The Ramblings of the Titanium Don

Explorations of Conscious Reality Creation and Other Matters

Category: Topical Ranting (Page 2 of 8)

The Wrong Side of History

Dear haters, bigots, misogynists, and homophobes,

Congratulations – you are on the wrong side of history.

I am sorry to tell you that your hatred will not change public policy. Blacks, women, homosexuals, Hispanics, Hindis, Muslims, transgendered, fat and thin people and everyone else all will win equality, because that is what is right.

There is no “gay agenda”, except maybe they want to be treated like everyone else. There is no Muslim world take-over conspiracy, the vast majority of Muslims think about their religious beliefs the same as everyone else. Women should be paid the same as men for the same jobs. Transgendered people have the right to use whatever bathroom they choose. Black, Hispanic and Indian people are not trying to push out white people.

There IS a war on women and their rights to choose how to treat their own bodies. There ARE religious extremists out there who want their intolerant ways applied to all – and not just Muslims, there are plenty of Christian and even Jewish extremists out there. There ARE haters who fear change and dislike seeing women and homosexuals and anyone who is not white and male in positions of power or as major characters in books, TV, movies and other media. There are nut jobs running for office who deny science and logic and reason in favor of extremism and their own power.

I cannot speak for everyone who feels as I do, but let me just tell you this: We are all one. Stop hating, stop being afraid of change because change is going to happen, you are simply in the way. Let go of your hatred, because it is irrational and useless. You aren’t going to keep the “status quo” because it’s not. Everyone deserves equality, everyone has a right to live the life they would choose, and intolerance and hatred won’t stand.

Those of us who feel this way need to speak up. Stop letting the haters spread their hate unanswered. Spread inclusion instead of exclusion, unity instead of division, peace instead of war, love instead of hate, education instead of blind faith, logic instead of extremism. Stop letting the fear mongers win supporters – Let’s work on spreading truth over irrationality.

Maybe I am espousing a hippy-crunchy love-over-hate message, but I see nothing wrong with that. The world needs less fear and hate and more rationality and love. I’m doing my part – what else can we do to change the world for the better?

Equal Rights and Religious Freedom

The United States of America is NOT, repeat, NOT a Christian Country. Period. End of discussion.

Further, please correct me if I am mistaken, but didn’t Jesus preach equality? From the low to the high, all are children of God and should be respected as such? Who do you think you are claiming your hatred, your bigotry, your discrimination, or your misogyny is in the name of God?

Let’s discuss another absolute fact. There is no war against Christianity in the USA. Period. End of discussion.

America is a great big melting pot. EVERY SINGLE RELIGION you can imagine is found here, and allowed to be practiced. No one religion dominates. Nor should it. That is the definition right there of freedom of religion – go ahead and practice it, no matter what it is.

Besides, do you realize how many forms of Christianity exist? Beyond Catholicism, Lutheranism, Protestantism, Methodist, Baptist…how many more forms are there? How many divides even amongst these? And do they all agree? No. So you are completely off base if you believe that anyone is waging a war against Christianity as a whole.

Look, I have nothing against anyone practicing their religion. Go for it. What I DO have a problem with is when you try to push your beliefs on anyone else. In especial if you work a mundane, private-sector job.

If you do not work for a church or other religious organization, you have NO RIGHT to use your beliefs to deny someone goods or services. Are you a pharmacist? Ok, you prescribe birth control and morning after pills and all other drugs, PERIOD. No debate, that’s what you do. Are you a butcher? Unless you are specifically a Kosher butcher I would bet you sell pork. Justice of the Peace? You marry couples, gay or straight. That’s how it works.

It is extremely disconcerting to see so much outright hatred, bigotry and misogyny happening in this day and age. The so-called leaders who unapologetically spout it somehow stir-up the old animosities, and we’re tossed backwards in time. Suddenly it is acceptable to openly express your bias against anyone who is not like you.

What happened? I grew up when we were talking about inclusion. Equal rights for EVERYONE. Color of your skin, religion, gender, economic standing – they didn’t matter. Equality was the word. Now – suddenly its ok to proudly be discriminatory in the name of…take your pick. God. Money. Race. Creed. Whatever group you want to tag yourself onto.

