Nobody wants to be called Common People, especially common people.” – Will Rogers, 21 June 1925
Let’s face it, no one likes to think that they are common. We all like to see ourselves as different from everyone else. As teenagers we spend an inordinate amount to time to make ourselves different. So much so that teenagers all end up being pretty common.
About the worst insult you can give anyone is to call them common. Many of us refuse to believe in statistical analysis that can show in advance what we think or who we will vote for. If we are that predictable then we must be pretty common.
But we all have to eventually face the fact that outside our immediate families there is very little about most of us that will remain after we are gone. Our thoughts and actions will pretty much be thrown on the trash heap of time.
Will thought of himself as a pretty common guy and therefore didn’t get the “big head” very often but he is one of the few who actually outlived his body being six foot under. His words and inspirations will live on because of that fact. So maybe the answer to all this gibberish is to not get too upset about being called common. Who knows who the next Will Roger might be? Who will be the next guy that has much wisdom beyond his share?
But I am just a common guy so what do I know.
“We are just here for a spell and pass on. . . so get a few laughs, do the best you can. . . Live your life so that whenever you lose, you are ahead – Will Rogers, 5 July 1931
Since I have been trying to chill out more lately I have been going back to a source of mental stability in my life and that is the words of Will Rogers. The words above should be the bible for all of us who want to know what is really important to do with your life.
I am an altruist and being one much of my life is now centered about others who have much bigger challenges than I do. I think that is a pretty noble thing to focus on in life and I am trying hard to do just that. But that doesn’t mean that you have to throw your personal happiness out the window to accomplish it. In reality you got to take care of yourself too or you are no good to anyone.
As Will says, in the general scheme of things we are all only here on this earth for a short spell and then we pass on as all of our ancestors have. While we are here we need to get a few laughs in life. Many of those laughs should be focused back on ourselves. It is healthy to often laugh at ourselves. It keeps us from being so self-centered and that is also a very important lesson to learn.
Doing the best you can is all anyone could ask of you. In order to do our best we must do the work to make that happen. I know it might be easier to just veg out in front of the TV or computer screen but if we really want to do our best we must work at it. That means learning about history so we don’t make the same mistakes our parents and grand parents did. That means we got to do the work necessary to be a productive member of society. Getting a proper education is critical to that. If only all of us did the best we can, can you even imagine how much greater this world would be?
I take Will’s last words here to mean live a life of simplicity. You might have a different take on them but that is what they say to me right now. He tells me not to get hung up on the material things in life. They just aren’t that important. As a matter of fact losing many of our most valued treasures might actually be a good thing in the overall scheme of a fulfilling life. Keep your life simple and you will be happy. Don’t worry about the stuff you don’t have or the stuff your neighbor has, or the stuff you might lose. That as Will says is just applesauce.
Thanks Will for helping me to keep my life on an even keel and to know what is really important.
“Hunt out and talk about the good that is in the other fellow’s church, not the bad, and you will do away with all this religious hatred you hear so much nowadays.” – Will Rogers, 11 March 1923
This quote from Will definitely applies to the churches in the U.S. but it equally applies to many other things that are problematic in our country today. As I commonly state on my other blog over at RedLetterLiving.net there are currently more than 39,000 different versions of the Christian church in the world. Most are the result of splits around different beliefs about this or that. We seem to always be looking at why we should be different and split rather than what we have in common. If we only took Will’s words to heart I think the number would be vastly different.
The political parties in this country have now devolved into hatred for each other over our differences. We can no longer seem to come together for what we find good in ourselves. We no longer seem to be able to compromise. Much of this division is totally unnecessary if only we would swallow a little of our pride in believing that we are the only ones who have it right about this or that.
I have found that sometimes it is better to just say “I know this is not the way I would have done (fill in the subject) but that’s ok. Not everything in life has to go totally our way in order for us to be happy. When we insist on that happening then we most assuredly doom ourselves to frustration and constant bickering. That is not a way to live during our brief time on this earth.
“This country is a thousand times bigger than any two men in it, or any two parties in it.” – Will Rogers, 2 November 1932
I seem to often get ground down by the politics of the day. Especially with all the gridlock and bickering that is always there. Thanks Will for reminding me that the country is a thousand times bigger than all those ornery folks in Washington or the two parties that now occupy space there.
Outside the Washington beltway and several State houses there is still a lot of good going on in this country and lets never forget it. As Will says “Politics is applesauce”.
“The minute a thing is long and complicated it confuses. Whoever wrote the Ten Commandments made ‘em short. They may not always be kept, but they can be understood.” – Will Rogers, 17 March 1935
What is even more amazing it that Jesus turned those ten into just two. Love God and Love each other. How could it be simpler than that.
