The Ramblings of the Titanium Don

Explorations of Conscious Reality Creation and Other Matters

Tag: politics (Page 1 of 3)

How Does Praise Empower?

Everybody likes to receive praise.

When you do a thing, and you do it well, receiving praise for it feels amazing.  It is incredibly empowering, and it serves as an affirmation of the choices you make along the way.

For whatever reason, though, our modern society eschews praise.  We have an almost surreal talent for criticism, but when it comes to praise, we seem to display something of an aversion to it.

PraiseI suspect that one of the reasons for this is because there is a backlash borne of false praise.  When we over-emphasize the celebration of mediocrity, and heap praise for simple participation, we disempower in the interest of inclusion.  We praise all, or we praise none.

Yet we are almost obsessed with criticism.  Now don’t get me wrong, there are situations where this is completely called for, like politics.  An example of where this is over-the-top is when it comes to celebrities.  There is an entire industry of media focused on what they wear, their level of fitness, whom they are dating, and so on.  Snarking at celebrities is accepted as the price they pay for being public figures.

Unfortunately, this carries over to everyone else.  People tend to criticize and comment on the people in their lives with far more negativity than positivity.  What we forget is that, while we don’t actually do these things maliciously, they impact the people around us and lower all of our frequencies.

Consciousness creates reality.  When you are focused on the flaws and negatives of the people around you, that is what you draw more of to you.  It does bounce back.  Heap criticism and comments at people, and they will be returned to you.  This, in turn, makes nobody feel terribly empowered.

Praise raises our frequencies.

Everything in the universe is based in energy.  All energy has a frequency.  Low frequencies are made of low feelings, low energy.  High frequencies are made of high feelings and high energy.  The low makes us feel bad, the high makes us feel good.

This is why praise matters.  A lot of work environments people experience involve trying to avoid criticism and disapproval, thus cultivating low vibrations and frequencies.  Avoiding getting judged by our bosses and coworkers is not empowering, and doesn’t feel good.

When we work in an environment where praise is given for jobs well done, achievements that are made, and good performance, we are empowered.  This type of environment cultivates high vibration and frequencies.  Working for reward is empowering, and feels good.

I can’t think of anyone who does not prefer to be rewarded over being penalized.  Being given an accolade feels good and empowers us to continue to perform at high energy.  When we receive penalties and judgements if we do not meet a given standard, we are disempowered, and likely to continue to find little or no satisfaction in what we do.

Is it easier to criticize than to praise?  No.  However, I think because a lot of energy was given to praising for simply participation and averageness, praise comes less easily.

Again, it’s important to look at our society.  Everywhere you look people are being criticized and judged for anything you can imagine.  While some is justifiable, like in the case of our government, much of it is not.  While the majority is not intended to be mean, it still lowers the vibrational frequencies of our energy.  Thus, we are great at making ourselves and others feel bad.

Like pretty much everything in the world, starting small can snowball.

Be aware of whether you are offering praise or judgement.

It starts with us.  How often do you wind up talking about someone you care about or love critically?  Does it come rather easily?  Is your criticism more observational than malicious?  How does it make you feel?

I love my friends and family, but I am frequently being critical of things they do.  It doesn’t come from a place of spite or intentional meanness.  I think it’s a matter of comparison to my own thought processes on a given situation.

The challenge is to be aware.  Oh, look, something else that comes down to awareness of the here-and-now.  When I am thinking about the people in my life, when I am critical of their actions, I am lowering all of our frequencies.  Ergo, it is up to me to consider this, and change my reactions consciously.

One of the best ways to do this is to find reasons and means to praise.  If I can offer praise I am raising all of our frequencies.  Praise makes everyone feel good, and when we feel good, we choose more wisely, and I believe consciously, our thoughts, feelings and actions.

Recognize false praise and constructive criticism.

