What We Have Been Told To Do…

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I am doing something a little different today; I am leading off with the words that inspired this post.  I can’t say it better so why not just show it to you up front.

In the mid-1980s when the capitalist decided to change the rules of the game hardly any of us noticed it.  Up until that point, American capitalism was generally deemed a three-legged-stool. It was driven by the customer buying the product or service, those holding stock in the company, and finally the people creating the product or service. As long as the three legs were pretty much the same length our economy prospered.

Then came the MBA’s (Masters of Business Administration) which was a new degree in the business world.  When those new graduates started entering the business world the three-legged stool was discarded in favor of a total focus on the capitalists. Employees went from being an asset in the company to a liability.  Given our consumer-driven economy, they decided the customer would be there regardless of how they were treated. Corporate R&D organizations like Bell Labs were tossed aside as being unnecessary.

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As long as the capitalists could convince the rest of us (workers/customers) that when the stock markets went up everything was fine.  With this strategy, the stock market went from 800 to 26,000 over the resulting 38 years. That’s about a 33 times increase. The wage increase over the same period of time rose 3.5 times which was about the same as the cost of living increases.  In other words, the capitalists have taken home ALL the increase in prosperity!

I know the argument goes that more people own stocks now than in 1980 so that prosperity is shared by more of us.  In reality, now that pensions are pretty much a thing of the past, the percentage of families with stock ownership has barely budged in the same time period.

The fact is that the top 10% of American households hold about 85% of the total stocks and almost 50% of everyone else don’t own any stock at all.

How long will it take for us to understand that we have been fed a line by the capitalists? That is the question to end this post.

Looking At The World…

2018-09-21_15-30-06.pngI know there are very basic differences in how people look at the world.  I personally get much of my worldview from the words of Jesus and that certainly includes his very obvious stands on empathy and wealth.

One of the things I love about Jesus is that he led by example.  How many changes of clothes did Jesus have?  How many castles? How many servants? I don’t think there is anyone who can’t answer these questions. He led a life of poverty. He led by example. Did he hate the rich? Well, no not really but he did have some wise words for them.   He basically told them that they were expected to do good works in proportion to their wealth.

Now, finally getting to the crux of this story, I follow several of my high school classmates of 50+ years ago on Facebook.  It is frightful to me just how many of them are loyal Trumpsters.  The graphic in today’s post is from one of them.

I willingly pay income tax in order to keep our society/country running. Without taxes there would be no road, no law enforcement, no…. well you get the idea. Paying taxes is a privilege of wealth. Welfare, on the other hand, is giving your neighbor, and according to Jesus that is everyone else, a helping hand when they need it. That should be considered a joy to provide to those in need.

To at least this high school classmate paying income taxes is seen as a fine/punishment and giving a helping hand to those who have fallen on hard times is disgraceful.  What a worldview!

I may not always follow Jesus’ words but I certainly don’t twist his words to mean the opposite of his message. That is the ultimate in hypocrisy if you ask me.

Proud Beta Male, MeToo…

I have to give you a quote from one of my most recent regular reads in the blogsphere. It is from John Pavlovitz.  He is a North Carolina pastor who speaks to my heart.  Here is the snippet for discussion in Today’s post. It is about a Trumpster who tried to insult him by calling him a beta-male (as opposed to an alpha-male I suppose):

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Source: Confessions of a Proud Beta Male

Evidentally #CO3 has been using this term in his rallies/self-adoration sessions. He intends it to be an insult/putdown but it seems that many are now proudly taking up that mantle.  I am one of them, I now call myself a Beta-Male.

I guess to him and his base it means that you are not an alpha-male:

  • You are not a take-charge guy who has to dominate every situation.
  • You are not a  guy who proudly boasts of his conquest over others, especially females, and proudly proclaim the things you can do to them with complete immunity.
  • You are not a guy who strikes back in anger when you feel even a slight bit challenged.
  • You are not a guy thumping your chest and proclaiming yourself superior and vastly more intelligent than others.
  • You are not a guy who berates and mocks those you have decided are your enemies.
  • You are not a guy who primarily makes decisions with gut feelings as opposed to studying the situation to make an informed choice.

I, like Pastor Pavlovitz, proudly proclaim that I am a beta-male. Thank you #CO3 for painting me as very different from you and so many of your base.  I will proudly wear the mantle you perceive as a smear.