I never behold the heavens filled with stars that I do not feel I am looking in the face of God. I can see how it might be possible for a man to look down upon the earth and be an atheist. but I cannot conceive how he could lie looking up into the heavens and say there is no God.
When any church will inscribe over its altar, as its sole qualification for membership, the Saviour’s condensed statement of the substance of both law and Gospel. “‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul and thy neighbor as thyself.” that church will I join with all my heart and all my soul.
I have scores of books of quotations from many different people but one of them that I enjoy the most, besides Will Rogers of course , is Abraham Lincoln. He had a way of being able to find just the right words to say something simply but in the most meaningful way. The above quotes are a glowing example.
I was a moody kid growing up. I was much too serious for my young age. In that regard I used to spend hours looking up at the sky at night. It was a wondrous sight to behold. It seems I remember that there were many more stars visible in my early years than now. Could that be because of childhood perceptions or maybe increased air pollution? That is beyond the topic of this post so I will leave it unanswered.
In my studies of Jesus and religion I have come to very much agree with Lincoln’s second quote here. The very core of the message of Jesus is to love God with all your heart and to love each other. Unfortunately it seems to be lost, or at least vastly shrunken in importance, in many of today’s churches. It is nice to know that Abe believed this long before I did.
By the way, I am still looking for that church at puts others ahead of their membership…..
“There is nothing that sets a nation back as far in civilization as prosperity.” – Will Rogers, 2 April 1933
Yeah Will, prosperity does seem to bring out the animal in many of us. Just look at the Robber Barons of the early 20th century for evidence of that. Heck, you don’t even have to look that far back, just look at the 1%ers now who will do just about anything to maintain their wealth. Prosperity brings out the best in a few but the worst in others.
“…elections are a good deal like marriages, there is just no accounting for anyone’s taste.” – Will Rogers, 10 May 1926
You got that right Will. Of course when you made this quote Calvin Coolidge was president Hoover was just around the corner to replace him. I guess you were a pretty good predictor of the future. I had the very same thoughts in November 2004 when Mr. Bush was given a second term. I couldn’t understand the taste of the electorate that year.
“It takes a long time to find out how wrong you are sometimes.” – Will Rogers, 8 August 1933
I’m not sure why what Will declares here is true but I think it has something to do with our stubbornness. Once we get locked into a particular idea it is just so hard to admit that we might have been wrong to start with. I know it took the radical stands of Ronald Reagan for me to finally admit that I belonged to the wrong political party if I belonged to any party at all.
I know everyone who is a member of the human species takes a long time to find out how wrong we are but I kind of think this is more dominant with us in the U.S. than it is with most others. We strut around the world telling everyone else what is wrong with their way of thinking and then sending in our military if they don’t agree. As the Bible says we need to take the plank out of our own eyes first.
Sometimes we totally ignore how wrong we might be and never get around to admitting it. I kind of knew even in the beginning that I was probably in the wrong profession when I started out my engineering career so many years ago. I ignored what I knew was probably wrong for thirty years. It is not that I didn’t have some fun and made some contributions in the profession I ended up in. It is just that I now know I have gifts that were unfulfilled. Now I am trying to make up for those years when I should have been doing something else. But that is life I guess, better late than never…..
“This is a great country. You never know where our heroes will come from.” – Will Rogers, 7 June 1933
One of the great things about this country is that anyone who is fortunately enough to have just the right circumstances come about can be a hero for future generations. Many have sports heroes who they admire for their ability to do a particular thing like putting a ball into a hole, hitting it with a stick, throwing it to a teammate. I can’t say that any of those qualities make someone a hero to me. But to each his own when it comes to heroes.
My heroes are more of the intellectual or humanitarian nature. Obviously, to anyone who has read much of this post knows that Will Rogers, Thomas Jefferson, Woodrow Wilson, John Steinbeck, and Gandhi are among my heroes. This group range across the spectrum as far as wealth and influence go. Some came from poverty, some from privileged classes. Most just went about their daily business with other people’s welfare in mind. Those are my kind of heroes.
I, like many others, have become a big fan of the british TV series entitled “Downton Abbey”. It is a story about an early twentieth century aristocratic family and all the “commoners” who served them. The intertwining of all their lives is what makes the show endearing. I must admit that I am an antagonist when it comes to a privileged classes especially inherited wealth. So, it somewhat surprised me to be attracted to this show.
Even up until recently many of the countries in Europe were very class oriented. That is if you were born into a particular class that is where you stayed for your life. Moving outside of your class was just unheard of in those days. I’m sure this continues to some extent even today but I think it is quickly disappearing; at least I hope it is.