Two words of caution here.  First – false praise.  Praising for mediocrity can be as disempowering as criticism.  Wow, you got out of bed this morning – good for you! is rather mocking.  This is where we lose the power praise can generate.  Praise can still be for simple things, such as you look good today or I like that shirt on you or you are raising incredible kids.

Second – constructive criticism.  This is a real thing, and can actually be empowering.  Criticism feels bad.  That pie you baked wasn’t very good makes you feel lousy.  Thank you for baking that pie.  Could I offer some flavoring suggestions? might still be awkward, but opens the door to dialogue rather than judgement.  There are times people need help to improve in some way or other.

Praise can be incredibly empowering.  When you are walking a path you have chosen for yourself, praise goes a long ways to make the journey better.  Consider how criticism and praise make you feel, be aware of how you are thinking and speaking about people around you.  Raise everyone’s frequency by offering praise.

Like I said in Positivity this week – You are amazing.  No matter if we know one another or not, I want you to know that I believe you are amazing, and can do incredible things.

What praise have you offered of late?

 

This is the three-hundred-fifteenth entry in my series. These weekly posts are ideas for, and my personal experiences with, walking along the path of life.  I share this journey as part of my desire to make a difference in this world along the way.

Thank you for joining me.  Feel free to re-blog and share.

The first year of Pathwalking, including some expanded ideas, is available here.

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Is Change Good or Bad?

Change is a good thing.

Yet this terrifies us.  Change leads to the unknown, and in our fear-based society, the unknown frightens us.

Crossing the Bridges 50I know that to some degree, this is a survival instinct.  When we lived in caves, and had a limited knowledge of anything but the immediate geography, the unknown beyond was almost unimaginable.  What kind of creatures are over that mountain?  Are there monsters in the sea?  Does that village we see smoke from contain cannibals?

Some among our ancient ancestors didn’t leave the immediate area.  But others did, they ventured out, faced the fear, changed the world they knew.  From that shift we evolved from hunter-gatherers to farmers, and change happened.

Our world evolved.  We crossed the sea, we went over the mountain, and we met the people of that village.  We swallowed our fear, we became explorers, and our world grew.

Change is how we got to our modern society.  Do you realize that a hundred years ago the idea of instantaneous global communications would have been totally unbelievable?  Because of changes in our technology, here we are.  The moment I post this it can be read anywhere in the world.

Yet deep down, the majority of us fear change.  And many of those who act as our “leaders” love to do whatever they can to exploit that fear.  They use that to maintain whatever status quo holds their so-called power.

Change happens whether you like it or not.

This is the truth.  Everything changes.  Every single day things move, shift, evolve.  This is inevitable.  It is also unavoidable.

I am at the cusp of some pretty major changes in my life.  Several matters are about to shift, ranging from my employment, to my home, to my physical, emotional and mental health.  Rather than just let these transitions happen, I am working on controlling them, and embracing them.

For example…we will be moving at the end of the fall.  While we are only moving two hours away from where we currently live, it will be the first time in over twenty years I will be relocating to a substantially different locale.  I’ll be less than an hour from a different major city than I have lived near for over two decades.

We have chosen this change.  Why?  Because transmutaion is good.  Change is growth, evolution, and opportunity.  Without these, we face stagnation.  The lack of growth can lead to staleness, like a standing pool of water, and a stagnant life can lead to enormous dissatisfaction.

Even if you are content with how things are, no matter how long they remain constant, they will still change.  A lot of this stuff is beyond our control.  How we react to it, however, is entirely up to each and every one of us.

Further, some change is unwanted.  I am going to get political here, because it is really hard not to.  Look at the effort our President is putting into obliterating everything his predecessor did.  Look at how, rather than fix the issues with the ACA, congress keeps trying to tear it down.  Millions of lives will be effected by some pretty selfish, thoughtless acts, and changes to policy.  A transition will happen, whether we want it to or not.

Accept change, or change it.

