The Next President

A Well-Informed Electorate Is a Prerequisite for Democracy

I have let it be known many times here at RJsCorner that I believe the main reason we have survived as long as we have as a country is because of the wisdom of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Their words put a firm foundations under our democracy. The Jefferson quote above may just be the most important one he gave us concerning the future of our democracy in our current days.

It has been about three months now that I have boycotted everything to do with politics. The primary reason for that boycott is the despicable person who currently occupies the Oval Office. He seems determined to destroy what Jefferson and Madison worked so hard to establish. Do I let this incompetent idiot keep my from being well-informed? NO! I think it’s time to go back into the arena with some strict rules.

The first and foremost rule is that I will not discuss anything that comes out of aforementioned person’s mouth or tweets. Secondly, I will not discuss the things he attempts to do. Nor, will I discuss the how the GOP seems determined in aiding him in his attempts to turn our democracy into an autocracy. These are the primary things that drove me toward the depression abyss that seems to surround these times.

Instead I will be concentrating on the next president and evaluating the people and their stands who seek to restore sanity to the Oval Office. Any of the 20 could do a better job than its current occupant. I wish I had a presidential candidate in the GOP to look at, but sadly that doesn’t seem likely now. There are currently 20+ candidates on the Democrat ticket that they and their stands need to be evaluated in the next eight months or so in order for us to make a well-informed choice.

In order to differentiate these discussions from the raw politics of my past rhetoric I am setting us a new category called “The Next President”. To sum it up, I have decided that I won’t throw the baby out with the bath water so to speak. We need to make sure that at least we progressives and moderates are informed when we go to the polls in the 2020 primaries. We need to make absolutely sure that we are not replacing one incompetent idiot for another.

I would love to hear from you some other possible discussions in this new arena.

The Twilight Of Democracy?

Is democracy going to be that short 250 year period in earth’s history when we thought people could rule themselves? Given what has been happening the last decade or so, it seems we might not not up to the task. In the beginning of our American democracy Thomas Jefferson said:

Are we up to that task today? It seems not. We in the US allowed a completely incompetent con-man to snake his way into the Oval Office. Anyone who cared to do even a minimal amount of study would have found that he was totally unprepared for the job. He is there primarily because of a non-informed electorate.

For the most part the world has been ruled by the elite few, for almost all of its history. If you don’t believe me just look at all the kingdoms and dictatorships that have come and gone throughout our history. Even the eras of history are named after the prominent rulers of that age.

Utopian societies have come and gone throughout American history. Everyone thinks they can form the perfect government by going off into the wilderness and fashioning their own society. I have been studying these types of communities for quite a while now and one thing most have in common is that they don’t last more than a decade or so before they are abandoned. Why that was so is primarily because factions developed in the community and they started fighting with each other. Everyone seems to think that their view of the world is the only one can can result in utopia.

It seems that one democracy after another is in trouble now. The US has an inept president. Canada is struggling because its prime minister seemingly did a favor for a private company. Britain is on the verge of a crisis, trying to divest itself from the rest of Europe. France is crumbling due to the citizenry failing to embrace long term planning.

The world’s democracies are in trouble. Will the coming decades mark their end?

Ignorance Of The Law

With all the cards beginning to fall around the Oval Office, it is hard to see how its current occupant will survive even one term in office. His daily lies about almost everything are now coming down to “I didn’t know it was against the law…” That argument has been tried many times over the history of our country but is struck down by the founders as being totally invalid.

Ignorance of the law is no excuse.  That is a saying that goes back all the way to the founders of this country.  Just because you don’t know about a law doesn’t mean that you can break it without immunity. 

I know that he says that he is a “really smart” guy but his actions in so many arenas show he is totally ignorant on just about any topic except glorifying himself with his “How Great I Am” rallies and spending his daddy’s  $400 million of tax avoided inheritance and managing to make some limited successful investments amid numerous bankruptcies. 

