Hard History

I came across the story below and it amazed me that less than 8% of students in the cited survey knew that the Civil War was fought to preserve slavery. Here is a little bit about that:

Just a third of students correctly identified the law that officially ended slavery, the 13th Amendment, and fewer than half knew of the Middle Passage. Most alarming, though, were the results to this question:

Which was the reason the South seceded from the Union?

2018-02-04_09-42-37.pnga. To preserve states’ rights

b. To preserve slavery

c. To protest taxes on imported goods

d. To avoid rapid industrialization

e. Not sure
Nearly half blamed taxes on imported goods. Perhaps, the report’s authors guessed, students were confusing the Civil War with the Revolutionary War.

How many students chose slavery as the reason the South seceded?

Eight percent.

“Slavery is hard history,” writes Hasan Kwame Jeffries in the report’s preface. He is an associate professor of history at The Ohio State University and chair of the Teaching Hard History Advisory Board. “It is hard to comprehend the inhumanity that defined it. It is hard to discuss the violence that sustained it. It is hard to teach the ideology of white supremacy that justified it. And it is hard to learn about those who abided it.”

via Why Schools Fail To Teach Slavery’s ‘Hard History’ : NPR Ed : NPR

I like the term “Hard History” it implies that we ignore or downplay recognizing the dark side of the US and only remember what is “good”. Of course, that brings to mind the quote “history belongs to the victors”.

I kinda think a big part of the problem with students not understanding the hard history of the Civil War is that the folks in the Southern States still will not recognize that it was fought to be able to continue owning another person.  And of course, they tell this same tale to their children.

We have to recognize our dark history in order to keep from repeating it.  For me, the hardest history is that the founding of this country was based on the largest genocide the world has ever known. At the time of the first European colonies, it is estimated that there were about 80 million people already living in North America, some in very sophisticated societies.  As we spread west we systematically destroyed each civilization we encountered.  The mentality went something like “they are all just savages, not real people” or to some it is our Manifest Destiny meaning God’s will that we take over this continent.

Yeah, hard history is hard…but necessary to remember.

Imagining Their Stories…

Because I am deaf I have a game I play quite often when I am around people, especially those I don’t know.  In my early years of deafness before closed-captioned TV was widely available is when this thing started. Since there was no sound to what I was seeing I made up my own storyline. It would have been interesting to discover how closely my story matched up with the writer’s version but of course, I never was able to discover that.

canstockphoto8230027Getting slightly off the subject for just a little while, I never used to think that I was a creative person. I think part of that belief was beaten into me in my youth by some pretty uncreative parents.  I know I tried to draw some in my youth and was never pleased enough with the result to show my parents or anyone else for that matter. It would take some years and experiences to realize that creativity is not just one thing but can appear in many different areas of life. Making up stories is one of those areas I have become quite good at.

Getting back to the subject of the day, I kind of liked the idea of imagining stories which I was not really privy to so I started doing it in real life. I can look at someone in a restaurant and make up stories about why they looked or acted the way they did. Its easy in today’s world to imagine them as selfish, self-centered or other negative traits but I kinda do the opposite, at least recently.  Instead of seeing speeders as self-centered people I give them the benefit of the doubt and imagine them as doctors on the way to the hospital to save someone’s life.  I am a dreamer so to me it is just more enjoyable to imagine good things than to fear yet someone else as terrorists, serial killers, or just plain selfish people.

Getting back to the starting thought of this post, It is not easy for me to start up a conversation with someone, especially someone you don’t know.  It used to require them to write down what they say.  Most people are just not willing to do that. Now, I have a couple of apps that turn speech into text. They don’t work great quite yet but are much better than paper notes.  But even with these new tools, it is almost inevitable that when another hearing person joins the group I am pretty much ignored from that point on.  So, I end up watching other people or make up stories of what I might be missing.  It beats just sitting there like a bump on a log. 🙂


I am finally convinced that I am a pretty creative person as my mind constantly wanders into unimagined areas of thought. In my retirement years, I have done a pretty good job of cultivating my creative processes.  But I am always looking for ways to unleash my creativity to new areas and levels. When I ran across this article from the New York Times it gave me a different way to think about creativity.