We can choose to just let this happen, or we can fight to alter matters for the better.  Marches, rallies, non-violent protests, blog posts and other actions can be implemented to change the negative to something positive.  Elections happen, and we can work on getting rid of the dead weight in congress.  We can inundate all of these so-called leaders with letters, e mails and phone calls reminding them who they work for.  We can choose how coming change will impact us.

This is true of change on every level.  Personal, political, global, even universal.  The thing is, simply resisting is not enough, we need to have a blueprint to change for the better.  We need to not fear the change is happening, but rather embrace change that we want.  We can and should resist the fear, but to move forward we need to strike out courageously towards positive tranformations.

I am looking at a lot of variation ahead of me.  There is some fear, and I need to acknowledge it, then let it go and replace it instead with confidence in myself, and setting out to create change as I want it.  I see the bridges of change before me.  Some are a little scary, you know, those rope bridges over huge chasms that look none-too-stable?  But I want to get to the change at the other side, so crossing the bridges is my only option.

Change is growth.  It is the new. This can be exciting if I choose to make it so.  That’s what lies ahead, and I am embracing change to create the life I most desire to live.

Embrace change, resist it, or cower in fear.  The choice is wholly up to me.  Embracing change is the only way to have any control of it.  What would you prefer to do?

As always, thank you for crossing the bridges with me.

 

GOAL LOG – Week 35:

Diet:  Mostly back on track, but I have not been writing it down.

Exercise:  Fencing two days, two days at the gym.

Writing:  The three blog posts were done; a blog post to my author website; editing of Harbinger was completed as well.

Meditation:  Four of seven days last week, but I did not write anything down.

Gratitude:  I did not maintain the physical log, so this was not done.

 

This is the fiftieth entry of my personal journey, the Crossing the Bridges series.  My collectively published writing can be found here.

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How does Pathwalking Help Other People?

You cannot help the world if you don’t help yourself.

Pathwalking is about seeking out your own destiny.  Walking your own path in life.  Pathwalking is about living life to the fullest, striving for the best experiences.

It can be very hard not to feel that this idea is selfish.  It is even more difficult when you see the state of the world today.  The constant deluge of information, specifically negativity, greed, and selfishness, can be disconcerting.

I try not to get political in Pathwalking, but I feel the need presently.  The so-called “Health Care” bill the US Senate has proposed is beyond horrific.  It’s the ultimate in selfish, greedy, surreal cruelty.  The ACA may be imperfect, but this “replacement” is nothing short of inhuman.  If this legislation passes, millions will needlessly suffer.

Why is this?  Because these people in power care for nobody but themselves.  I’m sorry if you find this generalization offensive, but that’s how I see this.

How come I am taking this unusual approach?  Because when we are inundated by news of unbelievable egotism, greed and indecency, it’s hard to see the line between self-care and selfishness.

Self-help is not selfish.

Doing things to take care of yourself is not selfish.  When we don’t put ourselves first, we leave ourselves with little, if anything, to give to anyone or anything else.

I understand this feeling all-too-well.  Knowing that we need to resist, to protest, to speak out against this ugliness, it feel like the self shouldn’t be a priority.  It’s even tougher when we have jobs and maybe employer health insurance and possibly even good health not to feel like we need to give more.  We have good things, shouldn’t we accept it as sufficient and keep giving more?

The simple answer is no.  If we are not completely satisfied with our own paths and self-care, we need to continue striving to help ourselves.  This works directly with the Law of Attraction, and conscious reality creation.  The more we have, the more we have to give.

I believe that it’s easy to tell the difference between self-care and selfishness.  How?  How it feels.

Self-Care is Abundance.  Selfishness is Lack.

When we take the time to live the best life we can, to be happy with who we are and what we do, we feel abundant.  We feel good, we feel positive, and when we feel that way we want to share.  That is what helping yourself with self-care feels like.  You want to give because you have more than enough.

This is not just about tangibles like time and money.  This is also about intangibles like friendship, love and support.  I share this blog because I don’t just want to find my own paths, I want to help you do the same.  If I help you in any way, I feel good about doing that.