The United States is a country that has always been about opportunity for all. Anyone can go as far as their drive, ambition, and intellect allow them. That is what makes this country great. I am troubled by the current trends toward aristocracy in this country that is taking place due to inherited wealth. The top one-percent of the population control a very large percentage of the wealth of the country. This troubles me greatly some times.
“[War] won’t stop till there is as much brains and scientific study put to aid peace as there is to promote war.” – Will Rogers, 1 June 1929
Of course these words were spoken not long after World War I which was inaptly titled the “war to end all wars”. Of course it didn’t accomplish that noble task. President Wilson tried his best to put together the United Nations to insure no more world wars but like these times there was just too much Republican bravado going on to prevent that from happening.
I wonder what the world would be like today if he had managed to assemble a world organization with some teeth to collectively deal with rogue nations such as North Korea or Iran. If that had happened maybe we would have some money to spend on how to aid peace. Sadly we will never know as that was like so many other things a missed opportunity.
I have ever deemed it fundamental for the United States never to take active part in the quarrels of Europe. Their political interests are entirely distinct from ours. Their mutual jealousies, their balance of power, their complicated alliances, their forms and principles of government, are all foreign toys. They are nations of eternal war. — Thomas Jefferson –Letter, 11 June 1823 to President James Monroe
Even though the words of above were penned over two hundred years ago I believe they are just as valid today as they were then. The only difference is maybe I would now add the Middle and Far East to the list. One of the major things that has gotten us into so much trouble and cost us so many or our children’s lives is our getting into the quarrels of other nations. We just can’t seem to mind our own business. We have replaced the nations of Europe with our mutual jealousies, our balance of power, our complicated alliances such that our original reason for founding this country have been lost to us. We seem to now be a nation of eternal war…..
Fear less, hope more; eat less, chew more; whine less, breathe more; talk less, say more; hate less, love more; and all good things are yours. -Swedish proverb
I don’t know many Swedes I guess so I don’t know if any of them actually live by this proverb. I briefly had a Norwegian roommate in college and he definitely liked to party with his friends. I can’t imagine another proverb that has so many lessons of life in it. I wonder where it came from.
Of course all of us Christians know about the Book of Proverbs in the Bible. There is a lot of wisdom in those words, or at least in some of them. But some are downright scary. What is a proverb? Here is what Wikipedia says about that:
A proverb (from Latin: proverbium) is a simple and concrete saying popularly known and repeated, which expresses a truth, based on common sense or the practical experience of humanity. They are often metaphorical. A proverb that describes a basic rule of conduct may also be known as a maxim. Proverbs are often borrowed from similar languages and cultures, and sometimes come down to the present through more than one language.
I guess I will have to do some studying on American proverbs. About the only one that comes to mind right now is “A bird in had is worth two in the bush”. But as far as proverbs go I think I like the Swedish one better. Fear, gluttony, whining, complaining, hating seem so endemic in our society today that maybe we should hijack the proverb above and try to put it in action.
When we start out trying to make everybody have Moral elections, why, it just dont look like we going to have Marines enough to go round.” – Will Rogers, 26 May 1928
After Mr. Bush discovered that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq he turned on a dime to say that he invaded Iraq so that the people would have moral elections. It looks like that argument is older than I thought as here is Will’s quote from eighty-five years ago saying the same thing. We didn’t have enough Marines this time around either. He ended up sending every able-bodied person he could find including those who are supposed to be guarding our nation. Those weren’t even enough so he hired “private contractors” at several times the Marine wage to do some of the necessary killing for him.
And look where that all got us. We have an extra trillion dollars of debt, thousands of kids with missing limbs and still no moral elections in Iraq. Just the same old sectarian fighting and violence as before. When will we ever learn to keep our noses out of other countries business.
This is a continuation about Jefferson and religion. As stated before, there are many especially in evangelical circles that say that Jefferson meant for our country to be founded on Christian principles. My posts on the blog are to show that although Jefferson was a follower of Jesus Christ at one level he was by no means saying the U.S. should be a Christian nation. In fact much of his writing said exactly the opposite. Here are some of his words about Christian clergy:
They [the clergy] believe that any portion of power confided to me, will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly; for I have sworn upon the altar of god, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. But this is all they have to fear from me: and enough, too, in their opinion. -Thomas Jefferson to Dr. Benjamin Rush, Sept. 23, 1800
History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes. -Thomas Jefferson to Alexander von Humboldt, Dec. 6, 1813.