2018-02-07_11-09-43.pngWe all have fantasies or, if you prefer, ideas. I will give them a different word: “Seeds.” These seeds are the germ-line of books, short stories, songs, the faces in a painting. Sometimes, when the idea is for a gadget that might, say, keep that guy in the car next to you from texting and driving, it’s the seed of an app or business. If it’s a doodle made during a boring corporate meeting, it’s the seed of an art project; the mixture of the barbecue sauce with the onions and the lemon might be the seed of the next, great slow-cooking invention…

Another quick tale to make the point: A family friend once told me that, in college, he was curious to find out whether he was creative so he picked up an easel at the store. He painted for 10 minutes, put down the brush and declared himself not remotely creative. But he went on to make tens of millions of dollars as an entrepreneur. He had mistakenly conflated artistic creativity with any type of creativity. But not all creativity looks the same, and it doesn’t take the same name.

via How to Be Creative – A year of living better Guides – The New York Times

I have been retired from the corporate world for a while now and therefore have a lot of time to create “seeds” and indeed I have created many of them. It is not as if I didn’t do it before but then as the bible says the seeds mostly fell on rocky ground and quickly died. Being able to concentrate on something as long as you want is one of the premier joys of retirement.

canstockphoto14469250These seeds when they come are now quickly written down and then planted in my brain to see if they sprout. Sometimes my desktop looks like an advertisement for post-it notepads. Sometimes my mind is so filled with seeds its hard to do everyday things. 🙂 One of those seeds that ended up being a five-year project as documented in my blog RedLetterLiving.net.  That is where I studied how Christian organizations did or didn’t follow the words of Jesus.

Of course, most of the posts here on RJsCorner also started as seeds. Looking at the current standings, I have 3,240 published posts, 35 drafts/seeds in various forms of completion, and a dozen scheduled posts. That is a lot of creative seeds as far as I am concerned!

I have about 20,000 photos now that I use my creativity to take and enhance. Many of those now reside in my Flickr account and many are here on RJsCorner.

Not all creativity looks the same. What do you do with your creativity??


It’s Important To Take A Stand.

I am a fiscal conservative. That makes me a man without a party. The one steady thing I admired about the Republican party, at least until recently, was that they didn’t like debt.

“If you were against President Obama’s deficits, and now you’re for the Republican deficits, isn’t that the very definition of hypocrisy?” Senator Rand Paul said as he held up passage of the budget bill for a few hours — perhaps until he realized that the definition fit him, too, since he had voted for the tax cuts that will blow up the deficit.

Source: The Republicans Have Become the Party of Debt – The New York Times

Rand Paul is a maverick who stands up for what is important to him but even he is not beyond hypocrisy.

Sometimes I get tired of waving the absurd military spending in this country but it needs to be said again and again. We in the US make up about 5% of the world’s population but spend more on our military than the rest of the world combined!! Where other countries spend for the well-being of their citizens we spend much of those resources to overwhelm the world with our military might.

I hope that the Post Trump Republican party can eventually return to their roots of fiscal conservatism but I kinda think given the Pennsylvania election this week they have damaged their brand so severely even that would not prevent their destruction.


Turn Your Wounds Into Wisdom

2018-03-08_09-02-43I get weekly quotes from iHearts143Quotes to help me understand life. This one particularly got my attention. It might seem strange to some but I have often said that  I am a better person because of my deafness. What I mean by that is that through the challenges I have faced because of my deafness has made me much more aware of those who struggle in life. My empathy factor went up several orders of magnitude because of my deafness.

I have come to realize that my inflictions and afflictions (ha) add to the quality of my life. I was poor growing up but didn’t really know it. But because I was poor I have more empathy for those who struggle to keep their head above water.

We all face wounds in our lives and if we turn off the self-pity they produce and try to learn something from them we are better, wiser as a result.