Selfishness hoards your time, your money, your energy.  Being selfish means you feel like there is not enough.  You don’t want to share because you are afraid things will become depleted if you do.  Selfishness comes from fear, entitlement, and a feeling of insufficiency, among other places.  Selfish feels lacking, and cares for nobody else.

The ability to help others comes from abundance.

Plain and simple, you help because you have more than enough to do so.  Even if you do not have everything you need, or even want, you still feel abundant.  From that place of abundance you have the strength to give, to lend that helping hand.  That is why self-care matters.  You have to have enough for yourself to give.

If you are driving your car from one end of the country to the other, along the way you will need to fill the tank.  You can only go so far before your fuel is depleted.  This is completely true of the self, too.  When you don’t care enough for yourself, you deplete what you have, and won’t be able to give easily or joyfully to others.

Which leads to an important distinction.  Sacrifice.  Sacrifice is a lack mentality.  Why?  Because sacrificing says, “Since there is not enough, I will go without.”  If you deny your own good to do good for others, you will do less good than you desire.  If in the process of helping someone else achieve something you do not, that can build resentment.  Resentment in turn can lead to selfishness, because due to feeling lacking and previous sacrifice, now you feel a need to take for yourself and share nothing.  Hence, perpetuating lack mentality.

Compromise is not sacrifice.

Another important distinction needs to be made here.  Compromising means you accept certain conditions that may not be exactly what you want.  Yet, this is not due to feeling lack, but rather to satisfy some other condition.  For example, let’s say you and a partner agreed to sell something you jointly own.  You think the proceeds should be split 50/50, your partner believes they should get 70% of the profit.  You point out why the proceeds should be split evenly, your partner concedes only a little bit, but still believes they should get 65%.

Maybe you are right that things should be split evenly, and while you could argue and drag out matters, to keep the peace you decide to compromise, and accept.  You choose compromise because keeping the peace and being happy matters more than being right.  It might stick in your craw some, but in the end your choice will keep everyone happier.  This is also a matter of self-care, and something to consider when walking your chosen paths.

You cannot help the world if you don’t help yourself.  Self-care is not selfish, and allows you to have even more to give.  What matters of self-care have you done lately?

 

This is the two-hundred eighty-seventh entry in my series. These weekly posts are ideas for and my personal experiences with walking along the path of life.  I share this journey as part of my desire to make a difference in this world along the way.

Thank you for joining me.  Feel free to re-blog and share.

The first year of Pathwalking, including some expanded ideas, is available here.

If you enjoy Pathwalking, you may also want to read my Five Easy Steps to Change the World for the Better.

Tell Congress to Act on Our Behalf

 

Are you concerned about the actions President Trump is taking?  Do you worry about his possible conflicts of interest, and his ties to Russia, and their hacking of our electoral system?  Are you worried about the apparent instability of President Trump, and his unpredictability, utter lack of tact and decorum, and total disregard of protocol?  Are you concerned about the choices he’s made for his cabinet?

If you answered yes to ANY of these question – it is time to reach out to Congress, and demand they take action!  Call, e mail, write letters, do all of the above!  Remind them that they work for US, not the party and their special interests.  Only Congress can call for an investigation into the ethics and potential conflicts of interest.  Only Congress can either enact the 25th Amendment or begin impeachment proceedings.  Yet they have taken no actions, and thus far only have worked in pursuit of their limited agenda, not doing their job as a check and balance of our governmental power.  The longer they wait to do so the more Mr. Trump can corrupt, disrupt and defy our representative democracy, and erode our republic.

The time has come to remind Congress, both the House of Representatives and the Senate, that they work for US.  We, the People.  The parties are not who they serve, the investors and financiers who fund their campaigns are not their true constituents – WE ARE.  Let’s inundate them with phone calls, e mails and letters reminding them that they serve US, not their self-interests, and we DEMAND that they do their JOBS, and act as a check and restore balance to our government.

