim became an empowerment ? It certainly appears that way to me, why else would so many claim to be a victim ? In my experience people claim that status because it is perceived as an advantage. It was something we learned as children. But Mommy, he was picking on me. Then Mom reprimands the offender and you get rewarded. Yes I'll be a victim in exchange for a reward. I may even gain sympathy and get my self esteem stroked.
 I hear more and more claiming this based on any number of things. I don't need to list them all, you've heard them all as well. There are some making a living being a victim. What infuriates me is when they profit from being a victim of their own making ! Especially so when that is followed by the accusation that I don't understand their plight. I understand that there are consequences for our actions. I also understand that consequences can be positive as well as negative. If you make poor choices that doesn't make you a victim ! What that makes you is ignorant. Failure to learn from your mistakes is ignorance. Well the truth is, we all fall victim to our choices.
The place you were born, your gender, or your social standing in the community doesn't automatically make you a victim ! I sure hear a lot of whining. I don't just mean from the left about the results of the last election, although that is whining taken to monumental proportions. I hear people whining about everything and anything. Then when someone exposes a truth about a tragic event that happened to them, all at once I keep hearing, " me too ! "  I think they have a hashtag for that now, me too. Now I'm not saying those folks are lying just questioning why you would jump on that bandwagon ? Sadly I know the answer to that one. It is because it isn't my fault and I want everyone to know that. I can now broadcast whatever tragic event happened to me, be a victim, and receive support, and in some cases accolades for my bravery ! Give me a break with that.
 Alright tell me how I lack empathy. Tell me I don't understand anything. I'm just a mean old man and what's worse, I'm white. I have been enjoying all that privilege for 64 years now. That's the narrative right ? That may be true, although I certainly don't see it that way, but I was just born this way. It wasn't my choice, I'm a victim too ! I'm a victim of what ? Being born ? Am I victim of culture ? Yes that would be the case wouldn't it ? That is where the issue really lies, in culture. That's why we have left and right. We are taught to choose sides aren't we ? The obvious way to do that is by outward appearances. We divide ourselves by color ,by size, by wealth, by education level and the list goes on. When we attempt to assimilate into a society other than our own we are attacked. We are attacked by the ones we are trying to join and by the ones we are trying to leave ! It is a two way street. It is really quite a simple concept best described by an old idiom, " you can't have your cake and eat it too. "
 Of course a victim is innocent in all of this. That is the precept being utilized here. It isn't my fault and here is why. It is all beyond my control. That is what we are being told. And just who is telling us that ? Think about that. It is the ones that wish to control us, that's who. There is a gain for those folks. Just keep telling everyone how they are being cheated, deprived or somehow being mistreated to create unrest. It is through unrest and chaos that change often arrives. We have become a bit more sophisticated about that. At one time we would just stage a coup or a civil war ! The plan now is a bit more insidious. The plan itself isn't anything new, it has been going on since man first formed a community. Someone wants to be the boss ! What isn't being taught is this, by being a victim you are exposing your weakness. That is what a victim does, expose their weakness, their vulnerability. Then the one that wishes to control can offer solace, feign outrage that such a thing happened and promise to correct it ! Thing is, no one can change the past. And guess what ? Bad things happen to good people.
 I guess it is just a fundamental difference I can only attribute to my age. I was taught to not whine and cry about everything that happens to you that is unfavorable. I was taught you either took action or cowered in the corner. I may have become a victim, but I didn't have to remain one. Best thing to do was learn from that experience. I'm not going to willingly expose my weakness to anyone. I don't want sympathy. I don't want to be viewed in that fashion. Oh, poor Ben. I've made my choices, I've accepted whatever consequences occurred as a result of those choices. Yes, I have been a victim on a few occasions, that's aright. It happens. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

a plan

We are twenty days into October. I went to the candidate meet and greet for our local elections. It was held at the new " Community hall " that the fire department built. A new engine house is to follow in the years to come. It looks like it will be a wonderful complex. By the time enough funding is available and the structure complete it will be time for an upgrade. Isn't that the way it always works ? It is nice to see progress being made though and I support their efforts. There are always growing pains associated with that sort of thing. The fire departments' relationship with the town has improved. Exactly what the issues were in the past I can't say as I am not that involved in local politics. My son is heavily involved in all of that. In fact he was one of the candidates I went to meet and greet ! He is running for town commissioner once again. He has been a member of the council on several occasions. He ran for Mayor during the last cycle and unfortunately lost in his bid. That's alright the Mayors seat will be open again in two years. We'll get'em then.
 The meet and greet went well with each candidate getting three minutes to lay out their platform. Following that there was a question and answer period. Most of the questions involved the usual topics, taxes and the streets. Everyone complains about the taxes and then complain about the streets. The majority of people have no idea just how expensive a proposition it is to pave a street. The cost of the engineering study alone is enough to prohibit even thinking about it. Most don't realize all the studies and hoops you have to jump through with the county, state and even federal authorities. Yup, it's 2017 we can't just throw some tar and chip down and call it a day. The water and sewer bills are always an issue. The town of Greensboro was mandated by the State to build a new waste treatment facility. I don't know how many million dollars that cost. I don't want to know either. We are a farming community and nutrient runoff is a big issue along with the raising of chickens and their waste. I didn't attend but the town just hosted a tour of that new facility. I hear it is quite impressive.
 Greensboro like a great many small towns in America today doesn't have much of a downtown business area anymore. The old Mom and Pop businesses just can't compete. Given the ease with which we move around these days, a six mile drive to the Walmart is nothing at all, it is no wonder. We do have a " convenience " store similar to seven eleven. It's not much and expensive. Well, it's a place to buy beer and cigarettes or get a sub sandwich and fried chicken. It also runs the laundry mat. It is the lack of businesses that causes so much strain on the tax system. The town has to get money from somewhere. The challenge is to attract new businesses. Just how we can do that I don't know. The only business that could survive would be some kind of tourist thing. The question then is why would anyone come to Greensboro ? I'd be the first to tell you it is a wonderful little town to live in. I'd also be the first to tell you there isn't much here as far as entertainment goes. We have a river running through town, The river isn't very deep and the fishing isn't all that either. Lately I do see a lot of folks in kayaks, of course the winter months are upon us and that activity will end soon. Yes the challenge is for Greensboro to identify an attraction and advertise it. You have to market your town these days. It's a strange world we live in. Folks want to live in the country but have all the city stuff readily available as well. The best of two worlds ? Maybe that's the solution. Greensboro just needs a place were people can spend money on food and crafts. They'll come if there is a place to spend money. Maybe an underground mall so you don't spoil the landscape. We could call it the Greensboro underground, give it that " slightly dangerous or illegal " vibe. Sounds like a plan to me.  

Thursday, October 19, 2017

missing out

 I was thinking about some of the things kids miss out on today. You know the things that have fallen out of favor and been replaced by electronics and such. One of those things that came to mind was receiving a card or letter in the mail. I can remember that being somewhat of a big deal when I was young. That letter was addressed to me. Mom or Dad couldn't open it, no one else was allowed to open it, that is the law ! I thought that was pretty cool. It was like getting a secret in the mail. I expect their are a lot of kids today that have never known that thrill. As I thought about that I decided to get some Halloween cards for the grandkids. I was at the store at the time, in fact it was the display of cards that prompted that line of thinking. I guess there is something to that displaying products stuff. Anyway, even though the kids are all teenagers I thought I would mail them all a card. Yes, I bought ones designed for small children really, that's part of the fun. So, I got the cards and came home to address them. As I picked up my pen to write on the envelope I took pause. Do you remember when you were young and got a letter ? How was it addressed ? If you were a young lady it would be Miss. Nothing wrong with that, but do you remember if it were a boy ? In that case it may have been addressed " Master. " That is why I paused, it must be political correctness that is rubbing off. Have I become " socially aware, sensitive to the feelings and perceptions of others ? I thought, how would that salutation be interpreted today ?  If someone were to read that on the envelope just what reaction could result ? I left it off.
 I haven't used that salutation in many years. I wonder if they still teach that at all. It was old fashioned when I learned it, so I guess by now it is an ancient thing. I was taught the different forms for writing correspondence. It was just a cursory overview in English class. You remember, where to put what on the paper ? They call it formatting these days. You can do that with a click of your mouse if you are old school. What, you don't have a touch screen computer ? After deciding to not include Master in the address line I wondered about using Dear. Is that acceptable today ?  Dear could be seen as a term of endearment and inappropriate in certain situations. OMG, it could be a trigger and be construed as an assault ! Better not use that either. Well, I'm not going to worry about all of that any further. I'll just move along. By the way, the salutation Master had nothing to do with slavery, or being a slave holder, and was not reserved for use with white folks. All male children of any race or ethnicity were addressed as Master in a formal setting.
 I never had a pen pal. I would write an occasional letter to some friends I knew that stayed in my hometown over the summer months. After labor day when they went back to their homes I wouldn't see them again until Memorial day weekend. I would send a note or a card filling them in on things. We didn't call each other. I guess that was because, generally speaking, using the telephone was an adult thing. If it were real important, or an emergency,  you could pick it up. It was not to be used for idle conversation. You did feel just a little bit important or grown up when you got to use the phone. That did change a bit when we switched to push button phones, then we would " play a tune " on that keypad when Mom wasn't listening. My sister wanted a " princess " phone but Dad said, no way. One phone hanging on the kitchen wall was plenty. You did have to earn the privilege of using that phone. It wasn't " unlimited " calling that much was sure. I remember calling collect and Dad refusing the charges ! It was a secret signal though. I called long distance and Dad would refuse the charges. It told him I was fine and had arrived at my destination. Pretty slick trick, Ma Bell couldn't fool us. Yes, it was an act of collusion ! These kids today will never know that feeling. Funny how that feeling is really one of having gotten over on the man. What a bunch of rebels we were. It's alright though we went to church on Sunday.
 Well I gotta go and mail these cards. It cost 49cents each. I remember when you bought an air mail stamp for thirteen cents. Yes, air mail was separate and you had to write that on the outside of the envelope. Regular mail was 8 cents. Hey, it ain't cheap it you want it to go air mail ! I bought envelopes that had those red stripes around the borders. Do kids today known what it means if the stamp is upside down ? What about if it says SWAK across the back. And I'm betting it is awful hard to scent an e-mail ! Kids today just don't know.
   

