Letting Others Think For Us..

All of this conflicting rhetoric and division has many of us worried about the fate of our country but from the new “Quote of the Day” at the top of this blog, it sounds like that letting others think for us just might be the norm.

I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America.  –Alexis de Tocqueville 1835

2017-02-25_09-04-23.pngAlexis de Tocqueville who wrote the now infamous book “Democracy In America” was a Frenchman who traveled our country in 1835 trying to understand what made America what it was. His book is a must-read for anyone serious about understanding our country. I only recently came across this quote and it kind of surprised me to see that so many let others think for them even in his time.

I guess that is what leadership is for, to tell others what they are to believe! Of course, there are two camps in the regard today and neither one of them have the necessary leaders to give us real wisdom. They are just too busy fighting each other and contending with in-fighting in their own party to see the overall picture of our possible futures.

One party is determined to shut down almost all government responsibilities and the other is too busy trying to protect our minorities to be concerned about the rest of us.  Given these states of mind, true wisdom is completely missing from today’s dialog. How long can we exist in this current state is hard to say, but given the quote above it is not the first time we have been in this boat.. maybe it is just who we really are?

Congressional Pensions??

2016-08-29_15-51-30.pngWhen our founders set up our government their intention was that its citizens would come to the nation’s capital for a period of time  to contribute to the running of the people’s business and would then return to their normal lives.  Of course that is not what is happening today. There are way too many people  in our congress who are now collecting very lucrative pensions even after even relatively short terms in congress. There are those like Strom Thurmond, who have been there for decades and seem to want to die in office. John McCain first comes to mind in this category.

One of the major problems with this current mode of doing business, or more appropriately not doing business, is that the common good of the nation is forgotten in the process. Our representatives primary goal is to do everything possible to stay in office. The money needed to do that is what causes most of our problems.

The gridlock that we find ourselves in today is primarily due to two causes: unlimited terms in office and the gerrymandering that makes it possible.  When it seems that there are so many around that are very upset with the current political situation, I am really somewhat hopeful. If the GOP is decisively defeated in the coming election I am hoping that will cause a primary shift in the way all those yahoos think inside the beltway. They will finally understand that creating gridlock will not keep them in office.

With that renewed sanity, some there just might take a step back and look at the bigger picture. The party that is able to do that the most successfully will have the best chances of survival. No longer will the party over principles rule the day as seems so endemic today.  The second thing that then needs to be accomplished is for the Supreme Court to declare gerrymandering to be unconstitutional. Then it is up to us, as citizens, demand term limits similar to what was instituted for the president more than a half century ago. If more than eight years is too long for a president it should also be too long for members of congress.

The second shoe that will drop with term limits is to eliminate congressional pensions. No one will be around long enough to need them. Representing the people will finally be considered a limited time privilege and not an occupation as the inventors of our form of government intended.

I am a dreamer aren’t I????

It often takes some catastrophic event to cause paradigm shifts in how we do things. I am hoping that will be the case in the coming months and years.  WE simply can’t continue down the current road if we hope to survive as a nation.

Never Just One Source…

Will Rogers is perhaps my primary hero in life. He is the reason I started up blogging  ten years ago and still today I try to follow his philosophy  when blogging here at RJsCorner.

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From Will’s Facebook page
Like Will I can tell from a mile away those folks who only watch Fox News for all their info about the political world. Their obsession with fear of almost everything shows through in much of what they do.

Like Will I try to think for myself but I don’t make up facts to align with my worldview. Common sense can explain much of the world today but it seems that so many of the pundits at Fox News and most of the others for that matter don’t have much of it.  When our news sources turned from an information providing public service to  for-profit institutions what sells the most is what is important to them. Giving balanced “reports” of the day has been long since abandoned.

There is just not enough people with common sense around anymore..

Even though you died several years before I was born I miss you Will and will try to carry on your tradition here at RJsCorner…

Risk Taking…

2016-03-06_09-29-51.pngThere is a big portion of our population who are just risk averse. They shutter at the very idea of risk or almost any other change for that matter.  Risk to them is to be avoided at all costs.  Most of these risk averse people are conservative in nature and politics.

When I was in the corporate world I worked for such a company. They stated “We want you to take risks but just don’t ever fail!” I could never understand how they could not see the absurdity of that statement?