Let’s do this!  Feel free to share this call to action.

Some thoughts on True Things

Truth.  Most of you reading this know it already.  Those who most need to see this, to fundamentally understand it for what it is, probably won’t.  And even if they did, they would likely dismiss this as liberal bullshit, or some such.

Mexicans are not pouring across our border as though the dam is broken.  Not by any stretch of the imagination.  Illegal immigrants are not everywhere, and taking your jobs!  This is simply a great big lie.

Refugees are not hiding secret ISIS operatives.  They are fleeing from destruction, murder and worse at the hands of ISIS and their ilk, they are not the problem.

Islam is not so different from Christianity.  The extremists are a very, very small percentage of what makes up Islamic practitioners, and are in no way representative of the religion.  Lumping them all together is a completely false equivalency.

There is no war on Christianity.  I repeat, there is NO war on Christianity.  What there has been is a broader understanding that we are NOT, nor have we ever been, a Christian nation.  That is why saying “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas” has become prevalent – we are acknowledging there are others with different sensibilities out there.

Climate Change is a real, scientifically proven issue.  If we do nothing to arrest it or otherwise impact it, the planet will become increasingly toxic to us, and we will find it harder and harder to survive.  This is not some liberal lie to increase unnecessary regulations, it is the truth about how we have artificially effected the planet since the industrial revolution.

Non-straight people are no threat to anyone.  Sexual orientation and gender identification do not make a person good or bad.  These identifiers are harmful to none, and anyone who identifies as queer, gay, bi, transgendered or what-have-you should not be subject to discrimination on the basis of that.  Period.

President Trump is dangerous to the world order.  He will not make America great again, he will make us a third rate power.  He will make us a laughing-stock, a has-been, an also-ran.  We are in danger of losing our sovereignty over his outright lies and disregard for protocol, tact, and civility.

America is NOT a White nation.  We never were, we never will be.  We are a melting pot of diversity, or at least that’s what we should be.  We have every race, creed, color, religion, and so on represented in our national identity.  And remember, with the exception of the Native American tribes, we are ALL immigrants here.

Civility, kindness, compassion, understanding…what happened?  When did it become ok to be an asshole?  When did we let go of loving our neighbors, looking out for our brothers and sisters, and trying to help one another?  This is not what we should ever be about.  We should be trying to help each other be better people, not divide ourselves so that a small group of people can maintain a choke hold on power.

Consider that.  All of this is the truth.

An old-fashioned letter-writing campaign

One non-violent action we can ALL take:

We KNOW that Congress is going to repeal the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare).  I have never understood why, except that it was an Obama idea and thus an affront for whatever reason.

I know a LOT of people who benefit from any number of provisions of the ACA, and who are far too likely to suffer if it is taken away.  There are even more people I DON’T know that will be hurt by this action.

Frequently, we all talk about how clear it is that Congress is completely out-of-touch with We, The People.

So I thought, hey, here’s something we can do – an old fashioned LETTER WRITING campaign.  Maybe if we inundate them with what WE want and need, maybe, just maybe, they will see that representing us should be a higher priority than it obviously is.

I have taken the liberty of writing the following letter.  Feel free to take this and edit it as you see fit:

 

Dear (Congressman/woman)(Senator) *insert name here*,

I understand that you wish to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA, aka Obamacare).

I recognize that the ACA is imperfect, but if you really, truly serve the people you claim to represent, how can you support taking away insurance from millions of Americans, many of whom are your constituents, without offering them an alternative?  If you do so, are you instead offering us an affordable alternative that continues to ignore pre-existing conditions and provides care for everyone?

You have been elected to serve the people of your District, and beyond that to represent the United States of America.  Taking away individual rights and denying your people their rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness by making a necessity such as health care unreachable should seem counter to serving your country.