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

making a choice

 I saw in the news where California now allows you to not choose a sex on your drivers license. That's correct, you don't have to choose between male or female. You can now say you are non-binary ! That means you must be at least a third choice, maybe more. When the officer calls into the station when making that traffic stop the description may be, I have a six foot, non-binary person of color of undetermined ethnicity. If that is what is on the license isn't that what he or she would have to report ? Well, I realize that nowadays you get to choose, but even then, there are only two sexes. With the addition of this non-binary designation wouldn't that add a third ? I know that there is a mental illness called multiple personality disorder,  wouldn't this be multiple sex disorder ? It sure sounds like a mental disorder to me. If you can't or refuse to pick a sex what else could it be ? If a non-binary person gets arrested what jail do you look them up in ? If you put a non-binary person in the male or female prison couldn't they then sue ? You are not recognizing a legal right to be a , whatever you think you are or aren't.
 I also saw an article saying how opioid deaths have dropped in Colorado since pot was legalized.  Yes, it has proven to be a alternative to opioid use. Well, even though I oppose the recreational use of pot I can see where you would choose to use pot instead of an illegal opioid. Just good common sense. I can buy the pot legally and it won't kill me. I would also expect it is a less expensive product. Sounds like a winning combination. What that article failed to mention was that deaths from traffic accidents have increased by 66%. Fewer people are overdosing, which generally kills just the one person, but traffic fatalities are up ! Traffic accidents normally involve more than one vehicle although I admit that isn't always the case. Makes for an interesting decision though. Is it good that fewer people are overdosing on illegal drugs but are now killing, or at least involving non-participants in their legal drug use ? I hear the argument, it's no worse than drinking alcohol. That is nothing more than a moral equivalency. It is employed by those doing something morally wrong as a means to justify their behavior. Both behaviors are equally as bad ! That is exactly why it is expressed as " no worse than . " A moral equivalency. The argument doesn't hold water at all. Does it make a difference if you overdose or crash your car in a fatal accident ? You are just as dead. In the later case you might kill one or more that aren't even involved.
 Almost every day I read or see in the news things that just boggle the mind. The Boy scouts are allowing girls to join. As far as I know you can still use whatever bathroom you want to identify with. The same applies to the locker rooms at fitness clubs. Statues are offending people. We have Nazis, communists and  all manner of evil folks staging parades and protests in equal numbers. The non-violent groups inciting violence and claiming to be victims. Guns have become violent, somehow magically animated themselves, taking over a person and committing mass shootings ! It's the guns, not the people. Executing a convicted criminal that perpetrated heinous and violent crimes is not morally acceptable but killing an unborn child is a choice ! Makes me shake my head trying to make sense of any of this claptrap I hear from the left. Well, there will come a breaking point, there always is, and I hope I live to see it. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Dried Ink

 I started writing some of my blogs in cursive in a notebook. My thinking is that action will add value. I have always found hand written items to be far more personal. I do think it is something falling by the wayside with the rush of technology. When was the last time you sat and wrote a letter ? I have written little more than a note in years. Sentiments expressed inside a Hallmark card do not carry the same weight as ones scribbled by a child. I'd say that was true of adults as well. I do try to include more than a signature when sending greeting cards. It is that expenditure of time that I am trying to convey. To let the recipient know that I spent more time than just signing my name on the bottom and sealing the envelope shut. That is the time I spent thinking about you.
 The issue I face is my penmanship is atrocious. I remember being graded on that in elementary school. I do believe that ended somewhere around the fourth or fifth grade. All that was well over fifty years ago and so my memory is a bit faint. I do recall learning to write in cursive and it was a big deal. I also remember when it didn't count anymore and that was just fine. Later on we were required to submit our essays and term papers typed and double spaced for the ease of the teacher. I can understand the necessity of that from their standpoint. I wonder though if we shouldn't have been made to submit those papers in cursive, legible and double spaced.
 Some time back I thought to take up calligraphy. That lasted about a week or so. It is far more tedious than I thought. I'm always in too much of a hurry to put my thoughts down. I'm thinking that is why that writing was developed by monks. It does take the patience of a saint ! Really though I've known a few people that were quite skilled at that. I noticed that these people were also artistically inclined. So that explains that, I have no artistic ability whatsoever. Now I'm thinking I will just keep writing in cursive and try to develop it to a point of legibility. I have notebooks full of thoughts and scribbles around my house. Finding examples of my handwriting wouldn't be a difficult thing. Handwritten notes, letters or cards from other members of my family are quite a rare thing. I have a postcard written by my Grandmother that is a true treasure. Written to her father when she was about ten. With that dried ink on an old postcard she has connected with me. She passed long before my birth. There are examples of Great Grandmothers writing on the back of old photographs.
 Those things did bring an awareness to me. A friend published a book using letters that she found in her attic. All written by hand and written to loved ones. Obviously cherished they became a gift. Maybe that is why I feel a desire to hand write some of my blogs and poetry. If they are handwritten perhaps they are more likely to be saved, Typed and printed documents do seem more expendable for some reason. I think that is what bothers me, that expendability. Ashes to ashes and dust to dust the Bible tells us and you can't refute the validity of that statement. There is a permanence to dried ink. Doesn't make any difference if it is on parchment or a postcard the words written there take on a deeper meaning. Ink has the ability to capture emotion in a way we can't understand. Is it time that is captured ? That period of time, when the words were written, is time shared with whoever reads it. You know it rates the title of manuscript only when it is handwritten. Manuscripts just sound so formal, impressive wouldn't you say ? I will leave a manuscript for future generations. Hope they can decipher it. Well by then they will have a computer program to do that. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

The popular principle ?

 Not much changes in the world as far as human emotions go. Emotions all too often form our character as well. The ancient Greek philosophers and others formed schools and wrote extensively about such things. Personally I have only read snippets of that from time to time. Being raised in New England the prevalent philosophy there was of a stoic nature. I think that is no longer the case but I'll leave that study to the sociologists. I read an interesting quote the other day by a fella named Grantland Rice, " A wise man makes his own decisions, an ignorant man follows public opinion. " I looked him up and he was a sportswriter.  He wrote a lot of life quotes based on golf. Philosopher and sports writer, a good combination.
 That quote struck me as being especially relevant in todays world. I see many following public opinion. How quickly they adopt whatever the current agenda and popular opinion is. It's nothing new. Socrates wrote about that very thing. Many others have done so also. It is the Principles before Popularity argument. When we were in school we didn't have " schools of philosophy " we had cliques. Same thing though, it concerned principles and popularity. With what group did you identify ? Was it the group you really felt comfortable with, or did you seek to be in  the " popular " group ? Depended upon how much you were willing to sacrifice your principles really. If you weren't privileged enough to be in that " popular " group by virtue of your families wealth or social standing in the community, you could become the token. All the really popular groups keep a few tokens around to show their superior moral virtues, a sort of smoke screen. Sadly, there are always those that will gladly accept the role. That did require a certain acquiescence on their part, a surrendering of principle.
 Yes in school as children those choices may be nothing more than a fashion choice or style of music, nothing of any real importance or significance. The problem being that is where habits are formed. It becomes a habit to just go with the crowd. Feeding off of popularity and the popular opinion can starve the mind however. That is because you become dependent, incapable of independent thought. Many begin to believe that whatever the crowd is saying must be truth.      
 What makes a person popular ? Well, in general it is because they have something to give us. It is that simple. Whether it is money, social status, entertainment, wisdom, or something else it is to our advantage to be " friends " with them. There are times when we will sacrifice our principles to gain that " friendship. " It is usually for monetary gain or just to be associated with that person or group. Most recently think Harvey Weinstein. A whole lot of his " friends " knew about his behavior. They were willing to sacrifice their principles to remain friends with him until it was exposed ! When there was no longer any advantage to being his " friend " in fact, it had become a liability, they couldn't distance themselves from him fast enough. Did these folks just gain " principles ? "
 Then there are those that share our principles. It is a connection on a different level. Those are the friends that remain with us for life. We all have one or two of those friends. That isn't to say our principles are good or bad, but merely the birds of a feather flock together analogy. It is my observation that the popular ones rarely stick to their principles. That is the nature of popularity, an ever changing landscape of feelings and emotions. What pleases the crowd at this moment. In order to retain popularity, which many translate as relevance, they choose popular opinion over principle. That is true even when the " principle " was popular and relevant just a short time ago. Think America following the attack of 9/11. Following that it was popular to be a Patriot, to fly the Flag proudly and pledge to defend her. Not so popular an opinion now is it ? Why ? A change in principle ? It is my fervent prayer that isn't the case and this too is just a passing fad, a popularity.
 All I can say is I will never sacrifice my principles in that regard. No matter how many names I get labeled, how unpopular an opinion it may become, I will not relent. Principle before popularity is what I was taught as a child. I will stand firm. I've never been the " popular " guy, the life of the party or any of that. The reason is a simple one, I refuse to sacrifice my core principles or beliefs to satisfy anyone or any group. Many are complaining right now proclaiming Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. And my response is; thank God and the founding Fathers that they knew better than that. That is exactly why they formed a Republic, a government based on law, not popularity. A  democracy is too fickle a mistress to govern a nation. Just because it is popular, doesn't' make it correct.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

