Breaking Gridlock…

Hey, I’m not ashamed to give someone credit for things that are accomplished even if it was only by accident or maybe serendipity. So, congratulations President Trump on starting to break the gridlock that has kidnapped our nation’s capitol for far too long. The GOP is starting to scream “He wants to work with the DEMOCRATS!!!” “WE HAVE BEEN BETRAYED!!” To all that I say It is about time.

We knew going in that Trump was neither a Republican or a Democrat. The only thing he is for is to make himself look good. Nothing else really matters to him and I mean nothing else. That fact is obvious to anyone with an objective take on this alternative reality. But who says two wrongs don’t eventually make a right? Putting Trump in office and letting him betray the party that put him there just might solve some of the fundamental problems inside the beltway.

Bernie Sanders and others have brought forth the proposition that an independent in the Oval Office who is not of either party is someone who can force the two bickering parties to “play well”. He can propose legislation that at least some of both parties can accept.

canstockphoto9691431.jpgSo, I celebrate Mr. Trump’s success in making a deal with the Democrats even to the total dismay of the GOP.  Maybe this is the beginning of a successful Trump strategy.  I am certainly a dreamer aren’t I? 🙂

If nothing else these limited successes, however long they last, will show us what an independent and competent  person could do with Oval Office power and that just might give an independent a chance in the 2020 election..

 

For Good Men To Do Nothing..

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

Edmund Burke

slice8  I don’t necessarily call, at least yet, our current times evil but none the less the Edmund Burke quote above applies to where we are as a country. Too many of us decided to sit out the last election cycle and what we got is the result.  I certainly hope that this is a lesson learned and election participation increases dramatically in the coming years. We can no longer allow a radical fringe minority to choose our country’s leadership.

Good men doing nothing is basically the cause for much of the evil in the past. Hitler’s rise to power is a result of  Germans thinking that he will go away on his own.  But the stronger he got the less able they were to do anything about it.  I know many in that period who supported him say they were just stuck in the times but to me that is a pretty lame excuse much the same as those who now lament that they pulled the GOP lever the last time around.

How could people just ignore the fact that Hitler was exterminating millions in gas chambers in their backyard!! How could they do nothing!! But, there is a different lesson learned from those times and that is that we as a world have been in much deeper straights than we are presently. There are too many today who seemingly have given up that times will be better.  They have given up hope that we will continue striving to be a “Brother’s keeper” nation as Jesus demanded of us.  All we need to do is to look back at those times and then look to where Germany is today.  They are now the Europe’s leader and may someday be the world leader.

Don’t give up hope that things will get better. Instead as good men and women, rise up and do something about it. I will bookend this post with another famous quote and this one is from Gandhi.

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Hope Is Sweeter Than Despair

My recently adopted theme for my life is Hope Is Sweeter Than Despair 

These words were written by Thomas Jefferson in one of his many letters written in 1786. That was ten years after our Declaration of Independence and three years after it was actually obtained by a bloody war.  Jefferson was in Paris at the time as one of our first ambassadors.  It would be another year before our Constitution was ratified and put into law.  The letter was basically a very long love letter to Maria Cosway but as is often the case it reflected the feelings of his soul.  Much of the letter was written around the idea that the heart says one thing while the head says another.

I take heart in those words as they relate to our current circumstances. There are many around our country today who despair of the current times. There is a totally unqualified person in the Oval Office, a Congress has been  stuck in a total gridlock mode for several years, and so many have almost given up any hope that things can and will get better.

canstockphoto10092654.jpgBut to me “Hope is sweeter than despair”. I simply can’t live with the possibility of today becoming the new norm for our country.  When one of my fellow bloggers who I probably admire the most proclaims that “Empathy is dead in our government” it shocked me to no end. This person is usually a very upbeat soul who blogs that anyone can have a happy and satisfying retirement and then helps us to understand how to make that happen. He is now basically saying that we are all on our own as the future will be “survival of the fittest” so you have to take care of yourself.