Please, if you truly care about the country and the people that you serve, do not simply repeal the ACA and leave millions suffering.  Please serve in your position to help your people, and either give us something better or leave the ACA alone until such time as you come up with an alternative.

Please show your people that you serve them, and their interests.  Without our health we have little else, so rather than eliminating something that helps people and betters the standing of our nation, keep it until you can change it for something better.

The people of the United States deserve decent, affordable health care, no matter their finances, gender or religious beliefs.  Please consider the lives your vote to repeal the ACA could destroy before you vote to repeal it.  Please consider how many people are struggling to make ends meet, how American was built on neighbor helping neighbor, and please do your part for the people you are supposed to serve, to help us all live better lives.

Thank you.

 

Respectfully,

A concerned constituent

 

We can’t just e mail this – we need to MAIL these.  Not a few, a LOT.  Like, LOTS, and LOTS, AND LOTS of letters.  Pile this on and show them how their actions (and for that matter inactions) affect us all.

To that end, let me offer the following assistance:

Senators who voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act in January, 2017

http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=115&session=1&vote=00026

Congressmen/Congresswomen who voted to repeal Obamacare in February, 2016:

http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2016/roll053.xml

Because the above gives names but not their states, here’s how to find your member of the House of Representatives:

http://www.house.gov/

Wait a sec, you may be thinking.  There was just an election.  Aren’t at least SOME of these people gone?  Most likely – SO – here’s the next Congress, according to Wikipedia (so could be somewhat inaccurate):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/115th_United_States_Congress

Wikipedia DOES offer links to all of the members of congress, but I think this site may be a tad easier for seeking who YOUR reps are:

https://www.nationalpriorities.org/take-action/contact-your-representative/

Additionally, the above site suggested how to address our Members of Congress:

For Senators

The Honorable (Full Name)
[Room #] [Building Name] Senate Office Building
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

For Representatives

The Honorable (Full Name)
[Room #] [Building Name] House Office Building
United States House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

When writing to the Chair of a Committee or the Speaker of the House, it is appropriate to begin letters with “Dear Mr./Madam Chairman/woman” or “Dear Mr./Madam Speaker.”

 

This may be crazy, but it is a non-violent, practical means to an end.  E mails are easier to ignore than physical letters, so let’s inundate them with the message that they cannot just take away health insurance for MILLIONS without offering a comparable replacement.

Please share this with EVERYONE, and encourage everyone you know to either use my template above or write their own letter.  I know this is hokey, but that makes it no less practical.  Let’s all do it, ASAP.  Tons and tons of letters.  Maybe if they really SEE how many people this is important to, maybe they will reconsider if they are working FOR us, or AGAINST us.

Thank you.

Thoughts on the results of this election

What happens next?

Accept what has happened, go passive and wait to see what happens next?  No.  It is because we have been too passive that the bigots, the racists, misogynists and homophobes now feel empowered.  Every time they march, we need to counter-march.  Every time they spew hate, we need to spew reason and love.  Because we were passive they think they now have a voice.  We can no longer be passive, we need to take the fight right to them, and get in their faces just as much as they have gotten in ours.

There are people we cannot reach.  They will shout down all reason, spouting platitudes from a lack of research and knowledge.  But further isolating them and allowing them to shout unanswered will not do anything.  They think that by repeatedly spouting their hate and their closed-mindedness we’ll roll over for them…but no, we need to calmly reply until they go hoarse and cannot speak but listen.  We need to show them that hate is not greater than reason.

Assume the worst?  No.  Look, Trump used deplorable means to win, but now that he has it IS possible he will not be the worst.  I am not saying we can be passive here, either…and we need to REALLY keep our eye on Congress…but before we climb into our bunkers and prepare for the end, let’s work to change the conversation.