legislating heroes

The Governor of Maryland is proposing tax breaks for heroes. Yes, that what he is calling that proposed bit of legislation. The hometown heroes tax relief package would remove the requirement for certain groups to pay taxes on their retirement income. The heroes ? First responders, corrections officers and law enforcement officers. Last month he did mention military retirees as well. A fine and noble sentiment, one politically expedient as the number of Democrats lining up to oppose him in the upcoming election keeps growing. Now, I'm not saying this is the reason he is proposing this right now. I do recall his predecessor, Bob Ehrlich promising military retirees he would abolish our requirement to pay taxes on our retired pay. Yeah, that didn't happen. Sounded pretty good at the time though.
 My issue with all of this is how to define who is and isn't a " hometown hero. " The way I hear it everyone is a hero these days. Joined the National Guard and went to two weeks of training ? You're a hero. Rescued a cat from a tree, you're a hero. If you performed any act of kindness or compassion toward your fellow man, you're a hero ! See the problem there ? Aren't our school teachers heroes ? What about the coaches, counselors or clergy ? Heroes one and all ! Just how do you define a hero ? To me this form of legislation borders on pandering. Hey Governor, want votes much ? Let's target those core groups, you know, the old people that have fixed incomes. We will tell them all they are heroes and reduce their taxes. That'll get them out to vote for you for sure. That's the way it sounds to me but I'm often accused of being jaded. Maybe so, but Ehrlich promised the military tax break five or six years ago and they are still talking about that. I'm glad those " hero " first responders don't take that long to respond. But then I'm just a disgruntled old man.
 The fact of the matter is I get annoyed with all this talk of heroes. Not everyone is a hero ! In my way of thinking that is just adding to the problem. If everyone is a hero just who are we supposed to look up to ? Who are our role models, our inspiration, the people we wish to emulate ? If everyone is a hero, there are no heroes !!! When I was young we had heroes. We had sports heroes, musical heroes and then we had real heroes. Those real heroes never admitted to being a hero, they were the modest ones that always responded in the same fashion. They didn't seek accolades, medals or public recognition. Heroes are born and live in a moment. That's the reality of it. Have we, as a society, become so dependent upon recognition that we can't act without receiving that ? Is it the quest for a sticker, a ribbon or a trophy that important ? We are all heroes ?
 Well, I'm just an old guy. I've met a few heroes in my lifetime. They didn't tell me they were, they didn't advertise. I doubt they ever knew I thought they were heroes. In my day, you just didn't go throwing the hero badge around. That was reserved for the special ones, I don't know, I just find the whole thing a bit pathetic. So now we will legislate who is and isn't a " hometown hero. " Should be some interesting debate on the senate floor about that. 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

in principle

 Once again I find myself knocked off center. I'm struggling to regain balance. I realize that there are times when these writings of mine are rather cryptic and it is by design. Blog postings are very public things and certain things shouldn't be discussed in public. You could say I'm trying to protect the innocent.  I have no right to expose what other people may or may not be going through, even when those things effect me deeply. I'm not talking about dirty laundry here, but a persons' right to a degree of privacy. Sometimes these cryptic postings cause others to become concerned for my well being. I am humbled when that happens. The sincerest form of flattery one can display is a sense of caring.
 I try to discuss and share the underlining emotions these events cause in myself. I have a need to explain. Some people like to write stories, poetry, or whatever as a form of entertainment. I've been known to do that as well, but primarily I would say I'm interested in explaining things. These explanations are more for myself than the reader ! The written word somehow seems more relevant, certainly more permanent. It isn't always correct and I'm aware of that as well. For that reason I do not publish everything I write. I want to be certain that is what I want to say. It's like checking your papers before handing in an assignment.
 I've been publishing these things for about seven years now. I don't remember everything I've ever put to paper and my hope is there aren't too many inconsistencies. Conversely I hope there are some because that is a sign of growth. Growth isn't accomplished by a conscious effort but develops over time. It should be a natural process, not forced. What I'm saying is you cannot "learn" or to be  "taught " to grow. Growth has to be a personal experience to be effective. Growing pains ! Those pains are mental, as well as physical. If the mental pains ever cease completely, you have a serious problem. As long as you can feel them, you are alive.
 Metaphorically speaking there are many that become brain dead, intoxicated by their own feelings of self importance, convinced of their superior intellects. Those folks would be well advised to act upon  principles instead of their emotions. Emotions can be a destructive force in our lives just as readily as providing pleasure. When we respond to issues or situations with the intent to make ourselves feel good to the exclusion of all others, emotions can become destructive. When making those choices be careful to not undermine your principles, for they are the foundation. Responding to problems with emotions will never solve the problem. Stay calm and think. I'm trying to take my own advice.
 When there is no solution to the problem one is left with nothing but emotion. The problem becomes how to channel emotion in a productive fashion. It may or may not be pleasing to you. Do I do what I need for myself or for others ? What is the underlining principle here ? Self preservation or sacrifice ? Act upon principle, not emotion is the answer. Easier said, or in this case written, than done. 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Memories discarded

  As anyone that reads these postings knows, I love my old pictures and " artifacts. " The dictionary describes an artifact as an object made by a human being, typically an item of cultural or historical interest. I have a bunch of artifacts around the house. They are of historical interest to me anyway. I believe we all have those things, must of us call it stuff. It was this stuff I am thinking about this morning. I have had to say " see you later " to a few friends lately. By that I mean they have passed on, I don't say goodbye because I do believe I will see them again. Following their passing their stuff will have to be sorted through. I can't imagine what that must be like. I'm thinking I would be one of those folks that would have to leave things as they were. Either that or I would have to hire someone else to do it when I was out of sight, preferably in another state somewhere.
 Occasionally I like to shop the junk shops. I can't afford to shop the antiques stores, antiques are memories with a monetary value. So I shop the junk stores. Junk stores are where a great deal of stuff winds up. The reality is they are discarded memories. The junk shops fascinate me for that very reason. You just never know what you may find there. As I say, I wouldn't say I am a big shopper or collector. It is just an occasional thought, a pastime usually inspired by wanting a specific item. I think the last time I went in search of an old fashioned juicer. You know, the glass kind that you just jam the orange over the center cone and begin to twist. I found one, for a dollar or two. An artifact undoubtedly from someone's home. It sits on top of my cabinet in the kitchen, a curiosity. It may have been precious to someone else, I can't know that but I like to think it was.
 In my cabinet I have a small collection of coffee cups. They say, Grandpa, best Dad and the like on them. Some have never been used. It is those type of things that wind up in the junk shops. Artifacts or just stuff ? Memories to me, even when I don't remember exactly when I got them. Isn't that strange ? It is the same thing as when your Mom saved all your school stuff.  I still have things from when my kids were in elementary school and they are forty two now. It is still just stuff to them. After I'm gone will they become artifacts ? That designation will be left up to them. Yes others get to choose whether your memories are saved or just discarded. It is in that I pause to contemplate my mortality. Who will preserve my memories ? Which ones will be discarded as junk ? It's a depressing thought isn't it ?
 I have quite the collection of family photographs on the wall. I keep adding to it as the years go on. They are all related to me in some fashion. Yes there are a number of them that passed long before my time. There are some that have never set foot in America at any time. Some I have known and others I just heard the stories. All of that makes little difference to me. I just enjoy the " ambiance " it creates in my mind as I enter their world. I hope others find it inviting as well. I do like to sit, surrounded by these faces and recall the past. There is mystery there as well. I feel a sense of familiarity which each of these photographs, if not with the individual. It really is an ethereal thing, easily shattered by reality. There are times when I grow concerned for these artifacts and memories. I realize I won't always be here to care for them.
 I don't expect someone to save everything I owned. I do have a lot of stuff, junk really just lying around. I hesitate to throw it away or dispose of in some fashion and I can't really say why. The go to excuse is, I might need that some day. Just why I might need a uniform item from twenty five years ago I can't imagine, but I might. I think if these items had monetary value and my heirs or descendants were to sell them after I'm gone that would be alright. That is simply because if someone is buying, that means they are keeping. No one buys stuff to throw away. It is in that I worry. My pictures and other artifacts that I value so highly have little to no monetary value. So, just who would keep them ? Why should they keep them is the real question ?
 The truth is the stuff others feel an attachment to, will be saved. Oh, a lot will be saved early on when your memory is fresh. As the years pass and your memory fades, so too those attachments grow weaker. We are remembered as a singularity, but our memories are many. For that reason we can not expect others to remember everything. They have plenty of memories of their own.
 How quickly and how strongly those attachments form is strictly an individual thing. That's the problem though. The way I feel about certain things is not going to be the same as the way you feel. No matter how much I try to impart those memories in your consciousness, they won't always stick. Memories get discarded. It's kinda depressing when you think about it. It is only depressing to ourselves though. Those still here will cherish whatever objects and memories are important to them and that is what matters most. 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