Trying something  new is basically going against the grain of common day knowledge. Risk taking is the fodder of innovation in the the world and it is equally important in each of our personal lives.  Doing what is always comfortable is soothing to some but it almost always leads to stagnation. Making mistakes is just part of life, it is part of living. To learn from those mistakes is what life is all about.

If you never fail then you really aren’t taking any risks….

I’m Dreaming About … Folk Music

I guess you could say that folk music is an acquired taste and it seems to have fallen out of favor these days. In my earlier hearing years I almost lived and breathed folk music.  One of the original founders of that music genre was Woody Guthrie and one of my favorite museums is the Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa OK. The museum is small but packed with the archive of all his music.

Woody Guthrie-2.jpg

 

His most famous song “This Land Is Your Land” should be our national anthem. It relates more to the character of America than a naval battle some one hundred fifty years ago.

About Our Heroes…

Jefferson.jpg

Jefferson-2.jpgWe all have heroes that we admire in life. They have done some extraordinary things to merit our attention. One of my heroes is Thomas Jefferson. The words he penned during his life had a very distinct effect on how our country was formed. One of those things was his “abomination” for slavery. He knew it was a major flaw in his world. BUT…

While Jefferson was appalled by slavery it did not reflect into actions. As the sign found in Monticello says he had 110 slaves on his estate and only freed two in his lifetime. He just didn’t seem to practice what he preached. Does that take away from the ideals he put into our public documents?  Of course it does, but it doesn’t destroy them.

If we dig deep enough all of us have our dark sides.

Being A Hero…

Will Rogers 6This thing about being a hero, about the main thing to it is to know when to die. Prolonged life has ruined more men than it ever made.

Will Rogers July 1928

I have been avoiding one of my heroes of late and that is a shame. Will Rogers has as much to teach us in the 21st century as he did almost a hundred years ago.

I’m not much of a sports guy but from what I can get from it there are too many heroes that just don’t know when to hang up their cleats or whatever they use.  They are really great at doing that one thing but then when their abilities wain many just seem hang on.  I know that Green Bay quarterback was a recent example. He just didn’t know when to take his millions and retire to something else.

Mark Twain was another guy that didn’t know how to exit stage left as old show people used to say. He wrote some books that were pretty famous (I didn’t personally care for them but so what), then as he got older he became extremely cynical about almost everything.  It ruined his persona as a literary hero to many.

I never really did much in my life to gain much attention. I helped invent the Trimline telephone and worked on several other things in that area but all have long since disappeared. I built quite a few painted country cabinets that are family heirlooms to those who bought them but that is a pretty limited crowd and of course I have been blogging for seven years now. I don’t have much of a legacy to tarnish in my old age.  So I can think and say pretty much whatever I want on RJsCorner and nothing much is damaged.

I know some of my heroes are tarnished by their actions. Cosby is one of the more recent ones.  I didn’t get married until I was almost 40 years of age and I used to say that everything I knew about marriage I learned from Cosby.  Of course I don’t say that anymore as it has now taken on a completely different persona.  Instead of being on my hero list Cosby is not occupying the black list.

Another hero was Henry Ford, he practically invented the middle class in America by paying his employees their share of the gains they produced. Without him and the processes he invented the 1950s and 60s would have been quite different place from the one I grew up in.  But then their is his racist stands in life. Every hero seems to have  a dark side.

In some ways its kind of nice to not to have to live up to a hero status. No one expects much from me, an unknown old and deaf guy so I don’t have much of an ability to disappoint anyone. I can pretty much say whatever I want and it doesn’t matter much. But I like to think that I am of my hero Will Rogers genre. I try to always treat everyone one with the respect they deserve.  Even here on RJ’sCorner…

Strengthening marriage?

2015-12-07_08-04-56A lot of Americans believe quite deeply that many of our societal and economic ills can be traced back to the crumbling institution of marriage. But even if you take that as an article of faith, “fixing” marriage is a problem with no ready solution….

Source:  Can America really ‘strengthen marriage’?.

I admit I was drawn more to this article because of the graphic above than its subject but once I started reading I found that it appears no one really knows how to fix marriage. Not the Conservatives, not the progressives.  To many of our millennials and beyond it doesn’t really seem to matter. They simply aren’t bothering with that institution.

I personally don’t have many ideas of how to strengthen my own marriage let alone help someone with theirs. I do love my wife of almost 30 years now but I must admit that as we age we grow further and further apart in what excites us and how we want to live out our remaining years.  The old saying that “opposites attract” was certainly true for us.

