American Myths – American Exceptionalism

For this Question Everything Friday I want to bring you another dangerous myth that is ingrained into our country. That is that we are so exceptional that you can’t be compared to any other country.  Here is my quote for the day about that.

We can’t compare America to any other country! Especially not strange, dangerous countries like Scandinavia or France! We can’t? Why not? How else do you suppose that nations make progress — if not by learning from one another? Americans have been told that other places are “homogeneous”, so America can’t be compared to them — but “homogeneity” is not the reason they are successful societies. There are many more “homogeneous” societies which are failures than successes, just look at Asia and Africa — so homogeneity can’t be why some societies succeed, self-evidently. This myth is exceptionalism, only in a negative form — no comparison is possible. But it is a comparative analysis which teaches us the most when it comes to political economy. Have you ever wondered why you don’t know (probably) how exactly the French retirement system works? How the British healthcare system works? How the Swiss government works? Americans still haven’t learned this stuff because no one teaches it to them — and no one teaches it to them because the myth of exceptionalism says there’s no reason to learn it. 
via Eight Myths Americans Need to Unlearn About America

The way I personally learn almost everything is to see how others are doing it better them me and to try at one level or another to emulate them. If you have been around for a while you have probably noticed that the general format and look of RJsCorner seems to frequently change. I do that because I am constantly looking for ways to make the site more pleasant to visit and to give you my view of the world in more concise stories. If I didn’t have something to compare this site to improvements would be far less frequent.

In that same vein, we as a country need to constantly look at others who do things better than we do. Our reluctance to do that greatly hampers us from creating better and better processes. It has allowed other countries to leapfrog around us when it comes to healthcare, retirement systems and such. It was almost an epiphany to understand we are never taught to look outside our country for ways to do things better.  That is a lesson we MUST learn…

Be Artsy

For this Artsy Saturday, I want to present to you the tag banner that will be used for future Artsy Saturday posts.  I have had an artistic tsunami this week so I now have graphics for each type of post going forward.  🙂

My header above shows the seven daily topics going forward here at RJsCorner.  I am trying to diversify my neighborhood so it doesn’t fixate on all the madness inside the beltway.  I made a promise to you that I would do more to offer hope in these trying times and that is what this new diversification is meant to provide. I hope it works and if it doesn’t I will make more changes. Embrace change is one of my  10 pillars of life and I certainly live up to it here. 

Next week I will be rolling out all the tag banners for your perusal. Closing out, no, I didn’t totally create the picture above but I did “enhance” it and added to it.  

Inspiration

I am still refining my new format for RJsCorner and that will probably be an on-going process for months to come. 🙂 When I first set up the weekly post categories I deemed Thursday as American Heroes but pretty quickly decided that was just too confining for what I intended.  After a couple of days of contemplation, I decided to make Thursday the day I post about the people and things that inspire me.   Being that I obsessively search for just the right phrase, I want to give you my definition of Inspiration.

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2018-11-12_10-01-01.pngSo, for this first Thursday Inspiration post, I give you Emmanuel Macron. I admit that I don’t know a lot about him yet but what I do knows makes me think that he is a world leader for the 21st century.  He is young (41) but appears to have wisdom beyond his years.  Maybe that is because he, like me, married a woman considerably older than him. 🙂

His recent interview on CNN’s GPS piqued my interest to learn more.  During that interview, he laid out his 5-year plan for bringing France into a leadership roll in EU and the world. I would highly encourage you to watch that interview. For those who don’t have the time to do that maybe my quick very edited transcript which will give you an idea of why he is inspiring to me.  Click here to see that.

I certainly hope that if and when the US falls out of dominance that EU will be ready to take up that mantle. This gives me hope that just might be the case.  But, I also hope that other young forward thinker like him will rise from the swamp of current American politics.  I am just tired of this country being run by old white men.

Here’s to you Emmanuel, viva la France.