Dispelling Myths vs Reimaging

2018-03-06_13-24-11.pngYesterday’s post was all about spin and how we too often try to reimage something because makes us uncomfortable.  It was primarily about the fact that we need to dispell the myth instead of just re-naming the condition.  Today I want to talk about why this topic is so important to me.

As I have often said, being deaf is a major part of my life but it is not what I am about.  I almost never say I am a deaf man but instead say I am a man who is deaf. There is a critical difference between the two. If I allow my deafness to define my life then what I am doing is to make it the central focus. Instead, I will define myself as:

  • A follower of Jesus
  • A creative person
  • A history buff
  • A person who enjoys adventurous things
  • An avid writer/blogger
  • An avid photographer
  • A teacher of coping with challenging circumstances

Somewhere far down the line would be deafness. In the area of deafness, I strive to teach others who might be just starting their journey that they are not alone and that their deafness does not have to define them or limit them to any extent.  Yes, it places challenges in their life but nothing that can’t be overcome.

I don’t think things have changed that much when it comes to medical authorities giving a person who is suddenly deaf, resources to cope. The hearing professionals in my day simply said: “We can’t help you anymore so, goodbye”.  I was left on my own to figure out where to go from there.

2018-03-06_13-27-06.pngAnother reason I am generally against reimaging is Google. If I want to learn something about this topic would I google “deaf” or “sudden loss of hearing”? I don’t think there is any disagreement as to that answer.  When I went deaf in 1988 the Internet was in its infancy. There were no major news sites and Google was decades away.  America-On-Line (AOL) was just starting out. I struggled for weeks trying to find anything I could use to help me cope with becoming deaf.

Now with the Internet, if I know the right terms and they haven’t been reimaged I can find a myriad of sources of information about any topic.  I hope that there are some who google “deaf” that happen to be pointed to RJsCorner and learn a little from my experiences with deafness.   Most importantly, I hope they learn that they are not alone out there. I struggled with that cruel idea for quite some time!

Closing up this two-part post, we need to do whatever we can to dispell myths that have grown up around too many topics. We can’t let just give into myths and let them stand as somehow being insurmountable. Dispelling myths is an underlying reason for RJsCorner even if I don’t directly say that enough.



Reimaging, Spin, Spin, Spin

Too many times we simply don’t like the name for something and to fix that we give it a new often indistinguishable name. Don’t like the word retirement, give it a new name. Give it a more positive spin. Call it the third trimester of life. Maybe that will offset the negative connotations associated with this time in life. Spin, spin, spin…

On a lighter side, job titles seem to be at the head of the reimaging wave. So many people have impressive sounding titles for the same old jobs. I have come to the conclusion that employers know that reimaging job descriptions is less expensive than paying more money for the work. Let’s look at a few:

Transparency Enhancement Facilitator – used to be called window washers.

Director of First Impressions – used to be called receptionists.

Beverage Dissemination Specialist – used to be called the bartender

Field Nourishment Consultant – used to be called waiters

Asset Financial Analyst – used to be called accountants

Spin, spin, spin…

2018-03-06_11-16-45.pngFinally, getting serious and to the main point of this post, one of the possible reasons for reimaging is that the current name has too many myths going against it. One of those I am intimately familiar with is “deaf”. Too many people still think “deaf and dumb” when it comes to anyone who has lost or never had the ability to hear.  Yes, there is a small percentage of this population who never manage to become accomplished at reading, writing, or speaking. A significant majority of that particular group were born deaf to deaf parents and were never encouraged to move beyond their deafness, in fact, many celebrate it!

There are about 46 million people in the US who have serious or profound difficulty understanding the spoken word.  About 35 million (80%) of those are or could be helped to one degree or another with hearing aids, cochlear implants, and other technological devices. But what about the other 12 million or so?

About 6.5 million (54%) are senior citizens who have lost their hearing due to aging factors.

About 5 million (42%) are people, like me, who lost their hearing as adults or at least after they became accomplished in the spoken word.