clarity and the news

 I have regained my breath from yesterdays news and am still processing that. I have found the best way for me to do that is to let it " simmer " for a while. I do need to get it down to its' essence. Once I have accomplished that much I will decide upon a course of action. Even when we throw our hands in the air in desperation, there is something we can do. We just need time to see what that action may be. Clarity will come in time. Often we need to look at the horizon to see what is in front of us.
 I turned on the news to hear, the boy scouts are now going to admit girls. My initial reaction was, that's just stupid. Well, I've been thinking about that and guess what, it's stupid. I hear the girl scouts aren't very happy about it either. This centers around obtaining the Eagle scout badge. The girl scouts highest award is the Gold Award. The thinking is the Eagle scout award is better than the Gold Award. I wonder why that would be ? I was never a boy scout. As far as I know it is just a club, like all others. I question the relevance of that club in society today. And just why would the girl scouts of America think less of their top award ? Just what are they teaching those young ladies anyway ? Could it be that they are teaching them that no matter what award and accolades they receive they will never be a man ! Well that's controversial now isn't it. It certainly is, we should be teaching you get to decide what you want to be, biology be damned. You can get any award you want. We are striving for a gender neutral world.
 Oh I know it is all about this being a mans' world. A white mans' world. That's because every white guy in America has more privilege than anyone else. We got that by subjugating everyone else. Yup, that's what we did alright. I was born a white male and that gives me the edge. Well at least it always has. We need to change all of that. The fastest way to do that is just let people decide for themselves what they want to be. Hey, worked for Elizabeth Warren didn't it ? Rachel Dolezal changed her race as well. Then there is Bruce Jenner, another fine example of what is possible. Too bad he is so old, maybe he could win the women's championship in track and field. Of course I guess it is the men's awards that really count.
 There lies the problem for me. If you are saying the girls can do anything the same as the boys, and I agree that you can, why do you want the mans' award ? Shouldn't the objective be to have the ladies awards obtain equal status ? By insisting on getting the men's' award you are validating the idea that those awards are the superior award. Guess it is just me, but looks like a defeatist attitude to me. I can't beat the men, I'll join them. Girls in the boys scout ? Excuse me but if you allow girls to join the boy scouts it isn't the boy scouts anymore. Now it is the GNS of America. Gender Neutral Scots of America. Maybe it should be GYN of America. Gender Youth Neutral of America. LOL, You thought I was going to say something else. I'll be accused of that anyway, never mind actual facts. That isn't how the world works anymore. Now it is all about " identifying "and getting what you want. Bottom line in all of this seems to be, " your award isn't any better than my award, but I want your award."     

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Breathless

 There are times when your breath is taken away. For me, this is one of those times. I received some terrible news of a personal nature. This news is a finality, there is no changing this news. Time will move forward to the inevitable conclusion. This blog, this rambling and writing that I have formed a habit of posting every morning is no forum for this type of thing. I understand for others it can be a form of therapy but not for me. This is an internal struggle. I must come to grips with this reality and deal with it as best I can.
 For that reason this is all I can write this morning. My mind is far too preoccupied to expound on the mysteries of the universe or any political agendas. I am breathless.   

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

what I think

As I write these blogs I see a theme developing. What I am writing about most of the time are fundamental changes. It is in those changes that I become uneasy or confused. I'm guessing that is what happens to most of us. It's not a bad thing, just an awareness. Is it conviction or stubbornness ? Is it moral fortitude ? What is it about these changes that are so unsettling ? The answer is obvious, a change in the fundamentals , changes the whole game. When the rules change, so too, the game. I have seen a lot of rule changes thus far. It make me wonder just where I am in the game. The biggest question is whether I'm winning or losing ? That is what we all want to know. No one wants to be a loser !
 How do we define winning and losing ? It is by the achievement of a goal. When it comes to life, what is the goal ? Personal happiness would have to be that goal. The rules are what restrict our movements aren't they ? Yes, they are. Whether those roles stem from your personal morality or you are merely compliant with the rules of man, they do restrict. The society in which we live also imposes rules. Over time the rules change and that is what I notice. I'm not the first. Many people far more learned than myself have written treatises on this very subject. I'm just a simple man with simple ideas. That last is not intended as a self serving statement, rather as an explanation. You see, I haven't read a great deal about all this stuff I write about. I just figure you all could read that stuff for yourself if you were interested. For that reason I just write what I think. I really don't seek or require validation from others regarding my thoughts. I do enjoy it when I find a quote from someone especially learned or famous that agrees with me. But I'm not kidding myself, you can find such quotes and validation for just about every view one chooses to take. These views come and go in favor. Fundamental changes in philosophy and actions.
 I do believe it is the expectations of society that drive us forward more than any other thing. That is why we make excuses for not complying with society's rules. It is an attempt to change those rules. The rules are restrictive. Yes, the majority of us will cheat given the opportunity. We want to win ! Winners get to change the rules. There is more than one way to skin a cat. What a strange idiom that is. Are all the ways correct ?
 What is it that you want ? Do you want to fulfill the expectations of society or find happiness ? Do we have to choose between the two ? As with most everything it is a compromise. Our personal happiness, we are taught, is not as important as satisfying the expectations of others. That is true because if we seek personal happiness without having first fulfilled those expectations, society will judge us. In short, we will have broken the rules. The only time that doesn't apply is if we become very wealthy or famous. Those two grant you immediate success in the eyes of the society. I have noticed over the years it doesn't seem to grant personal happiness quite as quickly. The enigma for me in that situation is, if they are doing what they love and are very successful at it, why aren't they happy ? Is it because they feel they haven't followed all the rules ?
 I doubt that, rarely do we feel guilt for what we get away with. That only happens when we become conscious of our conscience. The fundamental shift I am watching right now is the dismissal of the rules altogether. Everything must change ! We call that " progress. " Progress by definition is just moving forward toward a goal or destination. Progress implies something better. That isn't always the truth. What is the goal or destination ? The answer is different for everyone. No, that's not right. We all want to be happy is the correct response. It is only in the manner we achieve that happiness that separates us. Really not much changes under the sun , to coin an old idiom. It is only when you live long enough to notice the changes that they begin to bother you.
 What does all this rambling on have to do with anything ? In the big picture , very little. For me, in my little world it is just a diversion. I feel the need to explain. Does that need stem from guilt ? Could be. All the big physiatrists have offered their thoughts on this. I honestly don't think they have any more insight to what people are thinking than I do. In my opinion a good bartender is equal to a good therapist. Both issue advice, opinions and mind altering substances. One has read and studied a whole bunch of what other people thought and wrote. The bartender usually just listens. Can't see much difference other than cost. Well that's what I think. 