Myths Americans Need to Unlearn…

Umair Haque over at Medium.com certainly gives me much to think about lately. His recent blog post about the myths Americans need to unlearn will be the centerpiece in coming posts here are RJsCorner. I want to start out this series with the end of his post.

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Source:  Eight Myths Americans Need to Unlearn About America

I certainly get my share of those screamers who call me names and tell me if I don’t love this country then I should GET OUT!!! Some think I am a bleeding heart liberal and others, believe it or not, think I am a Trumpster? They evidently feel so threatened by what I have to say to get them to attack me for one reason or another. I, like Umair, want to pronounce here that I am no threat to them. I am just an old guy who is primarily an observer of life with no power whatsoever to change what I am observing other than my single vote at the ballot box. Yeah, I have some loyal readers who might be swayed to a very small degree but that is about it.  You don’t need to feel that I am threatening to you. Now on to the topic at hand.

2018-10-28_11-02-50.png“We don’t need to listen to people who are critical of America! They’ll never help us!!” Some people consider progress and particularly the change almost always associated with it to be a bad thing. I do believe that the last couple of years are the most tumultuous of my life as far as social things are concerned.  We seem to have lost our ability to tolerate anyone with different views than ours.  The second most agonizing period that I have lived through was the 1960s but I was much younger then so I could tolerate it better than I do now. More than 50,000 of my generation lost their lives in a seemingly meaningless war.  There were riots in many major cities, soldiers killing kids on a college campus, African-Americans being attacked by police dogs and high power fire hoses. Some were dragged through the streets by white supremacists all because they were demanding their civil rights.  If ever there were a period where people were critical of America, it was during those years.

But look what came out of that same period and see many great accomplishments.  More on that in a near future post.

Time Just Flies By

I don’t know how many times I have heard the expression in the title of this post. I don’t know how many times I have said it myself. I have always wondered why time seems to fly by now but in my youth a year seemed like an eternity.  It wasn’t until I got a glimpse of the short article below from the AARP Magazine that I came to maybe understand this time warp a little better.

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It’s interesting if I at least partially accept what the article says that the reason is stale experiences.  That is, as we get older, especially in our senior years, we pretty much do the same things over and over again. That lack of new experiences leads our brains to lock up.  Being a “Question Everything” skeptic that I am I’m not sure I totally accept this logic, but it does ring true at least at some level.

If you want time to slow down then you need to constantly experience new things or “fresh experiences” as the article describes them. Doing the same thing day after day is not only pretty boring but it causes the end to come sooner, so to speak.

So, I guess my “Embrace Change” life pillar is maybe making the days go by a little slower. But given the political atmosphere at the moment I kind of wish 2020 would come tomorrow. 🙂

What If Someone Better Comes Along?

The2018-09-08_12-54-07.png title above is a very interesting one for me.  Due to my self-diagnosed Aspie traits, my social skills have never been anything approaching normal. I just don’t think in the venue as most everyone else does it seems.  Clicking with almost any female was a non-starter for me. I tried it on several attempts but I usually never got very far. So, it totally surprised me when my now wife of 32 years showed an interest in me. I never dreamed I would have a serious relationship let alone get married.

I imagine that those more socially prone have asked themselves the above question in the title on more than one occasion. At least I hope they have.  One basic problem is that too many of us settle for what is in front of us instead of waiting for something better to come along and that results in over half of us divorcing and usually making the same mistakes all over again the second and third time. 🙂  Instead of the question above, too many of us probably ask the reverse, “what if no one else comes along?”

Outside of the relationship venue, I personally have settled for what was in front of me far too many times in my life. I regret not having admitted that I was in the wrong profession early on in my career.  Instead, I clung to the financial security that my job was providing. It was not until the last fourth of my work life that I finally got into something that I really enjoyed doing.  Because I thought nothing better would come along I spent 20+ years of my life in a job I got little enjoyment from. Don’t make that same mistake…