The last 0.5 million are people who were born deaf or became deaf at an early age. Of that group, about 0.1 million never learned to read, write, or speak beyond the fourth-grade level. In the past being born deaf was often due to oxygen tents and other medical procedures. Those mistakes have almost disappeared today and so has the born-deaf population.

Summarizing, the vast majority of the deaf population are anything but dumb. Many are college graduates and almost all have lead productive lives.

Instead of inventing new names for that 98% of the current deaf population we should all, especially those of us who are deaf,  be educating those who are “dumb” on this subject.

If I weren’t out of room on this post I could make the same argument for those with autism. Instead of reimaging the word, the general public needs to be better educated on the subject.

Tomorrow I will talk more about why the topic of labels is so sensitive to me.

Religion And Global Conflict

It is becoming more and more recognized that religious beliefs are and have most likely always been one of the primary sources of conflict in this world.

Here are some words about the underlying reasons for this:

2018-01-24_09-05-50“Religion often becomes the master variable,” Harris says. “It provides a unique reward structure. If you believe that the thoughts you harbor in this life and the doctrines you adhere to spell the difference between an eternity spent in fire or one spent on the right hand of God, that raises the stakes beyond any other reward structure on earth.”

Tribal tendencies are natural for humans who need groups and community to survive. But the driving forces behind especially alienating, fundamentalist beliefs are a combination of nature and nurture, experts say.

via Tribal Divisions Created by Religion Most Harmful in Global Conflict, Experts Say | Best Countries | US News

Personally, I have always struggled to fully understand why religion has such a strong hold on so many. The quote above helps me understand that a little better.  I am just not one of those people who believe things without proof as most religions demand.

What will it take for religions to finally come to agree to coexist in the world today? That is the major question at hand.  When will they accept that everyone has a right to believe in the god of their choice or no god at all? Thomas Jefferson understood that early on and thankfully at least the concept is part of our constitution even if it hasn’t been fully implemented.  In fact, Jefferson was more strongly a believer in freedom “from” religion than “of” religion.

Given that there are literally tens of thousands of versions of God in the world today coexistence is the only logical way to approach religious beliefs.


About Humanism…

2018-03-05_15-41-02.pngOver at my blog RedLetterLiving.net I spent five years exploring various forms of religion concentrating on Christianity in all its shapes.  I came away from that study convinced that the vast majority of Christian religions, of which there are thousands, spend very little time on the words of Jesus and it seems that many are now spending more time in the political realm than anything else.

One glaring omission from that study was of Humanism.  As a then member of an Evangelical church, I was basically told that Humanists were the scourge of the earth.  They were all God-hating atheists who despised those who are too weak to believe what they do. There just seemed to be a lot a fear about humanists in the Evangelical community. Unfortunately, I never got around to studying for myself just what being a humanist was really about. I am now in the process of correcting that error. Starting with this post I will present a series about what I am discovering.

What got my attention on this topic was a recent Internet news item that quoted the story below:

Just hours after the Texas shooting, Roy Speckhardt, executive director of AHA, [American Humanist’s Association] was speaking to several hundred Air Force recruits a few miles away from Sutherland Springs.

“I spoke about how, even as we critique fundamentalism, we must always respect each other as human beings, even when we don’t agree on religious and political ideals and convictions.” …

These words seem to relay that although many in the Christian community generally despise them most humanists will not answer “tit for tat”. That kind of caught me by surprise.

I have a number of initial questions about humanists that I will attempt to find the answers.

Are they all atheists?

Do they hate God?

Do they hate others who believe differently than them?

Do they believe they have the only true answer?

Are they just intellectuals who look down on others they see as less knowledgeable than them?

Do they even have empathy?

How many are there and what is their history?

I want to close out this first post with what the American Humanist Association says they are about.

Humanism is a progressive lifestance that, without theism or other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead meaningful, ethical lives capable of adding to the greater good of humanity.
– American Humanist Association

That doesn’t sound very evil to me.  The definition of lifestance is: 

A person’s lifestance, is their relation with what they accept as being of ultimate importance.