Monday, October 9, 2017

spilled milk

 One of the things I heard often growing up was, no need in crying over spilled milk. It was a simple lesson. I admit it took a while to grasp the meaning of it, and I still occasionally cry when that milk get spilled, but it was sound advice. I have learned to accept the consequences of an action and move on from it. That was the central lesson there. You can't change the past, only learn from it. It seems to me we spend a great deal of time and energy these days trying to rewrite the past. The same things  happen, we just find someone different to blame for them. For some folks this seems to make it better. Personally I don't understand that at all. I mentioned it yesterday, the whole Columbus deal. Now we are all offended by his actions and claim the day as indigenous peoples day. Funny part about that is Columbus never interacted with any Native American tribes in North America. Minnesota is one state that has changed the day. Columbus was never in Minnesota. But whatever, Now Mexico and Central America they have a legit beef with the guy. I don't think they ever named a holiday after him though. America did because it was politically expedient to do so. Now the politics have changed, so. Well that's how that works anyway.
 The saying " don't cry over spilled milk " was not intended to trivialize anything. It simply means you can't change the past. Oh, there are plenty of folks that will say I lack empathy, I should hold a memorial for that spilled milk. The milk was lost and never got to fulfill its mission, to nourish and sustain life. Why that is the very reason God created milk ! Maybe I should wear a ribbon. Ever drop of milk matters. Silly isn't it ? And that is the way I feel about a lot of the stuff going on today. We shouldn't be holding vigils, ceremonies and marches over every thing that happens. We need to move on. But now we have to make a big show of it all or we don't care. While we tear down statues we are building memorials. How long will it take before those memorials become offensive ? Let a certain group of people get political influence in this country and it'll happen a lot sooner than you think. Just what are we memorializing ? The sentiments of today will certainly change over time. The pendulum swings both ways.
 There was a time in America when we erected statues to serve as inspiration. Results were celebrated. Those guys were heroes ! Now we examine their past and vilify them, tear down those statues, and teach our children how bad those people were. We are even holding protests over folks that died 150 years ago and more ! Crying over spilled milk ! Yes, but we are telling the truth of it all aren't we ? That's the present story anyway. Stories change over time as well, just ask your brother or sister about stuff from your childhood, you'll see. So now we erect memorials. What do these memorials celebrate ? Mostly lives lost. We are remembering the sacrifices of those that lost their lives. A noble sentiment but not very inspiring. The reality is it is just sad. A monument to spilled milk.
 I'm not saying we shouldn't erect memorials. Man has always erected memorials to those that we loved and admired. What I am saying is we shouldn't erect memorials to grief. Our memorials in the past celebrated the lives of those folks, not the fact they were killed or died. Those memorials served as inspiration. Just what are we trying to inspire today ? It's just that I was taught, clean up the mess, don't do that again, and move on. I just wonder where inspiration for our children is supposed to come from ? Football players ? Social injustice warriors ? Just seems to me it is nothing more than a whole lot of crying over spilled milk. 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

appeasement ?

 I keep hearing about how terrible Columbus was. The city of Baltimore is home to the oldest statue of Columbus in America. The base of that statue was recently vandalized, well it is offensive you know. I'm not certain who vandalized it, or who was offended. From what I have been reading it should be an indigenous person. The narrative is that would be a native American person. But wait a minute here, those native American people arrived here via a land bridge from Alaska. How can they be indigenous ?  Indigenous means " naturally occurring or native. "  That must be the confusion. Those folks have been called natives for so long we all became confused. So, if we are going to talk about history, stick strictly to the facts as it were, they are not indigenous to America !
 I agree that Columbus is no role model for anyone to emulate but he did arrive in the Americas. Isn't that why they are called the Americas ? The navigator Amerigo Vespucci is credited with that. That he brutalized the peoples that were inhabiting this land is beyond question. Of course if we study history, all history, we can find many examples of peoples that did similar. I can't say whether any of those folks have holidays named after them, but that isn't the point here. Well, okay I guess that is the point, but I am left questioning.
 I was taught in 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue. That's a historical fact, he did that. Was he the first to " discover " the Americas ? The historians all say no. Okay, I agree with that. So just who was the first ? Well it had to be those folks that walked across the land bridge from where ? Oh, the European continent ! So, the native people were Europeans ? No, that can't be right. I have read that everyone, all people came up out of Africa. Are we all Africans ? Science certainly says we are. History can be inconvenient at times. That's why people have always had selective history. We tend to remember what we want to and gloss over what we don't. That is until the story changes and we wish to recall other " facts " that further the current agenda. Did you know Columbus Day was really started as a sort anti-discrimination thing ? Yup, the Italians coming to America were being discriminated against big time. In fact, nine Italians were hung in New Orleans when they were acquitted of a crime. What's worse, two of those nine were just in the jail and not even accused in that crime. No matter the were hung anyway. The thinking became if we make a holiday to honor this Italian guy that " discovered " America maybe the other folks will leave them alone. You know what ? It worked. Now being of Italian ancestry was celebrated. Amazing isn't it ?
 What is the present agenda ? Why is Columbus so offensive today ? The story is because of all the atrocities he committed against the Native Americans. That is just the cover however. The agenda is, all white Europeans should be held accountable for anything that has happened on the north American continent. It is the white folks, mostly from Europe that screwed everything up. It started with that Italian fella Columbus and just got worse from there. If you are white and of European descent you should feel a sense of responsibility. In fact, you should pay reparations !
 Okay, if it makes you feel better take down the statue. Those statues , of almost every kind, have become offensive. They are nothing more than reminders of history. We know history, we don't need to be reminded of it. Should we celebrate Columbus day ? I really don't care one way or the other. The question is, why do we celebrate Columbus day ? Is it really about good old Chris ? The historically correct answer is, No. It wasn't about him, it was about discrimination. It was about throwing a bone to an ethnic group that was being unfairly targeted. Read up on it sometime. It is quite interesting. Not much changes in the world. Now it's time for the white guys to pay the piper. What we need to ask ourselves is, who are we trying to appease ? 

Saturday, October 7, 2017

situational morality

 Well Trump has signed legislation giving an employer a choice. They can exercise their religious and moral beliefs or not. Amazing what an uproar that has caused. Imagine you can't demand you be given something just because you want it. Oh, I know, it is a medical necessity. I did a little reading on just what those medical conditions may be. Acne is one. Migraine headaches is another. Regulating your menstrual cycle to reduce the pain of cramps is another. So what I found is all of those things are controlled by a mixture of hormones. Birth control pills are designed to interrupt those hormones and cycles thus preventing pregnancy. So yes, there are situations were taking these pills could be a medical necessity.
 The solution ? I suspect the drug manufacturers will develop pills for those very same symptoms/problems and just list infertility as a side effect. If it is not used primarily for birth control it will be covered as a medical condition. Just wanting to have unprotected sex and not bear the responsibility when you conceive is not a medical condition. It is that some take moral and religious objection too. I'm not an employer and so can't say what I might do. I'm expecting for most employers it will come down to cost. Even the most moral among us want to have a good bottom line. If I'm the drug manufacturer I see this as an opportunity. I can develop " new " medications. Shouldn't be a problem. In New York state it is a hero sandwich, in New Orleans it's a grinder. They do the same thing, just a different name.
 The whole issue boils down to one thing. Your choice to have sex or not. If you do not engage in sexual activity you will not get pregnant. That is a medical fact, undisputable, unless of course you are artificially inseminated. Should I have to pay for you to engage in an activity I find morally wrong ? If I have to pay for your birth control that is exactly what I am being forced to do. That is the truth if you are saying I need these pills to have sex ! You are forcing me to become an enabler, a person or thing that makes something possible.
 I'm not talking about a medical condition here, only about birth control. Yes, abstinence works ! I know, I know, you just can't control yourself. That is a mental condition, not a medical condition. I'm not saying it is abnormal, just that it is a choice dictated by your moral sensibilities. There are many that practice " situational " morality. That occurs when we modify our morals to fit the current situation. Are those that refuse to modify their moral character to accommodate others wrong ? I don't believe you can justify that one. I think you have to agree that everyone has the right to choose for themselves. I think you also would have to agree that everyone should pay for their own choices as well.
 Amazing isn't it ? We are having a big discussion about an issue that was settled on December the fifteenth 1791. That is when the bill of rights were ratified. The first amendment expressly states I can freely practice my religion. It doesn't say I have to pay for your practices ! Should I wish to include " extras " I am free to do that.  
" As of January 1, 2015, employers with 50 or more full time equivalent (FTE) employees are required to provide health coverage to full-time employees or else pay a tax penalty. This is commonly referred to as the employer mandate. "
So you see with less than fifty employees a employer is not required to offer you a thing. It is your choice to work for that employer or not. If there are more than fifty employees health coverage is mandated by law. In my view a moral decision on the part of the employer now being legislated. I don't believe the government has any business legislating my morality. Morals should not be situational ! 

