Little Steps Are Not Enough…

What will it take to get even a small degree of bipartisanship back in our federal government? That seems to be the question of the decade for those of us living in the US and actually much of the world as well.  My friends at Eudaimonia & Co speak constantly about the dark side of capitalism and we all need that at least a small dose of that to keep us focused on the bright side of life. Here are some of their words in a recent post about that:

There are three great trends which shape American decline — and the central challenge of American renewal is somehow reversing them, not just mitigating them slightly. The first is stagnant incomes. The second is falling life expectancy. The third is that Americans are broke

As people grow poorer, they turn on their neighbours and peers and friends — the rise of extremism. The rise of such fresh poverty in the midst of plenty points to a deeply dysfunctional set of institutions. Living at the edge of ruin, perpetually, brings with it a set of social malaises, with which Americans are all too familiar — and the world reels at — from the rage and disconnection that fuel constant mass shootings to the depression and trauma and loneliness that pervades society, especially amongst the young. Poverty — which is what most Americans live in now, at least the relative kind — costs us more than we suppose: relationships, meaning, belonging, purpose, grief, the deeper consequences of a lack of deserved and fair chances, opportunities, and right.

Running desperately back to yesterday is not the same as moving towards tomorrow.

I give you this quote, not because I agree with all of it, but that it makes me think about the possible causes of our malaise.  We shouldn’t try to fix something until we have looked at it from all possible angles.  As the quote ends we can’t keep trying to resurrect yesterday thinking that will solve all our problems.  I think a significant part of the answer is to get that fact through to those who blindly follow anyone who tells them that he is going to make America great again. His simple answers are what it takes to solve some pretty complicated problems.

There seems to be no shortage of possible causes for why we are where we are in this country.  Maybe that is because there are so many problems that need to be addressed.  But, I gotta come back to my primary reason and that is lazy minds. For whatever reason, people just don’t want to do the homework needed to keep a free society functioning. They seek simple solutions to complicated problems. Why are so many lazy in that regard? Maybe that is at the core of where we are right now?

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…

Drinking the Kool-aid, Etal…

Tomorrow is perhaps the most important election of my lifetime.  It will determine if an extreme narcissist, habitual liar, con man continues to have free reign to do whatever he wants. Yeah, the tax cuts that the Republican party passed are having a temporary effect and the destruction of the regulations needed to prevent another meltdown have added a couple of bucks to the paycheck, but given our extreme deficits and underfunded infrastructure improvement that will end soon.

What befuddles me about our current times are those who have eagerly gulped down this guy’s kool-aid. Can’t they look beyond the end of their nose to see what is coming down the road?  Why are some people so naively gullible to his constant lies?  Most of his “base” live in rural areas and from personal experiences that is where educational opportunities are the most lacking.  Did they miss out on what the purpose of government is and how it is funded in a democracy? Is it the lack of basic information that impedes their understanding? I kinda suspect it is just intellectual laziness.

2018-11-01_09-49-33.pngI could go on and on about the possibilities but that is not a condition that can be quickly resolved nor is this the purpose of this post. Tomorrow is election day and unless those of us who can counter this group turn out they could give the current Oval Office occupant an unfettered final two years in office to accomplish his hateful and divisive agenda. We know that these Kool-aid folks are a minority but if the rest of us don’t do our job and vote tomorrow they could again have the say on what we will become as a nation.

There is estimated to be 100 million eligible voters who will not cast a ballot tomorrow!! How can a democracy survive without an informed and engaged populace? I voted early a couple of weeks ago, so I have done my part. It’s time for you to do yours. Your present or future children and grandchildren will thank you for that. Morality still matters… even if he says it doesn’t.

 

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. 🙂

Haters Are…

There just seem to be a lot more haters in the world today.

  • They are bitter about one thing or another
  • they envy so many others and covet what they have
  • they voted to put an incompetent, ignorant, bullying narcissist in the Oval Office.

I will come out and say it, I think that many of those who voted for this guy are just lazy losers.  They don’t want to take the time to understand the issues that are confronting us as a nation or even on a personal level.  I think they know that he is incompetent and only thinks of himself but they simply don’t care. But, that is enough politics for now.  On to other areas…

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Were they always like that?  Almost all of us as four-year-olds questioned everything. “Why” was probably the most often used word in our limited vocabulary. Some of us maintained the “Question Everyone” attitude throughout our lives. Since it is a major theme of this blog I like to think I am one of them. But there are others who had it beat out of them early on. They were told to keep quiet and do what you are told.

I know I quote Thomas Jefferson frequently here at RJsCorner, especially the quote about how a democracy depends on an informed electorate, but that fact seems to be forgotten by so many so I will bring it up again and again. To get back to the quote above, everyone has dreams about something but like the “Why” thing for too many of us, the dreams are squashed early on. As a result, they just don’t have the fire in their belly to begin to make them happen. If you are one of those people think about why you hate so much and do everything you can to strip it from your lives before it consumes you.

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