We all seek at one level or another what is the ultimate importance. It gives us a fundamental path forward in life. Many choose to believe in a supreme being that controls everything, and many don’t. I guess that is what this study will likely be about.

I am trying to approach this series with an open mind and if you do the same, I think both of us might just learn a little more about the people who are called humanists.


About Wisdom…

Wisdom has been on my mind lately. But before I get started on this topic I need to distinguish between two types of perceived wisdom,  gut wisdom and learned wisdom.

2018-03-05_10-45-25.pngGut Wisdom — Gut wisdom is that feeling you get when you think you instinctively know something. It’s what your gut tells you is the truth. I know the current Oval Office occupant says he is REALLY SMART but I think his self-conceived wisdom is just his biases toward the issue at hand. He may be gut wise but he is definitely not learned wise.

I have to include my wife in the gut wise category. She says statistics are fake because she doesn’t understand them. What her gut tells her is much more reliable than what others who might be more studied on the topic think about the topic at hand. I am an engineer by schooling and took several courses in various fields.  One of those was thermal dynamics. I try to impart some of that wisdom to her but she will have nothing to do with that. I tell her if you want cool night air in one part of the house the best way to do that is to open a window there and then blow air out the other side of the house.  But she will not accept that as her gut wisdom tells her that is not true.

Let’s be truthful about this, gut wisdom is usually just a set of prejudices we learn over time. Gut wisdom is easy to obtain and difficult to expel.

2018-03-05_10-40-18.pngLearned Wisdom — Learned wisdom is among other things about the scientific method. It is about searching for truth.  It is learning from the wisdom of others and maybe just adding a little to it before applying it or passing it on. Learned wisdom is something that takes time and often due diligence to obtain.  It’s hard work. Sometimes it takes years of study to really be wise on a topic. Other times a few days will enable us to just make an informed choice. But it is always about admitting you don’t know something and then doing what is necessary to find the answers.

I like to think of myself as learned wise. If I want to speak up about a topic I study it to see what others have to teach me and then given that information and my personal experiences I try to fabricate my view on the topic. I admit that I don’t know what I don’t know. I look for people wherever I can find them that know more than I do. I value their wisdom.

One of the basic problems today is the people, especially those who are gut wise, who refuse to acknowledge that others know more than they do.  When learned wisdom is not valued we as a society quit moving forward.  And, that is a sad and dangerous thing…


Never Alone…

I have let it be known before that I am a mall walker.  Every Friday I walk up to three miles at the local mall. It is good and safe exercise for this 70+-year-old deaf guy. 🙂  One of the things I do pretty regularly during these mall walks is to take unofficial surveys.  Sometimes I count the number of women wearing heels higher than 1 inch (around 2%). This time I chose to count the number of kids younger than thirty who are walking the mall clinging their cell phones. I’m not talking about them having them in their pants, but actually never letting go of them.  Many of those weren’t actually using or looking at their phones, they were just holding them. I was quite surprised by the results.

2018-01-26_16-25-59.pngI counted about 45 people in this age category and 30 of them were holding their phones. Of the fifteen who weren’t, eleven were men an four were women carrying babies or packages.

I am a techie so of course I most often have my cell with me when I leave the house.  I average about 25 text messages a month and zero calls so that makes me an extremely light user according to statistics:

According to a New York Times report, both teens and adults check their smartphones 150 times per day (or every six minutes), and send an average of 110 texts per day.
For many teenagers these days, texting is passé, so they have upgraded to platforms like Snapchat and Instagram—suggesting that these numbers may not represent actual usage.

