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?

Not Afraid To Call Them Out

My new blogging friend John  Pavlovitz is a writer, pastor, and activist from Wake Forest, North Carolina is certainly not afraid to call out Evangelicals for their discrimination against others.  That is one of the primary things I admire him for and why read him daily. Here are some words from a recent post. I encourage you to click on the link to read the entire story.

[And please, my Evangelical friend,] don’t give me that hackneyed, tired nonsense, that you are loving LGBTQ people by doing the things you do to them, because that’s an insult to all of us.

 If you’re going to tell me with a straight face, that ridiculing them in the streets and excluding them from your churches and passing legislation to take away their civil rights and prohibiting them from being fully authentic—is loving them—I’m respectfully calling bullshit. The day you convinced yourself that this was love, you lost the plot completely.

Source: Stuff That Needs To Be Said

I hope at least a few Evangelicals will read his post and realize that they are poisoning Christianity by their hateful words and actions. There is far too much judging among Evangelicals if you ask me but I readily admit that I judge others more than I should. The difference between them and me is that I recognize it as a personal fault and is contrary to my Live and Let Live pillar of life, and for some weird reason they see their prejudices as following Jesus.

As the title of John’s blog says “Stuff That Needs To Be Said”, maybe he can get through to that guy who works in an oval office. But I kinda doubt ANYONE can get through to him except maybe Meuller. 🥺 But, maybe he could convince a few of his loyal base that they have attached their dreams to a con artist. That’s stuff that really needs to be said…

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…

Between Fact and Belief…

Since I have lived the largest part of my life as a scientist I have thoroughly come to believe that when facts clash seriously with beliefs then beliefs need to be modified. I know the current Oval Office occupant doesn’t believe in facts, to him everything he doubts must be fake news and sadly his loyal base blindly accepts that line.  That is one of the scariest things for me about these times. But that is not the main point of this post.  Here are some words to ponder:

They are facts. Nothing more and nothing less. Just facts. It is a fact that people are happier in social democracies. It is a fact that people are richer, wealthier, closer, live longer, saner, better lives, in nearly every regard. There is nothing subjective or unknown about that statement, and so it is not a belief in any way whatsoever. Do you see the difference here — between fact and belief? You might think that I’m splitting hairs — but I think that both the future and the greatest lesson in human history that you probably don’t know lie right here.

https://eand.co/the-greatest-lesson-from-history-you-probably-never-learned-e73c861b9682

I really don’t understand how socialism has gotten such a bad connotation in the US.  I guess it has something to do with Soviet-style communism which was really in no way socialism.  It was just a tyrant trying to take control of a country by selling the populace a defective scheme. Much like Hitler and some during our current times are doing.

Social democracies are quite a different thing and those are the versions of socialism that are around today in much of the world. But, social democracies almost always implies an opposition to the unregulated workings of a capitalist State. Most of the countries referred to by the quote above are Scandinavian or western European.  Poll after poll shows them to have happier, saner and longer lives than we do.

I think we have a thing or two to learn from them.

More Myths Americans Need to Unlearn About America

Let’s face it, we can’t simply ignore the problems and hope they go away. That seems to have worked for a long time but in reality, it has just allowed the problems to fester and get worse.  America is collapsing and if we don’t do something about it soon, it just may be too late. Just because we have gone-to-the-edge before and survived doesn’t mean it will happen again. Here is the myth for today that we need to unlearn:

Myth:    America isn’t collapsing!!!

Life expectancy is falling, the vast majority of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, they can’t raise $1000 for an emergency, mass shootings are a regular event of daily life, people have to crowdfund basic medicine, suicides are skyrocketing. I could go on. If your bar for collapse is Mad Max meets the Strain, then, sure, America hasn’t collapsed yet…to that point.

But it has collapsed in three key ways, which are the real, genuine and true kinds — not the stuff of science fiction end times.

◉  As a rich society — most Americans don’t live in one anymore.

◉  As a democracy — it doesn’t really represent people accurately anymore.

◉  As a society — Americans have no social contract, really, that unites them, as we’ve discussed — because virtue has not culminated in the public good .

In those three ways, collapse is as real and lethal as climate change. You can disagree with me, sure — but reality doesn’t care about what I think, or you think. It laughs at we “think”, and goes on being what it is.

Source: https://eand.co/eight-myths-americans-need-to-unlearn-about-america-560fa10ddba6

I wonder if Rome ever recognized that they were in decline? How about the Great British Empire, do superpowers ever know it when it happens? What was originally known as the Middle Class has evaporated from our country.  Yes, there are 10% of us who are doing pretty well. We went to college or trade school and obtained skills needed in the 21st century. We are doing OK.

But there is the almost 60% of us who now stuck in low paying, soon to be automated,  jobs that pay low wages.  Many continue to dream that somehow they will find their golden egg and get rich but in reality that is also a myth.

They have gerrymandered and restricted the vote so much in recent years to pretty much guarantee they cling to power even if they can’t manage to get the majority vote. 

Maybe the worst thing is our social fabric is disintegrating. We are locked into our clans and will simply not listen to anything else.  If that is not a fundamental threat to our democracy I can’t imagine what is.

I pray that it isn’t too late yet , but somehow something needs to happen… and soon.

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.

2018-11-12_09-36-55.png

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.