You know what? It’s NOT ok. Equality IS everyone’s right. There is only so much I can do as an everyman to express this, but here it is: WE ALL deserve equal treatment. If you are male, female, transgendered, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Christian, Atheist, Muslim, Jew, young, old, rich, poor, heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, fat, thin, hot, cold…whatever – you deserve equal treatment!

There are people in positions of leadership RIGHT NOW that do not stand for equality, and make no bones about that. There are people attempting to gain positions of leadership who are unabashed bigots, haters and misogynists. PAY ATTENTION, and let’s kick them to the curb. Don’t allow them and their disparate followers to turn back the clock to the inequalities of the past.

Stand up and make your position known.

Join me in shouting more loudly than the haters – EQUAL RIGHTS FOR EVERYONE!!!!!

Things we should care about – versus – things we should not

I am going to overly-simplify this, because I think we have lost sight of the things we should care about, versus the things that are really not all that important in the grand scheme of life, the universe and everything.

Here is a list, in no particular order, of things we should care about:

  • Our health
  • The health of our friends and family
  • Our welfare
  • The welfare of our friends and family.
  • Our happiness.
  • The happiness of our friends and family.
  • Being treated fairly and treating others in the same manner that we want to be treated.

These are pretty much the main things that I can think of that we should give our energy and attention to.

Here are the things we should not ignore, but that we should not really care quite so much about, in no particular order:

  • Politics
  • Political corruption.
  • Corporate greed and corruption.
  • Religious fundamentalists and intolerance.
  • Nationalisms.
  • Differences in gender, differences in sexual proclivities, differences in spiritual matters.

Last but not least, this is the list of things we really should not care about at all, and we need to stop giving so much attention to:

  • Celebrities.
  • Gossip.
  • Professional athletes.
  • Politicians and religious leaders.
  • Hate mongers.
  • War mongers.

I believe that it is time to focus more on the things we have the ability to put our intent on, rather than the distractions and circuses we see in the modern mediascape. We need to be less concerned with who is gay or straight, conservative or liberal, black or white, male or female, religious or atheist and all other polar oppositions. We need to focus on ourselves and the people we care about and give more of our time and energy to that.

Opening more channels for more people to be free in no way lessens the freedom for the rest of us. The universe is abundant, and as such there is more than enough freedom and peace and happiness for everyone.

Give that some though before you post that next critical meme, that next negative political cartoon, that next news article about a given politician, celebrity or athlete and their doings. It is true that the less attention they get the louder they will become…until, ignored, they fade back into the background noise.

When we take our focus away from these largely unimportant things and place it on ourselves and the people around us, I believe we can all be stronger, better balanced and happier.

Just an idea I wanted to share.

#YesAllWomen

Consider, gentlemen, why you should not be offended.

If, like me, you are a white male, you have a certain amount of privilege you likely do not even recognize, and totally take for granted. Sure, you may have something about you that garners ridicule, scorn and maybe teasing – but that is nothing compared to what most women face directly or indirectly regularly.

Of course this is a generalization, but it is a VERY important generalization. Men are rarely subject to catcalls, to having to rebuff advances because of a simple glance, to having to ignore someone starring at their breasts instead of their face. We do not have to consider how much cleavage we expose or how tight our pants are or the length of our skirt in order to maintain “propriety” or “decency” or what-have-you.

I have written before about the political and socio-economics of the inequality between the genders. I asked the rest of the men I know to take a stand, and stop supporting the politicians and the outlets of discrimination and such.

Today I am asking you to take this a step further. We have to no longer be passive in social settings, we have to be active. We have to take a stand and show how much we believe in equality between both of our genders (and all gender identities).

We cannot brush off commentary about how a woman is dressed, we cannot just ignore catcalls and inappropriate jokes that help perpetuate the inequality of our society. We have to alter our own perceptions to be better attuned to the rampant and ugly and entirely artificial divide between man and woman.