Around 46 percent of smartphone users say that they “couldn’t live without” their phone, and one-in-three would rather give up sex than their cell phone…

More Teen Statistics

  • 2018-02-28_19-26-45.png92 percent of teens go online daily, and 24 percent say they are online “almost constantly.”
  • 76 percent of teens use social media (81 percent of older teens, 68 percent of teens ages 13 and 14).
  • 71 percent of teens use Facebook, 52 percent use Instagram, 41 percent use Snapchat, 33 percent use Twitter.
  • 77 percent of parents say their teens get distracted by their devices and don’t pay attention when they’re together.
  • 59 percent of parents say they feel their teen is addicted to their mobile device.
  • 50 percent of teens say they feel addicted to their mobile device.

via Cell Phone Addiction in Teens is Real: Scary Statistics & Some Helpful Advice. | elephant journal

The crux to all of this at least to me is that most teenagers are never alone as they are constantly sending or receiving messages to and from others. Most sleep with their cellphone on their nightstands. I imagine some even hold on to them when they sleep.

Creativity almost always starts with the person alone with their thoughts. How can that happen now? Are we stifling creativity in this generation?  I don’t want to sound like an old person who laments for the “good old days” but I think something has to change in the coming years.

One Day At A Time…

2018-02-17_13-21-36.pngThe title of this post has multiple meanings. It was once a TV show about a single Indianapolis mother who was raising two teenage girls. It was a comedy but also showed some of the serious sides of parenthood. It is also a theme associated with  Alcoholic’s Anonymous. That is you work through each day at a time to stay sober.  But, I want to take the phrase and apply it to our retirement years, and maybe even the time outside those years.

2018-02-17_13-23-44.pngI am a dreamer.  That is a good thing, but it also can be a bad thing. I am constantly dreaming about what the future may hold for me. Yes, I continue to do that even in my senior years. Sometimes that dreaming crowds out what is going on around me at the time.

But the problem with just dreaming is that it is not the most fruitful way to spend your day. Dreaming is valuable but really not very productive.  For that reason, I have vowed live each day as it comes. As a person who has more days behind than ahead, I need to cherish each day as it comes. You never know when will be your last one.

When I say cherish I don’t mean that I have to go skydiving every day. But it does mean doing something fruitful with the current 24 hours. Sometimes that means blogging here on RJsCorner, sometimes it means reading a book, and yes sometimes it means just enjoying the beauty around me.  But what it doesn’t mean is to spend the day on the couch glued to whatever TV show I can find. It doesn’t mean feeling sorry for myself because of an ongoing health issue. It means “living” one day at a time and being able to look back on each day and say “I accomplished something”.

Life, especially for us seniors, is just too short to slither the days away with meaningless dribble.  Don’t waste a single day of your life as you will never get it back…



A One-Armed Economist…

This post is going to be about the economy and how the stock market has been acting lately.  Don’t expect me to give you some sage advice about where to invest your retirement money. I would likely be wrong if I even attempted that. Nope, what I am going to talk about is how the stock market has acted throughout history. I think I do know a thing or two about history, but don’t even count on that.

We all know that historically the stock market almost always does better in Democratic administrations than Republican. Why that is I don’t have the foggiest idea because at least in the last 3 or 4 decades the Republicans are the party for the rich and we all know that a significant majority of stocks are owned by the rich.  Every CEO seems to get millions of new shares every year lately. Another example is to look at the latest tax fraud, oh wait a minute, they call it a tax break for the rich of which we seniors I guess are supposed to pay for with our reduced monthly social security checks.

But if you think about it very much you will probably figure out that the rich get richer no matter who is in charge of the government.  They just have a way of getting their desires, and their desires are almost always about money, no matter what.

Ok, I will finally get to the reason behind the title of this quote. It came from Harry Truman. He made the comment “All my economists say on the one hand, but on the other…”  To that remark, he said, “give me a one-armed economist” 🙂  That is what we need in today’s world, one-armed economists. Someone who doesn’t mince their words.

Let’s finish off this post with some more words of wisdom from Harry


Christianist Cult of Trump…

I will admit up front here that I cherry-picked the quotes below and the Facebook shot from a very long, agonizingly long, article from a Catholic site entitled Patheos.  The author is Mark Shea who is evidently a regular contributor to that venue.