Friday, October 6, 2017

media facts

 I posed the question to Facebook a few days ago. Just when did Modern American history begin ? I did a google search and found very little about that. I only began hearing this term after the Las Vegas shooting. All at once the narrative became , this is the worst mass shooting in modern American history ? So, I began to think about that. This was perpetrated by one man, that's what the FBI says. He had semi-automatic rifles equipped with " bump stocks " to effectively make them fully automatic.  He was shooting from a distance of 400 yards from 32 stories up. A story is generally considered to be ten feet so say he was 320  high. That's quite a tree stand ! Somehow he managed to kill 59 and wound hundreds. The worst in modern American history.
 Okay the facts are the facts and that is what we are being told. Just when was " Old " American history ? If it isn't modern it has to be old, right ? Just when was there a worse mass shooting in old American  history ? The real question in that scenario is who did it ? In order to be an equal comparison it would have to be one shooter. What gun did he use ? It is was old it must be a single shot, like a musket or something. Did this person shoot one and then assault the rest with an empty rifle ? Okay, that's just silly. We must be talking about the gangsters in the roaring twenties. They were using Tommy guns ! But wait, we outlawed them and all  the criminals stopped using them. You know, come to think of it they had pistol grips on those things ! That must be what the problem is. If we outlaw any rifle with a pistol grip the problem will be solved ! The addition of a pistol grip obviously makes it a weapon used to ASSAULT people. Well, better outlaw stocks too, you could add a bump stock.
 Back to my first question. Just when did modern American history begin. Must have been when CNN first started reporting the news. They started calling all these weapons assault rifles. It sounds a lot scarier than saying a rifle. They have even managed to convince some people that guns are violent ! Those things will assault you ! I even heard a politician start calling these rifles, weapons of mass destruction ! Don't worry about North Korea manufacturing intercontinental ballistic missiles, it's the assault rifles we need to be concerned with ! If only Russia hadn't rigged the election. If Hillary had won we could just sell some more weapons grade nuclear material to North Korea so they would be our friend. Hey, worked with Russian right ? And Hillary only got seven American killed, not the worst mass shooting in modern American history. But she probably had nothing to do with any of that anyway. It was those darn statues that got everyone upset. That's probably the motive behind this shooting. Give the FBI time folks they'll tie it all together.
 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

caveat emptor

I often have scraps of paper lying about my computer with scribblings on them. I jot down ideas or things I want to explore. Sometimes I even pick these scraps back up and look at them. Mostly they just lie around looking like a mess. This morning I did pick one up and turn it over. On the back was written Caveat Emptor. It is a Latin phrase meaning " Let the buyer beware. " I haven't a clue why I jotted that down but there it was. I thought about it for just a moment and my mind went back a number of years. I began to think about the things I have purchased that perhaps, in retrospect, maybe I should not have. But then I thought this concept of let the buyer beware could also apply to the intangible things we have bought. More properly the things we bought into. It is those things that often have the largest impact on our lives. I'm talking about ideas and ideology. I'm talking about the things we believed and put our faith into.
 Remember when you were a child and Mom and Dad tried to tell you something but you knew better ? That's the type of stuff I'm thinking about. That person really was nothing but trouble. Doing this or that did give you a bad reputation. And in some cases, it wasn't love at all, just an infatuation ! Couldn't tell you anything though, nope, you bought it. I was convinced that I should go into the service. All the benefits were explained to me, all the logic was sound. I sat at night and contemplated all of that. I would soon be 18, a man. I would eventually make the " grown up " decision, do what was right. I joined. Looking back I bought into the whole thing. I didn't join because of any great desire to " see the world " or " serve my nation. " No, I joined because I bought the whole packet both logically and in spirit. It was the right thing to do, whether I really wanted to do it or not. That is what I am talking about. That is the kind of stuff I'm thinking about. It is the stuff we buy into that defines our character. Can you change your character ? Of that I'm not so certain. You can try, but is it possible ?
 Our characters are formed in our youth. Just how much say do we have in all of that ? That would depend upon how much freedom we enjoyed as a child. That is what I'm thinking anyway. I believe it is our parents, our siblings, our friends,  and our community that form our character,  our mental and moral qualities that distinguish us. We call that finding our way. Once we choose a path we are reluctant to change that path. I made that choice to join the Navy because it was the " right " thing to do. I can think of several other choices I made because it was the " right " thing to do. I bought into it ! I didn't make those choices because it was easier, more convenient, or even necessarily because it is what I wanted.
 The strength of our character is dependent upon our moral foundation. Can you abandon your moral foundation ? I believe you can if you apply enough mental effort to do so, you can buy a ticket on a different train of thought. When we are presented with new information, new ideas or methods we should evaluate them against the old. The adoption of the new shouldn't always mean the abandonment of the old ! You don't have to go all in. I can earn an advanced degree in any subject I choose, but what I learned in kindergarten still applies. Far too many today " buy " into this whole education thing. If I go to school and graduate that makes me smart. Knowledge and wisdom are totally different things. As I was told on many occasions, there are a lot of educated damn fools in the world. It is my thinking that each and every degree issued in this country should contain the phrase " Caveat Emptor "  Buyer Beware don't buy into everything you hear or what is popular. 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

acquiring stuff

  Is it the quest for stuff that is the driving force behind these tragedies ? I can't help but think about that possibility. Is it the anger at not getting what you want, or the perception of that. Is it both ? Just what is causing such anger ? Is it anger ? Is it frustration ? Why would a person respond in such a manner ? That is what we all want to know. That is why it is important for us to know the motive. We do want to know the why.
 I'm no physiatrist, I have no advanced degrees, I'm just an old boy from backwater USA. Isn't that what is sad about those that lack, degrees or fame ? Yes, if you are famous you're also intelligent, that's why so many listen to those folks. Strangely, if I can add a string of letters at the end of your name that will convince some, just not as readily. I do know this much, when people feel deprived, denied, or prevented from doing or getting what they want they become angry. That is when they will strike out. What is making so many angry ?
 I think we would have to begin with a simple question. How do we develop our expectations ? Are those expectations the result of society or are they internal to each individual ? Probably some of both is my answer. Everyone wants to fit in, be a member of society, In order to do that we require certain things. Things are expected of us. Sometimes those expectations require the acquisition of goods. We should have this or that and if we don't ? Well, we are either incompetent, lazy, or freeloaders. Then there are those that have too much money. The wealthy folks that seem to have it all. Just what is it they have ? That is what I'm talking about. What is, having it all ?
 We all have an inherent desire to be an individual. Heck, we can't help that, we are born that way. It is society that shapes us. It is the society in which we live that will plant the seeds of expectation within us. We are told what we should be, what we should become. If you were born a Spartan you would be expected to be a warrior ! If you are born in America what are you expected to be ? You are supposed to be successful and acquire goods. What is the American dream ? To live free, unencumbered by government, to pursue happiness ! That is what we are taught. The thing is the lesson has changed. The lesson now is you have a right to be happy. That happiness will stem from the acquisition of goods !
 That wasn't the original lesson. The original lesson was if you work hard and live a moral life success will follow. Success was having enough to provide for your family and being a benefit to the community. In the beginning there was a common understanding of just what was moral. I'd say that picture has been blurred considerably. Human behaviors haven't changed all that much just public acceptance of those behaviors. I think it is accurate to say, moral values define a society ? I say that because we mustn't forget that it is " we " the people that make the society. If " we " define success by the acquisition of goods, or by fame, many will become discontent. Discontent leads to anger. Anger leads to violence. Is this spike in violence related to this ? I do believe a correlation can be drawn.
 This last act was committed by someone who had means. He could acquire goods. He wasn't famous, is that what he wanted ? I highly doubt that having killed himself before he could even " enjoy " that fame for a moment. So what would be his motivation ? I have no answer for that. I can say he has no moral character. That would have to be absent in order to plan such an act. He had stuff, he was a success by the standards of our society today.
Could it be that stuff, isn't enough ? 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

struggling

 I, along with everyone else, struggle to understand. The news has been relentless since the first reporting. We haven't learned much more about his motives and I sincerely doubt we ever will. In the midst of all this confusion, sorrow, and anger we must go on. I am getting concerned that the news outlets will begin to exploit this tragic occurrence rather than simply report the facts. My concern is they will cause further trauma to the general public. No doubt the " gun control " advocates will raise another great cry and hue. I don't believe there is anything anyone could have done to prevent this from happening. A lone man, he had lots of money and the desire to do this deed. Yes he bought guns. He bought them legally and I'm quite certain it will be discovered that some were purchased illegally. It makes no difference which ones were used. There just is no understanding madness. In my opinion that is what that was, an act of sheer madness.
 I went out to the store yesterday, partially to just get away from those news casts. Watching for too long can cause you to become depressed. I had to turn it off and walk away. We arrived at the Food Lion and they had Mums , sitting on pallets offered for sale. I noticed a little painted " ghost " sitting among them. I picked it up and it was a painted stone. On the backside of that stone it said " post to Delmar rocks " and hide somewhere else. I had noticed a week or so ago a small bucket with a sign in it here in Greensboro. The sign said, Community rock garden. Take a rock, paint a rock. The two things clicked in my mind. I brought the rock home, photographed it and posted to Delmar rocks.
 It turns out Delmar rocks is a group on Facebook. I had to join the group in order to post. Delmar, in case you are not familiar with that term means Delaware / Maryland as they border each other on the Delmar peninsula. The purpose is to see how far and wide these rocks will travel, similar to the " where's George " thing with the dollar bills. I'm thinking the wife and I will each paint a rock and set them somewhere. I did hide the rock I found at Food Lion in another location. It'll be interesting to see what happens in the future. It certainly seems like a harmless diversion.
 This year, 2017 has been a tough one so far. Personal loses along with national tragedies and civil unrest seems to have filled this year. It is not a year to remember. It has been a year of reminders though. I am reminded how quickly things can change. I am reminded just how much our friends and family mean to us. I am reminded to not take things for granted. There is about 89 days left in this year. You shouldn't ever be anxious for days to pass, we all have, after all , a limited number of them. Still I can't help but hope for next year. I'm hoping it will be better. Without getting political there is a section of the population that I'm afraid won't allow that. They seem determined to " get their way " at all costs. There is another section of the population that grows in stubborn persistence. They've got their back up, as the saying goes. It is my prayer that we can find common ground once again. I'm thinking we all need to just lighten up a bit. Maybe we just need a simple diversion. share a painted rock , instead of throwing them at each other.
 For some things there are no explanation ! That is the frustration. We struggle to understand. We can not. All we can do is keep moving forward. It is my belief we need divine intervention. We must remember the divine has not abandoned us, we need to believe. Asking without belief does nothing. God does not allow these things to happen. these are the choices of man. Man has been given free will, it is the choices we make that control our fate. Destiny ? Well I wrote about that before, I believe fate fulfills destiny. 