I am not asking you to practice political correctness or to call out any random stranger you encounter on the streets or across the internet. I am asking you to consider you own words, your own attitude, and to speak out in support of all the women who have had to contend with harassment and a double standard we are wholly incapable of experiencing.

The message of #yesallwomen is not anti-men. It is not meant to offend, it is not meant to attack…it is intended to show us something that we cannot possibly fathom from the comfort of our artificial patriarchal majority. It is meant to call attention to the out-of-control misogyny in our society.  It is meant to expose the double-standard in social conventions, and to call attention to a problem that, frankly, should not exist.

If you, like me, wish to see the extension of equality between everyone, no matter gender identity, then there is no reason to take offense over yesallwomen. We should be in support of this idea. We should stand in agreement, we should speak up and offer our endorsement, to show that the message is getting through, and we want to spread it further.

We all should be asking – What else can I do to help?

The return of the ERA

What happened to the ERA?

The Equal Rights Amendment was first introduced to Congress in December of 1923, and every subsequent session of congress through 1970.  After almost five decades of being constantly buried in committee, the ERA finally got put to a vote by the full House of Representatives in 1971, where it passed, and then the Senate in 1972.

The passing of this historic amendment by Congress, however, was insufficient for the constitution to be changed.  It needed to be ratified by 38 of 50 States, and though the deadline for this to happen would be extended by three years, by 1982 it failed and was left for dead.

Over the next three plus decades the amendment has still seen occasional action, but no significant forward motion.  Despite the best efforts of certain organizations and individuals, it has yet to completely disappear from the political or social landscape of the United States.

The ERA exists in the Senate today.  On March 5, 2013, Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey reintroduced the Equal Rights Amendment in the 113th Congress as S.J. Res 10.

What exactly DOES the Equal Rights Amendment say, anyhow?  It is stunningly simple.

Article–

Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Section 3. This article shall take effect 2 years after the date of ratification.

Simple, yes…and yet incredibly important.  This amendment would have a profound effect on the ability of individual states to continue to make clearly sexist and gender biased laws.

I would, however, suggest that it go further.  Equal rights should not just be set out for men and women.  They should go on to also provide equality for any gender identification, skin color or sexual orientation.

We the people need to demand that not only does the 114th Congress once more take up the Equal Rights Amendment, but take it up to include as follows:

Article–

Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex, gender, skin color, faith or sexual orientation.

Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Section 3. This article shall take effect 1 year after the date of ratification.

We need to insist that Congress take action, and guarantee equal rights for everyone across our nation, no matter what differences there are between us.  It is not just equality needed between men and women, equality needs to exist between EVERYONE.

It is time that the federal government take this step, and stop the individual states from continuing to execute laws that further the inequality of the people of this nation.  For a country that once prided itself on being a “melting pot”, where once we furthered our unity, increasingly we are seeing examples of widening our divisions.

If the United States Congress is truly still a body that is created BY the people, FOR the people, then it is time that they show it.  Enough with partisan politics, enough with the constant infighting and accomplishing nothing unless is guarantees reelection – we the people need to entreat Congress to truly represent us ALL.  I believe that the ERA may be the perfect means to do exactly that.

I call upon our so-called representatives to do their jobs, and represent us.  Not just the “us” who can pay for your campaigns.  Pass the expanded ERA, and then send it to the states to put on the ballots in 2016, and let’s show the world we are still living up to the ideals we hold so dear.

American Culture and Thanksgiving

Let’s pause a moment, the day after Thanksgiving in America, and reflect on what this means.

More importantly, though, let’s reflect on what it SHOULD mean, versus what it APPEARS to.

(Yes, I recognize the other issues with Thanksgiving and the mistreatment of the Native Americans and such, but that is not the topic I am addressing here).

What it SHOULD mean:  Thanksgiving is supposed to be a day to spend with family and friends, grateful for the things we have and the people we have to share them with.  A day to do what we should do EVERY day:  Be thankful.  Express gratitude.