A world without empathy is not a world I care to live in and since I don’t plan on going anywhere else for the immediate future I refuse to fret about that possibility.  I will cling to my hope that these times are an anomaly that will soon fail under its own weight. To relate that belief I will start blogging here about how we have faced dark periods in our past as a country and managed to survive them.  I will humbly try to give my readers hope to replace the despair in their lives. Yes, things are bad now but they have been bad in the past and we survived them and we will survive these current times and have much better times ahead.

We Have No Purpose Anymore..

Banner Having Y Say    I have to admit up front that for much of my life I just didn’t really know what I wanted to do when I “grew up”. Strangely, it wasn’t until several years into my retirement that I finally put that question to rest. So, I am NOT the poster child for gaining purpose in life, but maybe my shortcomings in this area might be a lesson for others.

canstockphoto2256888.jpgA fundamental problem with this country and many others around the world is that too many just don’t have any idea what the meaning of our country is supposed to be about? Without this foundation, every bad thing that happens causes ever-increasing cynicism and selfishness. There is no hope because there is no overall vision for what we want our country to be. Positive thinking seems to have almost vanished in the world today. Maybe even more tragically, there are those who have come to a conclusion about purpose and their answer is simply too self-centered to be of value.

You would think that a country where so many claim it to be a Christian nation they would use the words of Jesus to find their country’s purpose. But that just doesn’t seem to be a reality even in those who consider themselves to be religious. Too many seem to be able to lock the teachings of Jesus into a neat bundle that is brought out on Sunday and then locked back in a box on Monday. Too many others have turned their religion into a political agenda that excludes any concept of “brother’s keeper”and is about making enemies rather than brothers. But there is hope in this area as religious organizations, especially those of the Radical Right variety are shrinking due to lack of young people buying into their convoluted rhetoric. They label them as hypocrites, as they actually are.

When purpose is lost, especially for a country, hope is usually also lost in the process. I think that’s kind of where we are today.

Fear vs Hope..

Banner Having Y Say It seems my recent brush with death has left me with a different attitude toward life.  We are tragically wasting our lives with our obsession with fear when instead we should be celebrating all the reasons that hope is on our horizon.

This should be an age of hope. We are advancing so rapidly in the areas of medicine and technology as to make our future a bright one. Soon we will no longer have to worry about cancer or any number of other infirmities. We will be solving those puzzles with our knowledge of the genome.

Technology is replacing the need for human manual labor in so many areas. Once we text-2055651_640.jpgrecognize that a person does not need to put in a 40 hour week to be determined valuable we can move beyond that 100-year-old paradigm. Voice recognition has made major improvements in the last year or so. For me, that means closed captioning is almost real-time and more accurate than it ever has been. Anyone that uses a smartphone knows that voice-to-text is also getting much more accurate. I suspect that in the near future a universal translator will be on the scene. That will mean that we can go anywhere in the world and fully communicate despite language barriers. Our future is bright indeed.

fear-2083653_640.jpgBut for far too many of us our world is a world of fear. We fear others that are different from us. We think their overlying purpose is to do us harm. Republicans hate Democrats, progressives have conservatives. Our fear list is almost unlimited. The current U.S. Federal administration is all about fear. They are seriously considering drastically increasing an already absurd military budget while making some draconian cuts to brother’s keeper issues. Everything seems to be about fear now. Hope has moved to a back burner when it should be on the forefront.

What will it take to turn this around? A paradigm shift probably. Generally, you can’t decide to do a paradigm shift, it just happens when the right circumstances occur. Instead of letting our fear dominate our lives we need to just “get over it”. We were much closer to armageddon when I was a child in the 1960s than we are now. Almost everything was more dangerous then. I am a big believer in learning from history so we don’t have to constantly learn the same lessons over and over again.

Yes, a handful of bad guys killed a few thousand of us almost seventeen years ago but that is a very small number considering many other things. Let’s not fixate on bad guys, they have always been around and always will, be but being paranoia consume us is really letting them win. A terrorist’s sole purpose is to strike fear in those they hate. We are giving them exactly what they want by our obsession with fear.