Monday, October 2, 2017

Why

 I find myself struggling to find subjects to deal with. Seems like I have talked about everything. It is getting to be like talking about the weather. There is very little that is new or surprising. This morning I turn on the news and there has been another shooting. This time twenty people are dead and many more wounded. The shooter is dead. The cries for " gun control " will go up again. The general thinking will be, if he didn't have a gun he couldn't have shot anyone. Yes, that's true and if he wasn't a nut he wouldn't have done it either. The news will be all about why he did what he did. The investigation will be intense. The bottom line is you can not stop this sort of thing from happening, it is an unfortunate truth. There are crazy people in the world, those with warped minds and warped ideologies. Another tragedy is that I am not surprised or shocked by this type of thing happening. It has become all too common and we have to ask ourselves why. Guns have been around for a very long time, but this behavior is a relatively new thing. I don't believe it is the guns.
 Like I was saying there is very little new to write about. This topic I have discussed at length on more than one occasion. I don't have any more answers than anyone else. I do believe these deranged people that perpetrate these heinous acts are a product of our society. It is that we should examine closely. What has changed in our thinking that allows these thoughts to grow and fester. I wonder if it could stem from this philosophy that everyone is entitled. If I am not getting what I want I should demand it ! I have a right to whatever I want. If those demands aren't met I will act out. Isn't that what this is, acting out ? Just like a spoiled child these sick people act out to gain the attention they so desperately want. They even do so knowing it will cause their own deaths ! It is more than a rational mind can wrap themselves around. We are all left asking, why.
 I was hoping to just write about some insignificant incident in my life. Maybe I would tell an amusing anecdote. Then I see this news and my heart is deeply saddened. I am angered and feeling helpless. I didn't watch football because of recent actions, there acting out. Some will think I'm crazy but can these actions be related. It was at a country music festival. A conservative crowd ? That would be the initial thought wouldn't it. But we mustn't stereotype the audience. Will we ever know the true motive ? I rather doubt it. How can you know the thoughts of a dead man ? That is the first thing we want to know ; why ?    
  

Sunday, October 1, 2017

just a distraction

 Some are calling it the current distraction from some nefarious plan Trump, the Bilderberg's, the Russians or other groups have to destroy America, That is all this is, this taking a knee. Very clever having Colin Kaepernick begin this last season and thus allowing it to fester throughout the off season. Well when the end game is world domination you have to be patient. I have heard this explanation many times in the past, how the media and the press manipulate the ignorant population to accomplish their goals. Yes, it is the wealthy elite that pull the strings ! The rest of us are just puppets doing their bidding.
 I was thinking about all the other distractions I have been witness too. Watergate comes to mind. Last year there was flag burning and gay marriage. The legalization of pot has been proposed and ratified. What about Kent state ? Only us old people would remember that. That was quite the distraction. The draft dodgers were out in full force and being arrested for that. Many fled to Canada and were later pardoned by Jimmy Carter. Yup, all the way back in 1977 the Democrats were saying, it's alright you don't have to defend or respect our country ! You can live here, enjoy all the benefits, privileges and rights that others fought and died for, without having to participate in any of that. We forgive you. I haven't forgiven anyone. Muhamad Ali was convicted and found guilty of being a draft dodger. He appealed and remained free until Jimmy Carter pardoned them all. That was the beginning of this Muslim intervention in American affairs. The Nation of Islam began as a black separatist organization but few know that today. Ali later denounced that group and declared himself a Sunni Muslim. Today we have the " Black lives matter " bunch and no one seems to know what they really want. It is all quite the distraction isn't it ?
 If all of that is a distraction what it is it that we are being distracted from ? What aren't we supposed to notice ? The answer is we are not supposed to notice the dismantling of America. There are people out there right now saying our nation was founded on 18th century thinking and that is just wrong. Certainly no one in the 18th century would know anything about living in the 21st. Those folks believed in " Divine Providence " and just how can you run a government with that notion floating around. Certainly those folks back then weren't nearly as intelligent as we are today ! Why they didn't even have common core, how could they know anything. Nope, that 18th century thinking just has to go.
 The 21st century is the century of me. It is all about what I want, no what I deserve ! I'm a survivor and as such should be entitled to have everything just handed to me. I get to do whatever I want, whenever I want to do it. Others values and traditions mean nothing to me when they interfere with what I want. We will rewrite those documents that declared our independence. A new government will be established. Everyone gets everything for free. Free enterprise ? Well that just means I get stuff for free by other peoples enterprises, no need for me to participate. That's what freedom means ! That is what is being said today. No longer are we concerned with the whole, what is best for the nation. It is all about me ! Really it is no different than the old ploy, " want a piece of candy ? " The taste is sweet for a little while until you are left with nothing but a memory. That's when you begin to pay for that candy. 

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Noise

 I have an old clock that belonged to my great grandfather. I've had it repaired and it sits above this keyboard, old technology staring down at the new. The air conditioning is off and the window wide open. At four thirty on a Saturday morning in Greensboro, it is quite silent. I can hear the steady tick-tock of that clock as it marks the passing of time. I hear the night creatures with their chirping sounds and wonder what they say. The clacking of my typing breaks that silence and I hesitate, I love to hear those sounds. I wonder if that is what it was like for writers back in the old days. Did the scratching of their quills interrupt their thoughts ? I imagine that it did. Then those sounds lull me into thought and I become lost in them. The silence can be a distraction.
 Maybe though it is during those times that we refile our thoughts. I often feel like I have papers strewn all over the place, notes here and there in a jumbled mess. I believe that is the result of spending too much time on social media. There are so many topics and discussions that I get confused. It can be an emotional roller coaster if you allow that. Yesterday I took time to just sit and work on my manuscript. Technically that isn't correct as a manuscript has to be hand written and I'm typing it. I did have in mind at one time to teach myself the art of calligraphy so my writing would be both legible and beautiful. I'm thinking now I should just concentrate on legible if I wish to write that manuscript. Well, I'll just type it ! We do need to know when to reduce our expectations a bit and settle for the practical. I'm not so certain I have the patience to actually write it all out. I don't think it would add much value to the work, do you ? Maybe just the foreword should be that way. But here I go wandering off again.
 I'm wondering if society hasn't become too complex for man. What I'm thinking about is how small the world has become. We live in the information age, maybe it is too much information. Are we allowing all this information to distract us from the practical ? In the little town where I was raised back in the fifties there was much that was unknown. I can't see where it hurt a thing. We had two channels on the television and an AM radio. We listened to the national news on one and the top forty on the other. The library was there if you wished to learn a bit more about things. It took effort to learn and it took time. Now we just read all these opinions, sometimes supported by facts, sometimes not, and feel like we are educated. What was it that we were taught ? Get your own house in order before criticizing others. Confucius said :
  “To put the world in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order; we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right.”
 A lot of sayings have been credited to him,  this one is genuine. I think he was onto something. The Bible also has verses about this subject. It is surprising how many of the idioms we were taught come from the Bible and ancient history. Seems like people have been saying the same thing for centuries, what man needs to learn is to listen. Maybe we just can't hear because of all the noise. Seems like the world is getting noisier all the time. Progress drowning serenity ?
 Confucius did say " first put the family in order."  A great deal of the unrest we are seeing today stems from that very problem. Just like Confucius said, we begin by putting our hearts right. A just heart is not so concerned with personal needs. A just heart has respect for everyone. Truth is, as a nation, we can't even agree to respect the same flag ! 