What it APPEARS to mean:  Thanksgiving marks ‘x’ number of days until Christmas.  And that number is insufficient, so we need to buy buy buy everything we can, because that is what you need to do.  Time is short, and money is tight, so here is a one-day sale to draw you in to spend spend spend.  To hell with time for friends and family, get out there and be a good participant in Capitalism and spend your cash on STUFF!

Worse, we have become so cynical about this situation, we just feed it more and more.  Either we get outraged by the unbridled, raging consumerism overtaking family and free time – or we are a part of that shopping feeding frenzy.  Neither of these will do anything to change this.

What can we do?  What should we do?

I haven’t an answer that will work for everyone.  Hey, for some people today is a great shopping day.  As I work in retail, today is a big day for the shop I work for sales wise.  The problem is greater than Black Friday and its overrun of Thanksgiving.  The problem is purely American, from what I can glean, and would require a fairly large shift in our culture that I think we are unprepared to make on many levels.

Such as?

We need to address the life/work balance.  We work far longer hours than Europeans like the French and Germans, though comparatively fewer than Asians like Singapore and Korea.  None-the-less, we work and work and work, and are stingy with our free time, stingy with personal time, and we never seem to have the time/money combination desired, and sometimes even needed.

And all that work doesn’t make us happy, it generally still leaves us wanting.  It causes quite the imbalance, which leads to this issue:

We need to address our health.  We should be embarrassed by the numbers when it comes to health care in this nation.  We have, for the vast money we spend on the industry, one of the shortest life expectancies in the developed world.  We have a broken system run by insurance companies focused on profit, with a reform that only partially addresses the issues, and seems to have caused as many problems as it was intended to resolve.  We focus on caring for the sick, rather than preventative care.  We pop pills rather than work long term solutions.

We all want to be healthy, but we eat foods that are mostly chemicals, we neglect exercise, and we focus on the quick fix over lifestyle changes for the better.  Not a good means to the end.

We need to celebrate our differences, not lament them.  Doesn’t matter if you are gay or straight, black or white, religious or atheist, male or female, or whatever difference you want to choose between people – we should be celebrating our individuality.  Is it just me, or does it seem more and more over the last decade or so that we have gone from a nation striving towards unity and equality and tolerance to a nation of division, widening inequality, and intolerance?  What happened to “Free to be You and Me?” and the notion of how similar we are despite our differences?

It is disheartening to see people working harder to divide than to unite.  Greater separation does not make our lives better in any way.

We need to accept the secular and the sacred as separate and equal.  Plain and simple – we are NOT a Christian nation.  Period.  We are a nation with every single religion known to man in practice.  Choose the religion, major or minor, and someone here practices it.  However, there are many people who are atheists, and do not practice ANY.  And somewhere in between, there are agnostics and spiritual but non-religious folk across the nation, too.

There is no attack on Christmas.  Period.  Sorry folks, I don’t care what Sarah Palin or any other fundamentalists tell you – Christmas is pervasive, it is the dominant event across this nation.  It is on our televisions, in our stores, on our radios, it is EVERYWHERE.  It is for this holiday that our rampant consumerism gets its focus.

Please note – I am NOT attacking Christmas, I am not against the idea of peace on earth and goodwill towards your fellow man or those aspects of the holiday and its spirit.  What I take issue with is those who acknowledge no other religions in the first place, but when they see this dominant force taken from 100% to 80% they call it being attacked.  This is not a digression on my topic – it is precisely what I am getting at here: Focus on separation and discord in place of togetherness and peace.

We have reached a point where we are always looking for who is against us.  Who believes something apart from what we do, and seeks as such to break apart our society?  Who is our opposition?  Who will corrupt and disrupt our way of life?  Divide and conquer.

Until we see and acknowledge these things, there is really nothing we can do to make this holiday back to what it SHOULD be.  A rather major cultural shift, but I believe a necessary and really worthwhile one.

So – what does Thanksgiving mean to YOU?

Individuality and sameness

Humans are unique to this world in so very many ways.  The manner in which we live our lives, the technologies we build, the means by which we communicate is vastly different from the rest of the animals on planet Earth.