I am a proud beta-male

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#CO3 = Current Oval Office Occupant

 

 

The Most Toxic Society…

Some people, particularly those in Western Europe and the Scandinavian countries say the US has become the most toxic society.

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Where else do people die for a lack of basic medicine? What other country has a mass shooting per day? If we’re painfully honest, America excels at hate now — whether blank indifference or impassioned cruelty. Everybody seems to hate everybody else, perpetually — not at an individual level, maybe, but certainly at a group level. It’s a set of little tribes — blacks, whites, Asians, liberals, conservatives, rich, poor, young, old — who seem to genuinely despise one another.

via Why Americans Love to Hate Each Other (And Hate to Love Each Other)

Unfortunately, throughout the ages the loudest, most vulgar voices get almost all the attention and when most of the US media outlets spend the vast majority of their time on those voices who can blame those in other countries who think we are all bitter, negative and violent. Yes, there is hatred in America that has not been there in recent memory, but for the most part, the majority of us are just going about living our lives as we have always done. That part of America doesn’t make the daily news in other countries.

While I think that the writer of the quote above used the words that he did because he knew they would strike alarm in those who read them. He wanted to get our attention and for the most part, he certainly did that.

I certainly hope and am totally convinced that these ugly times, even if they are limited to a slice of our population,  will be an anomaly in history instead of becoming the new norm. It just has to be. I am praying that the mid-term election coming up validates that hope.

About Empathy

2018-09-13_07-38-39.pngI am convinced that, as a general rule, my Republican friends pretty much lack empathy to any degree. I know this could be “painting with a broad brush” type thing but hear me out. I find example after example of this fact in my daily life. Let me give you a few examples.

I have a Republican friend who goes on and on about how all those people on welfare are freeloaders.  To him, they are just too lazy to go out and get a job.  I try to tell him that on the average most people are on welfare less than a year. He has admitted that his sister was on welfare, but he assures me that she really needed it.  He just can’t seem to understand that people who have temporary circumstances need and should get help. To him, everyone besides his sister is just lazy freeloaders.

Then there is Betsy DeVos, the current leader of the department of education who is now in the process of making sure that for-profit colleges get the money they need to pay their shareholders lavish dividends while at the same time making it harder for students to pay off their college debt. There just seems to be a serious lack of empathy among those who call themselves Republicans.

Then there is the soon to be ex-congressmen/ house leader Paul Ryan. His adoration of Ayn Rand along with her “Empathy is the scourge of mankind” certainly shows that he lacks empathy to any degree.

One thing I most admire about Jesus of Nazareth was that he had a huge amount of empathy. He even said that if your neighbor needs help give him the shirt off your back. He said that if you adore money give it all away to the poor and then you can follow him. Sadly, there are just so many who call themselves Christians who seem to believe the exact opposite of Jesus’ teachings! They rail against anyone getting something they didn’t work for. But isn’t that the foundation of Christianity.  “You don’t deserve it but since Christ died for your sins you will live an eternity in heaven.” Talk about freeloading…

About Your Enemies… and Reconciliation

2018-08-12_11-45-54It seems that at least for the last twenty months or so I have enemies who rant against my view of the world.  They come at me with a “love it or leave it mentality.  How dare I say some of the things I do.  Will those who spew out all the hate via social media eventually destroy themselves as the quote here indicates?

Hate is a self-consuming thing. It will eat you alive if you wallow in it too long and that seems to be what so many of the current ranters are doing They troll the Internet looking for places to strike. If it happens to you the question is will you return tit for tat or will you take the proverbial high road? From a personal standpoint my first reaction is to attack my attacker, but in most cases I just let them rant with no reaction from me. All I end up doing to delete their comment before it shows up on the blog.  If I engage them they just stay around longer as they know they have an audience.

Moving to a higher level with this thought, it was not that many years ago that I believed that I didn’t have any enemies, at least as I defined that word then.  Yes, I frequently view the world differently from others but that was just a difference of opinion between us, it didn’t make us enemies. Now those differences seem to have become points of serious contention for some and the difference between friend and enemy.

Why do so many now need to villanize anyone who thinks outside their tunnel vision view of the world?  Will the rigid Us vs Them mentality preclude any possibility of reconciliation between us?  That seems to be the question for our current times.  I pray this is a trend and not the new standard.  What do you think?