I don’t know how to fix it but I certainly know how to kill the institution of marriage off very quickly and that’s to apply biblical principles to it. I know that statement might alarm my conservative evangelical readers, if I actually have any, but hear me out.  I’m sure that the ending of most if not all marriage services in the evangelical community is “What God has put together, let no man separate”.  If we take that approach they should be looking to outlaw divorce instead of being at the head of the list in that category.

What would happen if we repealed the idea of divorce and made marriage a very permanent thing? It would of course drastically drive down the number of people who signed up for it. No one wants to get into something that they have no possibility of getting out of!   In reality, we can’t mandate that marriage  be eternal anymore than we can make sex limited only to it.

One interesting statistic I came across lately is the alarming increase in Baby Boomer divorce rate. It seems that boomers are getting out of marriages at almost an exponential rate compared to previous generations during that stage in their lives. Maybe the pragmatic view that relationships are fluid instead of fixed in time will become the standard? I don’t know but I don’t think that would necessarily be a bad thing for our society.

To finish this post off I want to end with a quote from my hero Will Rogers who gives us a possible solution. Maybe he is the only one to have really figured this all out.

I maintain that it should cost as much to get married as it does to get divorced. Make it look like marriage is worth as much as divorce, even if it ain’t. That would also make the preachers financially independent like it has the lawyers.

 

Here We Go Again… Even Eighty Years Later…

Will Rogers 6Here we go again!  America is running true to form, fixing some other country’s business for ’em just as we always do. We mean well, but will wind up in the wrong as usual…   Will Rogers June 22, 1931

I seem to have been ignoring one of my heroes of late. It seems that my op-ed posts are taking over RJsCorner. I gotta do something about that. After all life isn’t always about what is happening in the world. In fact it is even pretty far down in a sane person’s priority list. But who ever accused me of being sane?? 🙂

Of course each generation thinks that everything that happens to them is the first time it has happened.  For those of us who are U.S. history nuts know, that is rarely the case.  But sometimes when I come across a new Will Rogers quote it really surprises me. I didn’t know that before my time the U.S. had a reputation for getting into foreign messes where they really didn’t belong.

But I kinda think we have gotten a lot better at it now than we did when Will was alive.  We just gotta find every possible way to expand our military budgets. We can never spend enough on our guns and such. We spend more on it than the rest of the world combined but that, given our pretentious nature, is still never enough. So, we search the world far and wide to see where we can get into trouble and as usual end up on the wrong side of most of it…

Thanks Will for the thoughts.  I promise I will not ignore you so much in the future.

About Will Rogers…

Will Rogers Clan - Hdr

I will shout as clearly as I can that Will Rogers is one of my primary heroes. Here is what Wiki says about him.

Known as “Oklahoma’s Favorite Son”, Rogers was born to a prominent Cherokee Nation family in Indian Territory (now part of Oklahoma). He traveled around the world three times, made 71 movies (50 silent films and 21 “talkies”), wrote more than 4,000 nationally syndicated newspaper columns, and became a world-famous figure. By the mid-1930s, the American people adored Rogers. He was the leading political wit of his time, and was the top-paid Hollywood movie star. Rogers died in 1935 with aviator Wiley Post, when their small airplane crashed in northern Alaska….

If you want to peruse some of my many posts about him and his words just click on “The Wisdom of Will Rogers” in the About Life category at the top of this blog.   I found the above picture in his museum in Clairemore Oklahoma recently. I have been there a couple of times now and will likely go back again.  See if you can find him in the above photo?

America Died From a Delusion…

Will Rogers 6Here we go again! America is running true to form, fixing some other country’s business for ’em just as we always do. We mean well but will wind up in the wrong as usual.

When some nation wants us to help ’em out, they use the same old “gag” that we should exert our “Moral Leadership: and, like a yap, we believe it when as a matter of truth, no nations wants any other nation exerting “Moral Leadership” over ’em, even if they had one.

If we ever pass out as a great nation we ought to put on our tombstone: “America died from a delusion that she had Moral Leadership”  — Will Rogers June 22, 1931 —

I am ashamed to admit that it has been a while since I used one of my hero’s quotes here on RJ’s Corner. Shame on me, Will’s words are what helps keep me centered during today’s version of turmoil. It has been eighty-four years since Will said these words and they are as true today as they were then.