We are also unique in the ways we differentiate ourselves from one another.  Skin color, religion, nationality, political stance, gender…in our quest for individuality, we identify ourselves in increasingly divisive ways.  Yet we all strive to find common ground.  We all strive to find our place in the world.  We all strive to find love.

We identify ourselves by some of the most amazing intangibles.  I am American.  I am Christian.  I am Buddhist.  I am German.  I am liberal.  I am conservativeI am I am I am on and on.  But when the sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening, does this matter?

The divisions we have created between ourselves will be our downfall.  I am sorry to make such a simple and negative statement, but it is utterly true.

Look at the world today.  We are constantly standing against one another over intangible matters.  The various religious sects, be they Muslim, Christian, Jewish or other fighting both amongst themselves and between one another over who’s intangible Powers-that-be are right.  Republicans and Democrats obstructing one another over petty bullshit in a power struggle to control the country.

And just to add to that fun, there are the tangibles we divide ourselves with.  Women having to justify and fight for the right to their own self-care when men make ludicrous laws.  Homosexuals having to fight for equality and the right to marry or adopt or what-have-you.  Transgendered individuals struggling to not have to be identified by gender or sexual orientation to live their own lives.

At the core, at the root of it all, no matter what manner we choose to identify ourselves, tangible or intangible, WE ARE ALL ONE.  Despite religious interest, party affiliation, gender, sexual orientation, skin color, nationality – WE ARE ALL ONE.  And that is the message we need to become more aware of, and more accepting of if we are to avoid collapse.

John Lennon expressed it best in Imagine.  “Imagine there’s no heaven, It’s easy if you try.  No hell below us, above us only sky…Imagine there’s no countries, It isn’t hard to do.  Nothing to kill or die for, and no religion too…Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can.  No need for greed or hunger, a brotherhood of man.  Imagine all the people, sharing all the world.”  The message is simple – See the world as it can be if WE ARE ALL ONE.

No, we cannot deny our individuality.  No, we are not all equal in that there are people who are going to stand out in different ways in different fields.  No, not everyone can be a winner just for participating – there will be winners AND losers.  But those are true individual matters, and the things that emphasize our individuality in a natural way.

But however we choose to individually identify ourselves, we need to remember that we need to be accepting of the individuality of others.  This should not be cause to opposition, to oppression, and intolerance…because no matter how we are different individually, ALL ARE ONE.

So rather than fighting against one another and our opposing viewpoints, tangible or intangibles, we need to remember they want the same things I want.  They want the same freedom, the same acknowledgement of their individual self, the same chance to identify with whatever group or groups they would.  What they want and what I want, at the root of it all, is the same.

We should not rue our differences, but celebrate them, remembering that within the individuals are the same substance as what is within us.  We need to forge bonds, not break them.  We need to unite for the greater good, not fight for it.  We need to work together for each other, not against one another.  We need to stop separating ourselves from one another, and start working on bringing ourselves together to make the world a better place for everyone.

What makes us all different?  What makes us all the same?  Just some food for thought.

Thoughts on opposition

Do you know what happens if we stand against one another, in opposition?  Do you know what we accomplish, what we achieve?

Nothing.

That’s right.  Opposing this and standing against that and resisting things gets you a whole lot of nothing.  It gets you nowhere.

Look at the federal government.  Rather than work on a replacement for Obamacare, what do they do?  Oppose it.  And what do they accomplish?  Nothing.

Carl Jung told it simply.  “What you resist, persists.”

What does that mean?  That means that if you fight AGAINST something, if you resist something, if you work in opposition of something, you accomplish NOTHING.  Because the thing you are opposing will persist.

As a society we have become either complacent when it comes to a need for change…or resistant or oppositional.  And, as such, we are at an impasse, and achieving nothing.

This is no longer just unhealthy.  This is becoming dangerous.  This is going to lead us to places we would rather not be.

Unhealthy and dangerous?  How?  Because the inaction this makes means the bad things happening out there get worse.  The immobility will persist, and as such there will be no positive changes, no forward motion, and stagnation.  Or worse, we will accomplish only negative changes, backwards motion, and some pretty ugly issues stemming from that.