Friday, September 29, 2017

of the finest kind

 I woke up yesterday to the news of another passing. No one told me that was the byproduct of growing up, seeing those you know and love pass away. If I had known that I would have stayed a child, but like everyone else,  I just couldn't wait and so here I am. Yesterday it was an old classmate. I probably haven't seen this classmate since 1971 or so but that is not important. I knew him , was in the sixth grade with him and knew of his family. I can't say we were close friends, lifelong buddies or any of that, that would be a lie. It is only through Facebook that we reconnected at all. And that connection was through a single thread, we were classmates. Both coming from a small town that connection held strong and we shared a mutual respect for each other. After all, we were born on common ground. We walked the same earth, breathed the same air and shared the same path in life. Just a couple of small town boys, born in a different time and place, wondering just how we got where we are. Now, this man I called a friend has gone to rest and my world is a little smaller for it.
 The past days I have been ranting and raving caught up in this kneeling protest stuff. I didn't get a chance to hear what my friend may have thought about any of that. He was a patriot if ever I met one. A man of fierce pride in his country, his family and his way of life. He had a way about him in that regard, strong, confident and unrelenting, but still amicable enough. He was thought of highly by many, that much I can verify. You may wonder why I am writing so much about this man after admitting I haven't seen him in many years. We were just classmates after all.
 Well the truth is he symbolized a place, a time and a lifestyle lost to me. With his passing that time and place grows more distant. I don't know if he ever joined in, but there was a group calling themselves the " Lost Tribe of the Accabonacs"  whose purpose was to save that time and place for posterity. He was that " Tribe. "  That " tribe " like all tribes spoke a unique language, we call it a dialect today. When I spoke with him I spoke that language, we understood each other. But it was deeper than that, deeper than a shared language, deeper than a shared classroom, we had a shared tradition. A tradition that has been labeled as being a Bonacker. The tribe has lost another and there aren't many left.
 I don't claim to be a member of that tribe. I would say I was a close relative. I feel like I have lost a member of my family. It is a loss of community. With his passing I would say an entire community mourns that loss. It doesn't matter if you were his closest confidant or you just knew of his exploits and his legends. He was integral to the community and that community is quickly fading into history. There is an old saying in that language of the Accabonac's, a compliment of the highest order that says, " He was of the finest kind "
 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Clarity

  It has been said you are only as old as you feel. I'm not so certain about the validity of that statement. I overslept this morning, getting a late start. Judging by the hour I finally got out of bed I should feel like a teenager ! Instead I'm feeling a bit older and lethargic. I will spend the rest of this day trying to catch up. Must be age, I find it all unsettling when the routine is changed.
 They are many other things that make us feel old. It isn't just our physical being but mental as well. Take this recent uproar over the protests. I get the feeling that I must be from a different time when so many fail to understand a basic tenet. That tenet is the principal of respect. So many would replace that tenet with law. How to explain that tenet ? That is the challenge I face when posting to social media. The thing is I also realize it takes years to teach " respect " for that is something learned from childhood and is an ongoing thing. If the foundation was never laid, never taught, it is an uphill battle for sure. I stated the other day, I wish more parents taught respect rather than entitlement and I truly believe that is central to the issue. It seems it is more about, I can do this, rather than should I do this ? Remember when we were children, how often we heard that question. If Johnny jumped of the bridge would you do that too ? That's because you shouldn't. Remember being told, children should be seen and not heard ? That's because listening fosters learning and growth. Remember being told to leave the room when the adults were talking ? That was to protect young folks from subjects they couldn't understand. All of those actions were lessons in respect. I'll admit Dad called them laws ! They weren't written down.
 That is just one reason I feel my age, as the saying goes. There are those that will say, it all went wrong. I disagree with that statement as there has been much progress made in my lifetime so far. I believe there will be even more. My concern lies with the abandonment of certain tenets, like respect. This of course ties into my sense of morality and virtuous behaviors. The social acceptance of what I believe to be aberrant behavior as normal, is very unsettling. It is a very confusing thing. I'm not one to say those practicing those behaviors should be ostracized or belittled in any fashion, all the while believing that it should be pointed out that those behaviors are aberrant. They are not normal. You can't blame people for an illness, but you can't call an illness " normal" either.
 I feel old when I see people going to church in cut offs and a tee shirt. I feel old when I see people attending a funeral dressed in the same fashion. I feel old when I say Hello to a passing stranger and am met with a look of fear or puzzlement. I feel old when I order a cup of coffee and am asked, what flavor ? I would hope it tastes like coffee. I feel old when I understand certain actions that others, younger than myself, appear puzzled by. I feel old when going to a restaurant and a glass of water isn't placed on the table. I feel old whenever I hear folks publically using language unfit for a sailors dive, I feel old when I hear it proclaimed that God is just a fantasy !
 They say you have to change with the times, There is truth in that if you want to remain connected with current events. I'm beginning to think I may have reached the point where I should just disconnect altogether. My only social obligation is to my family, my friends, and to the ones I love. I can't cure the world. That is a reality I find hard to swallow but it's true. I'm thinking it just that I was taught to care what others hold dear and to respect that. It didn't mean I had to agree with it, it didn't I had to protest it either.
 Maybe this will shed some light on what I struggle to say. I was taught, as a child that the Jews killed Jesus. They remain Jews because they don't want to admit to that. I remember thinking, can't blame them for that, I wouldn't admit it either. I was also taught that it was their belief and they are entitled to that. I was taught to respect their beliefs and symbols. I didn't stage any protests at their services or outside their houses. No I just respected their right to worship as they pleased. Fact is I was a bit curious about it all. Turns out all I was taught was a point of view. A view with some truth in it. Of course what wasn't pointed out at the time was that almost everybody was a Jew back then. Well, not the Romans but the general population at that time. Christians only appeared later on. It is all a matter of perspective. Perhaps age has obscured my vision or perhaps with age comes clarity. 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

what's fair

 It was pointed out that a great deal of the protest we are seeing today was the same as in the 1960's. I would have to agree with that, I was there. I was there when the civil rights movement really got some traction and things began to change. Now I was quite a bit younger then and not so politically aware. I was also from the North, living on an Island pretty much isolated from the real goings on. My town was no big city, everybody went to the same school and all that. Yes there were " colored " folks as was said back then. I didn't give that a thought as being a derisive term, it was just a descriptor. There were other words that you used if you wanted to start a fight ! We were taught all about that and it worked with lots of people. There were names ( descriptors ) for all kinds of people. Now we call them ethnic groups. I was called a dirty Kraut on more than one occasion. I just fought back against being called that. All I knew about being a Kraut was they were Germans. Yes, my family name was German but I wasn't and still ain't.
 I don't believe anyone can say that change hasn't taken place. Rights are equally distributed these days. There are no restrictions due to race, creed or gender. So what are we now protesting ? We are protesting perceived injustices. It makes no difference if it is race, gender social status, religious beliefs or anything else you want to name it is perceptions that are being rallied against. I've said it before and I'll say it again, equal opportunity does not guarantee equal results. You have to actually do something in order to better your condition. I will not attempt to list a bunch of statistics and facts, few people pay any attention to that in any case, it is all about feelings these days. It is all about grabbing onto the first excuse I can find. The only group that can not do this are " white " folks because we are all so privileged. Strangely Black pride is celebrated, whereas white pride is labeled as being racist ! And now that same notion has spread to our National identity. Was a day when it was a good thing, expected even, to take pride in America.  Today that can get you labeled as a Nationalist ! And Nationalists are Nazis !
 I'll go out on a limb here and point out a few simple truths. There was injustice and inequality in this country. It was written into law ! Any fool can see that. Those laws were based on race and gender . They have since been erased and rightfully so. There is no group of people in this country that is not afforded every right guaranteed and protected by the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights. If there is, someone show me were it is ! So, a simple truth is this, there are no laws in this country discriminatory to any one group of people.
 Having changed the laws what is the impediment to success, to achieving the dream, that is America ? It is a perception, ingrained into our children, that they are " entitled " to that success. Nothing could be further from the truth. Being an American citizen does not guarantee that you get whatever you want, whenever you want it, simple by virtue of that citizenship ! You may pursue that dream, you are not guaranteed to catch it !
 You can not legislate how people respond. You can't ! You can march and protest all you want, in fact you are guaranteed the right to do so, but that will not change the heart of people.  Oh you may gain a few converts, no matter the cause, some folks just like joining in. But does anyone seriously believe you are going to change people by protesting ? I'm just going to tell you I don't like what you are doing, and you'll stop doing it. Well, good luck with that approach.
 The marching and the protesting can and does get laws changed. It did until all Americans stood on equal ground under the law. We even instituted regulations guaranteeing all groups are represented in our police departments and other civil institutions. That was done in an effort to afford a balance that wouldn't have happened for a number of years. They called it " affirmative action. " I believe it was a necessary thing, although it makes me feel sad that it should have to be so. It would be much better if everyone wasn't really paying attention to ethnic groups, gender or whatever. But a simple truth is, people are and will continue to do so.
 It is that simple truth that I am trying to point out here. Not everyone is going to feel that are being treated fairly. Can you legislate that ? Fact is, we already have. So what is left ? When you were a child and you felt you were being treated unfairly what was the remedy ? Getting your way is the short answer. That is what it took, be honest with yourself. You got your way or a promise of something better in the future. That was your concept of fair. You could go down a list of reason you were being treated unfairly rather quickly. I'm the oldest, I'm the youngest, I'm a boy, I'm a girl and the list goes on. What's fair ? When I get what everyone else has whether I earned it or not, I'm entitled to it by the simple virtue of being me.
 There is a form of government that will guarantee that. It is called socialism. Everyone gets the same thing. Of course the " leaders " aren't included in any of that, they get whatever they want. What you get is " equality " guaranteed by law. So, I am left scratching my head and wondering about all of this. Just what is it that we want ? And by " we "  I mean America. America is the whole. That is what we should be concerned with, the whole. Do you really want equality guaranteed under the law ? Or would you rather live free ? Freedom comes at a price, sometimes the price is real, and sometimes nothing more than a perception.