The gun debate is an obvious case in point.  Virtually everything I have had to say about it turns on a very fundamental moral point, summed up here:


The Christianist cult of Trump advertises itself to the world as the face of Real Christianity.  So proud is it that it routinely declares the pope a heretic as it cheers for the lies, corruption and sometimes appalling cruelties to the poor and contempt for common decency that characterize this Administration.  And the world watches and believes them when they say they are the true representatives of the gospel. They see when Christians give Trump a mulligan for fornicating with porn stars and join in declaring his victims to be liars. They see every lie and cruelty excused and know Christianists are full of crap.

via Why Don’t you Talk about Theology Instead of Politics, Mark?

Like many theologians, the author just can’t seem to come to the point directly. He needs to circle around it many times. But I think what I pulled out of the post is tantamount to what “Christianist cult of Trump” is doing to damage the face of Christianity.

But then again I firmly pray that these cult members are actually a minority fringe whose time will come.

I want to close out this post with another quote re-inforcing the damage these fringe groups are doing.

2018-02-25_11-58-04.pngAt a certain point in “God and Donald Trump,” the recent theological gymnastics on display from Tony Perkins and Jerry Falwell, Jr., among others, to explain ongoing conservative Christian support for a president who (allegedly) paid off a porn star weeks before Election Day so she would keep quiet about their (alleged) affair become clear. There will be no point at which Trump’s most loyal evangelical and charismatic supporters declare they have had enough. Because to do so would be to admit that they were wrong, that God wasn’t behind Trump’s election, and that their Holy Spirit radar might be on the fritz. That it was, after all, about something as temporal and banal as hating his Democratic rival.

via Millions of Americans Believe God Made Trump President – POLITICO Magazine

Of course, they are wrong that God put Trump in the Oval Office.  We now know that Russian trollers did it. 🙂  Will there come a point in time when Christianity will totally morph into a political organization without any reference to the spiritual one or even to the messages of Jesus? Will the word “Christian” like the word “gay” become something totally different than its previous definition? The jury is still out on that.


What To Do about Extreme Poverty In The USA?

When you think about extreme poverty I’m sure you mostly think of third world countries. It is hard to imagine that over 3 million people in the US  live on less than $2 per day.

Appalachia.jpgAccording to the World Bank, 769 million people lived on less than $1.90 a day in 2013; they are the world’s very poorest. Of these, 3.2 million live in the United States, and 3.3 million in other high-income countries (most in Italy, Japan and Spain)…

Even for the whole population, life expectancy in the United States is lower than we would expect given its national income, and there are places — the Mississippi Delta and much of Appalachia — where life expectancy is lower than in Bangladesh and Vietnam.

Source: The U.S. Can No Longer Hide From Its Deep Poverty Problem – The New York Times

What can be done with areas like Appalachia and the Mississippi Delta?  Or maybe even more importantly what should be done? I don’t pretend to have an answer to these questions but I do have more questions about the topic. I’m not an expert by any stretch of the imagination in this topic so I am only speaking from logic or maybe from my heart. Empathy drives much of what I am especially at this period in my life.

Appalachia-3.jpgAlthough I have not experienced being in either of these two regions to any extent, I have heard the stories and legends about them. They both seem to be areas that are totally lost in time.  When I was growing up with a single parent low wage dad I was poor but I didn’t really know that for a fact.  We ate a lot of spaghetti and such and usually only had meat a couple of times a week but that was normal for me and I assumed for most others.

I recently went to the Museum of Appalachia in eastern Tennessee and it proved to be an enlightening experience. I was made aware of the extreme pride some from that region have in their existence. But I also imagine that there are those who feel trapped in a lifestyle they were born into and can’t wait or more sadly figure out how to leave it.

Appalachia-2.jpgGetting to the point of this post, what can or maybe should we do about the extreme poverty in those particular regions? Since we are a capitalist country we can’t dictate that businesses open up factories and stores in the region to give the folks there more opportunities. Simply handing out money is not an option that many there would likely accept? Without a lot of thought, I’m not sure there is much to be done.

Somehow we need to make sure that those who live in these regions know that there are opportunities outside their area if they have the will to leave. Beyond that, I’m not sure that there is an answer to my original questions.