In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own. -Thomas Jefferson, letter to Horatio G. Spafford, March 17, 1814
My opinion is that there would never have been an infidel, if there had never been a priest. The artificial structures they have built on the purest of all moral systems, for the purpose of deriving from it pence and power, revolts those who think for themselves, and who read in that system only what is really there. -Thomas Jefferson, letter to Mrs. Samuel H. Smith, August, 6, 1816
It seems quite obvious from all these quotes that Jefferson did not trust the motives of the church of his times and from my studies I don’t think much has changed since those times. The man-made nature of the church often is polluted by the power structures of the times. This started in the fourth century when the Roman emperor Constantine hi-jacked the Christian church and made it a mandated religion. The structure of the church has been damaged since even that time.
While I don’t hold as adamant a view of the clergy that Jefferson did I can understand the logic he uses in his correspondence. I think this will conclude my discussions about Jefferson and religion. Next time I address the topic of Thomas Jefferson it will be on a different topic. I don’t believe that there is a person who has read my posts or other information about Jefferson and the church can continue to espouse that Jefferson, or any of the other founders for that matter, intended the U.S. to be a Christian nation. As Jefferson said the morality of Jesus was sound but the practice of religion is not.
No slick lawyers, or income tax experts can get you out of a national sales tax. It’s so much on the dollar on every luxury you buy. Then, if you like to live in luxury, the poor fellow knows you are paying for it and he will even encourage you to buy more so it will help out the government. November 2, 1924 Will Rogers
This morning’s post was about closing tax loopholes so I thought I would continue with that thread this afternoon. I am one that believe that a significant amount of our taxes should be raised with a national sales tax. As Will says in the above post it will almost assure the “poor fellow knows you are paying for it”. That is if we can keep the friends of the rich otherwise known as the “Grand Old Party” from filling the sales tax with giant loopholes for planes and such. And that is a giant “if”.
I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones. -Albert Einstein
When I came across this Einstein quote it almost made me shudder. Even though I have heard it before it struck me this time. We are advancing technologically at an astounding pace in recent years. Integrated circuits are in just about every device we now buy. Artificial intelligence is being used for so many things today. Unfortunately because the Pentagon budgets take the biggest bite out of our discretionary spend technology is at the forefront in our ability to kill those we currently don’t like for one reason or another.
Our killing machines are becoming so advanced that we can now kill thousands of times more of the “enemy” than we could even fifty years ago. With all this in mind I know that Albert was saying that our next world war would likely destroy worldwide civilizations such that the one after that would be amongst the few survivors that are left.
We seem to alway have an enemy that we want to destroy. In the past it has been the dreaded communists. In the present it is those who have a radicalized view of their religion. For one reason or another we have been at war with each other throughout our history. Do we stand a chance of not having a World War III? I just don’t know but I selfishly don’t want to be around when or if it happens as it will likely truly be the “was to end all wars”.
Thanks Albert for bringing this to our attention. I only pray that I am not the only one to shudder at the possibility of your words…
I wish I knew who originally penned these words. They are inspiring indeed.
But always remember this, that as bad as we sometimes think our government is run, it’s the best run one I ever saw.” – Will Rogers, 18 December 1932
Sometimes the ever-present trollers who come across my blog have to scream and rant for me to just get out of the country if I hate it so much. To them if anyone has any criticism of the “Good Old USA” then somehow they are traitors to the country. But their rants often have the opposite effect on me. They tell me that I got their attention with what I was saying and I must have hit a nerve as they took the time to rant.
I guess there are others who don’t feel comfortable saying anything negative about their country. To them that just seems unpatriotic or at least not loving your country. I look at it the other way around. In order to keep our government on a righteous path we citizens need to constantly be on the guard against corruption and graft. In order to make the country better for future generations we need to criticize where criticism is needed. We need to make sure that the people who we choose as our leaders are the best possible and have high moral standards that we constantly measure them against.
So, even though you might see me criticize often on this blog I , like Will, think it is the best run country on earth and I can’t imagine living anywhere else. But, then again I probably don’t say enough good things about this country. Maybe I should do that more often…..
Here is a quick question for you. How did Central and South America get the name “Latin America”??
This popped off the top of my head while watching the news recently. At first thought I came up with Latin was the language of the Roman Empire which was based in Italy. But I don’t remember any country in South America being founded by Italy.
Here is what Wikipedia says about the origin of the term “Latin America”:
In a more literal definition, which remains faithful to the original usage, Latin America designates all of those countries and territories in the Americas where a Romance language (i.e., languages derived from Latin, and hence the name of the region) is spoken: Spanish, Portuguese, and French, and the creole languages based upon these. Strictly considering this definition, Quebec, in Canada, is part of Latin America as well. But this region is rarely considered so, since its history, distinctive culture and economy, and British-inspired political institutions are generally deemed too closely intertwined with the rest of Canada.