We have TWO YEARS to change Congress.  THEY are the lawmakers.  They are the ones who will take away the hard-earned rights of the people we love, the health insurance we desperately need, and harm the environment in the name of the almighty dollar.  We need to find people NOW we can put out there, who can raise the funds needed to compete and who actually represent change.  We need to start that ball rolling IMMEDIATELY if we want to take back control from these spineless politicians who care for nothing but their power.

Be active, not passive, in your actions.  I know this could get risky, the armed and ignorant may get violent, but we need to stand up to the bullies and show them THEY are the minority, and they may be loud, but they are few, and they cannot disempower us.

I am a white cis male (and being Jewish in this situation seems not to make me part of the targeted).  I will stand with and for ALL of my friends, no matter skin color, religion, gender, sexual preference, etc.  I will stand by your side and support you in whatever ways I can.

An open letter to fellow Americans

Dear America,

When did we accept hatred as the standard?  When did we decide that after almost a century of progress it was perfectly ok to allow unrestrained racists, sexists, bigots, misogynists, warmongers and fearmongers to be our leaders again?  When did we decide that it was better to praise and follow the blindly faithful and ignorant rather than the logical and intelligent?

How did we get to this place where our choices for leadership from one party includes a zealot and a narcissist and the other side is a corporate shill and an idealist?

The one side became polarized over the past 30 years or so because they allowed special interests, religious fanatics and closeted bigots gain control.  And they wonder why they cannot stop this monster Dr. Frankenstein has unleashed on us?

The other side became polarized over the past 30 years or so because they allowed special interests, a lack of conviction and an unclear agenda gain control.  And they wonder why so many distrust the party leaderships’ Chosen One and prefer the idealist?

Do you want this country to return to segregation, to the failed principles of separate but equal?  Do you want the corporate bosses to be your slave masters again?  Do you really want to see those who are poor and disabled and hurting simply left to die?  Do you want to allow the greedy to destroy this planet so they can turn ludicrous profits that never trickle down to anyone else?  Do you want to live your life in fear?

This is what you have to take into consideration when it comes to the election this year.  I am not just talking about the Presidency, I am talking about ALL of those up for reelection.  Congress has become an obstructionist mouthpiece of those who pay for their elections.  Special interests and corporate hacks have taken control, and they will not stop until the rich are so rich that they can afford to leave the planet they are destroying, while the rest of us let them take everything we hold dear and wonder where it all went wrong.

Fear is not a healthy basis for a system of government.  Hate, exclusionism, greed, racism, bigotry, misogyny and sexism are all just alternate versions of fear.  Fear enslaves us to the will of others, and those who have the power continue to make it clear that they want only to garner more power.

Please stop being afraid, America.  Please stop fearing change, stop fearing the unknown, stop being afraid of anyone and anything different from you.  Please remember that our Declaration of Independence that was the blueprint for the forming of this nation says,  “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.”

America is not a land of Christians only.  It is not a land of Whites only. America is not a land of men only.  It is not a land of rich only.  It is NOT a nation of exclusion – American was founded on the principles of inclusion.

Building walls to keep out those who are different is not American.  Creating laws that forbid marriage is not American.  Creating laws that belittle ANY citizen, black or white, man or woman, gay or straight, religious or atheist is NOT American.  We are a nation of tolerance, we are a nation of freedom, we are a nation of inclusion…and it is time that we reclaim that.

Please release the fear, America.  Isolating ourselves, registering those who hold different beliefs and limiting resources for only the wealthy is what this nation was founded to stand against.  What we choose this year will reverberate very differently from our past choices.  We can reclaim our nation from the greedy, from the special interests, from those who don’t care about us but only about themselves…or we can give them even more power, and disempower ourselves and let America truly cease to be great.

Fear is not the answer.  Fear is un-American.  Please, please examine this and consider if you want to empower the people who only take, and are giving nothing back to you but fear, death, poverty, and war.

Is being American about being afraid?  No.

Please stop being afraid, America.  For the sake of us all, for the sake of our children, do not let fear make your decision in these elections.

With Respect,

A concerned American.

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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