We NEED forward motion.  We NEED change.  We NEED inclusiveness.  It will not always be what everyone wants, it will not always be good…but it is a constant.  And we have to stop hiding from that, stop denying that, and accept it.

Once we accept the inevitability of change, we can work harder to direct it.  We can strive together to make change that we WANT.

We need to give this more consideration.  If each of us recognized the inevitability of change, and we then work to deal with it and direct it, we can ALL live in a better world.

This is NOT hippy-dippy-crunchy-granola bullshit – this is a VERY real thing.  We can ALL achieve more, we can ALL be happy if we stop working to OPPOSE change and start working FOR change.

Think about it.  Then pass it on.

Back to the future?

When did 2013 become 1950 all over again?

In history class, when I was in high school back in the very early 1990’s, we studied the civil rights movement and learned about all the progress the country had made since the likes of Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and so on and so forth.

In the year 2008 we elected the first black man to the Presidency of the United States.  Amazing! All that progress, all that forward motion towards a nation of greater equality, and I know I was not alone in hoping maybe we’d have greater prosperity as a result of that.  The dawning of an actual, factual new age!

Here we are, five years later, and I am continually being stunned and amazed by the news.  Women, granted voting suffrage in the USA in 1920, are having to fight for their rights to control their own bodies. They are being denied their basic rights in the name of…well, I can’t rightfully figure out in who’s or what’s name these things are being done for.  In addition to that, homosexuals, transgendered and other non-heterosexuals are fighting for the right to show their affection for one another and marry – and, oh yeah, maybe ALSO get all the financial benefit enjoyed by those who are hetero.  And on top of all of these things, it would appear that certain protections put in place to allow minorities easy access to voting are “unconstitutional”, and multiple legal issues are showing that racism is FAR from dead in this nation.

Are you as outraged as I am that after all these decades of supposed “progress”, we appear to be heading RIGHT BACK into the 1950’s?  We are going back to white elitists denying the vote to those they fear will take them out of power, we are going back to women being second class citizens, and we are seeing black people feeling as if they have to take ludicrous precautions to avoid being shot solely based on the color of their skin.

The travesty of these things are striking on multiple levels.  That they are even taking place in this day and age is inexcusable.  How on earth did these backwards thinking, unthinking people come to power and gain the ability to undo a half century of forward progress?  Why is the press not doing any research anymore, and only working as a propaganda machine for their corporate parents and political interests?  What happened to fact checking, investigative reporting, and unbiased content?

Why have we let the partisan and paranoid continue to feed on fears?  Why are we not standing up and trying to reclaim the progress of the past 50 years towards greater equality for ALL?

We are spied upon by our own government in the name of “protection from terrorism.”  We keep re-electing the same leeches over and over again to suck up to the wealthy and powerful and their agendas, rather than being of and by US, the people.  We complain and make noise and bitch about how awful this or that is, but we do not do anything substantive about it.

Why not?  Because it will not be easy.  Because we have been lulled by decades of “status quo” into thinking we can coast along without change.  Because we are ALL struggling to balance our barely-sufficient jobs with our family and social lives.  Because we fear that if we DO try to move against the government, the police-state we are so afraid of becoming WILL silence us.  Because most of us are really on the peripheral of ALL of these awful things, and believe that we will continue to be unaffected by them.  I am sure there are many more reasons and excuses than these, both more and less valid.

We cannot remain still, we have to continue to move forward!  We cannot keep letting the paranoid, partisan and phobic continue to dictate the discourse of our nation.  We must end the control of special interests and their money on our politicians.  We need to remind these people whom they work for, and that WE THE PEOPLE deserve proper representation.  We need to rekindle the civil rights movement, and expand it to cover ALL Americans, no matter race, creed, color, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or what-have-you.

This is 2013.  We are well into the 21st century, and we need to continue FORWARD.  We cannot and should not go back to the past.  We need to stop denying rights to ANYONE, we need to get our nation back on track to being progressive and commendable.