No country, or even individual for that matter, wants someone to give them moral leadership. To even insinuate  that you want it is to admit that you don’t have enough of your own and for us Americans that is an almost impossible thing to say. We Americans are a pompous and egotistical bunch so we fall for this logic too easily. We like to think that somehow when God passed out morality we got a double, no a triple, dose of it.

Can you imagine if for instance Britain came over here to provide us with some “Moral Leadership” in the area of providing universal healthcare to our citizens?  Or worse yet to show help us get our murder rate to the extremely low levels of their’s?  I will be one to admit that we certainly could use their “Moral Leadership” in these areas but I am absolutely certain that their offer would be quickly and adamantly rejected.

What “Moral Leadership” means today is that countries want us to give them some of our weapons to more easily kill their enemies. It means that they want us to pump trillions of bucks into their country to do something they don’t have the will to do on their own.

Now don’t get me wrong here, I am not saying that we don’t do some good in the world but as Will said almost a hundred years ago we far too often just get it flat-out wrong.  We stick our noses in where it doesn’t belong…

Thanks again Will for keeping me focused….

Intolerance…

2014-12-12_09-13-53“Now which is the narrowest, religious intolerance or political intolerance?” – Will Rogers, 20 April 1927

I have been pondering that question for some time now myself Will. We all know that so much of politics, particularly the GOP brand,  is primarily driven by fear. The politicians want people fearful of their opponents winning over them. They keep our military budgets at absurd levels by keeping us fearful that if we reduce that grotesque   spending on our war machine terrorists will flood our shores.

But then again isn’t religious intolerance the reason for the majority of the world’s wars? We religious people seem to allow our extremists to tell us who is our enemy. Right now some of those jihadists nuts say that anyone who is not a Muslim simply need to be eliminated. They threaten, and sometimes even carry out that threat to a minute degree.  It amazes me how the vast majority of any religion, but particularly the muslims, doesn’t reign in the rouges among them. They seem to let the extremists talk for them?

Yeah Will,it would go a long way toward world peace, and everyone just getting along if we had a little less of both religious and political intolerance. Which one is worse I just don’t know…. and I don’t think I will ever figure that one out…

The Less You Know….

2014-11-24_15-03-15“I am kind of like a politician. The less I know about anything, the more I can say about it.” – Will Rogers, 12 June 1928

I’m kind of like a politician myself Will. One of my favorite quotes is “You don’t have to know what you are saying as long as you say it with authority”. That should be the mantra for most of those politicians inside the beltway. Too many of those yahoos like to strut around like they are experts on everything but in reality they let the lobbyists with the biggest purse tell them what to say and believe.

Its time we started sending some “real” people to that totally fake city… 🙂

About Me & FaceBook….

2014-11-15_08-17-42After yesterday’s post about people resisting change and not adopting the latest technology I thought I would take the opposite route today. Today I am going to talk about Facebook by giving you a view of my personal habits there. How is that for yin/yang??

Unlike so many, I have not made it a life’s goal to grow my “friends” list to any gargantuan level.  Some I follow there have hundreds of “friends”, some even have thousands! I think mine is currently almost fifty and several of those are institutions not people. I know that is pathetic by most standards for that site.  Who has only fifty friends and some of them not even people??

Another thing about Facebook that I simply don’t get are all the games you can play. I admit up front that I am just not a game player and have never tried them or even know how to access them but I do get it seems daily someone wanting me to play this game or that with them. I do dabble occasionally with some free Euchre and Pinochle apps when I am thoroughly bored and am too lazy to do anything else.  It passes the time…

I do get onto Facebook at least a couple of times a day. I visit the Will Rogers page frequently there and a couple of others just to see what is going on. A local town council member is very active on Facebook so I count on him to keep me up on what is happening in our small town politics (thanks Anton).  A few family members and past friends also get a glance once in a while.

Facebook is a valuable medium as long as you don’t get obsessed with it. It seems most people complain about how busy and hectic their lives are but millions  spend way too much time in social media sites. You can’t seem to walk into any place where people congregate without seeing as least a few kids, and some not so kids, Facebooking. Yeah, I understand it is a verb now.  Maybe if they put down their cell phone once in a while life would seem considerably slower for them. Maybe their hectic lives wouldn’t seem so hectic. That is the opinion of this old but tech savvy senior citizen.  Since I stream my two most active blog sites to Facebook I guess I better check my Facebook page now to see the reactions to this post, I don’t want to lose any friends over my reckless words here …. 🙂