Everyone is welcome to their own opinions, we are a nation of free speech and civil liberties and freedoms, but those are meant for EVERYONE.  We have to stop the denial of those rights based on personal morality.  Men cannot continue to deny women their rights, heterosexuals cannot continue to deny homosexual rights, whites cannot continue to deny blacks their rights, etc etc.  We must continue the forward progress of equality for ALL.

This nation has long called itself a beacon of justice, of hope, of progress in the modern world.  We need to live up to that now more than ever.  Let’s each do our part and make it the reality once again.  Let us celebrate our unity, not our divisions.  If we cannot get those in power to work for us, we need to replace them.  We need to stop patronizing those who use their money and power to corrupt and influence the process.

We need to remember and take action in any way we can, not to divide and conquer, but to unite and inspire.  Let us work together to end the false divisions of our nation, and reunite for the greater good.  Only if we strive towards progress together can we show those in power they need to change accordingly…or get out of the way.

Think about it.  Then, working together, let us find ways to act upon it.

Independence

Independence Day.  While there will be celebrations and barbecues and fireworks across the nation, I have to ask a question I know I am not alone in pondering.  Have we lost sight of today’s meaning?

On July 4, 1776, 237 years ago, the Continental Congress ratified the Declaration of Independence, separating the United States from the British Empire.  It was a bold, spirited, brave move to win freedom from an oppressive government, and arguably changed the course not only of American history, but the rule of monarchs worldwide and the rise of democratic governance.

The most famous section of the Declaration is probably its preamble.  “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  This is not the introduction of this historic document, however.  It begins thus:

“The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

Right here, right in the very beginning of our nation’s independence, the separation of church and state is established.  The Continental Congress is basically saying that the people deserve an equal opportunity to make their own way, and to be governed by a body that is concerned largely with helping them experience this.

After the preamble, the declaration continues:  “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

It is this section right here that should be moving us to action in this modern day.  Almost a quarter of a millennium ago, they invoked the right of the people to alter or abolish their government for our own safety and happiness.  In fact, the Constitution of the United States, adopted by this newly created independent nation 13 years after its Declaration of Independence, begins with “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Do you believe that We the People are represented by our government today?  For the most part I fear the answer is no.  Our governing bodies have become insular, divided by parties with specific agendas and rigidities, and increasingly beholden to corporate entities and their money.  Maybe on the most local level of government We the People still have some empowerment, but overall I cannot see it.

We are being inundated with stories of government inaction.  Our Congress is so deeply divided that compromise has become a dirty word.  In Texas the Governor clearly wants HIS agenda alone, and will manipulate the process however he can to make it happen.  The two parties are so beholden to special interests that they can hardly be seen to do anything useful for the average American – like helping students with educational loan interest rates.  Even our Supreme Court has become so out-of-touch with reality, they have recently set the stage to turn back the clock on voting rights by decades.

And We the People are disempowered.  We have allowed fear of terrorism to grant the government unbelievable power in spying on us.  If you are a woman you are seeing constant attacks on your rights to mind your own body and health far beyond the scope of human decency in the name of politics.  And soon we will watch certain states where all those currently in power begin taking advantage of the recent Supreme Court decision, and go forward with new and unbelievable means to suppress the voters they fear will remove them from power.

Am I calling for a 2nd American Revolution?  No.  At least, not yet.  But my purpose in writing this today is to remind you of what Independence means.  When you are enjoying your day off from work, and you are spending time celebrating with friends and family and watching the fireworks displays, think on why this is a holiday.  And please consider the imminent danger our disempowerment represents to the future of our way of life, and our ability to make our own way.

I believe, and I hope not wrongly, that the silent majority is reasonable.  The silent majority still holds these truths to be self evident, that ALL are created equal.  Before I and other thinkers like me become enemies of the state, before we allow this government to continue down this dark and dangerous path, it is my hope the silent majority will end its silence.  Let’s break the cycle, demand our government return to accountability, and do right By the People, rather than by their corporate sponsors and various self-interests.

Let us reclaim our independence.

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