But the sad thing about this is the way he has destroyed the Republican Party and even sadder how they in Congress now blindly follow him regardless of the damage he has done.  When there proves to be overwhelming evidence of his disregard for laws will they continue their loyalty to him? 

I would like to think that in the Post-Trump years we will manage to get back to something remotely normal in our country, but I am beginning to believe that may not be possible even now.

What do you think the Post-Trump years will be like?

Seeing Them For Who They Are…

For this “Seeking-Wisdom” post, I want to try and bust a few bubbles before diving into this category much further.

We all must recognize that the inspirational figures in our lives are for the most part like all of us in that they are multifaceted. They have characteristics beyond those that inspire us.  For instance, Thomas Jefferson is one of my top sources of seeking wisdom. Even today, 200+ years after they were written,  his writing and insight simply astound me!  But then there is the fact that he was a slaveholder who likely fathered several children from his “visits” to his slave quarters! Does that take away from his writings? In some ways, it has to but we need to realize that our heroes often lived in different times and standards. It’s not much of an excuse but… 

Then again, sometimes the history books just got it wrong for one reason or another. They say the history is written by the winners in all conflicts and the “truth” often reflects that fact. One of the primary examples of this is Christopher Columbus. It is now known that he was a money hungry bigotted tyrant who had no respect for the inhabitants he encountered.  In cases like this and possibly the southern Civil War “heroes” we need to disenfranchise ourselves from those who didn’t deserve it in the first place. 

To close these thoughts out, we need to see our heroes for who they are, not what we want them to be. Sometimes that is incredibly hard one for me to do.

Orchids & Democracies

2018-04-08_15-31-46.pngThis being a primary election day here in Indiana, democracies are on my mind. Two of the most beautiful and delicate things in the world are orchids and democracies. They both need constant nurturing to thrive. An orchid needs the right light and temperature. It needs constant watering or it will die on the vine. The same thing is true for democracies.

Too many in this country seem to think that our democracy is as rugged as Rambo.  We can mistreat it and ignore it and it will always come fighting back.  If you want to see the fallacy of that belief just look around the world at various country’s attempts to maintain a democracy. The most obvious example right now is Russia.  When the iron curtain finally fell, Russia claimed that it would be a democracy. But that dream has pretty much been squashed.  One inept leader after another tried to make it so but since a former KGB agent took the helm, the idea of a Russian democracy pretty much has vanished.

Thomas Jefferson stated that an informed electorate is absolutely essential for a democracy to exist. Sadly, an informed electorate seems to have at least temporarily vanished from the American landscape. Too many latched on to one con-man or another with promises they can’t and don’t intend to keep. Too many of us are just too lazy to do the work to weed out the cons from the Patriots. We are currently living with the consequences of that most recent failure.

Being that so many still don’t seem to understand the threat is more evidence that we are not as stable as many believe. All of us need to get involved in caring for our delicate democracy.

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The Kingdom Of God… And Leo Tolstoy

I seem to be getting a bit of flack lately about my spiritual beliefs that run counter to most of the churches today. To help understand where I come from I am bringing back some quotes from Leo Tolstoy I used in 2012. They pretty much tell my story:

From: The Kingdom of God is Within You by Leo Tolstoy  1894 

2018-01-17_14-58-50.pngBut Christ could not have founded the Church, that is, what we now understand by that word. For nothing like the idea of the Church as we know it now, with its sacraments, miracles, and above all its claim to infallibility, is to be found either in Christ’s words or in the ideas of the men of that time. The fact that men called what was formed afterward by the same word as Christ used for something totally different, does not give them the right to assert that Christ founded the one, true Church. Besides, if Christ had really founded such an institution as the Church for the foundation of all his teaching and the whole faith, he would certainly have described this institution clearly and definitely, and would have given the only true Church, besides tales of miracles, which are used to support every kind of superstition, some tokens so unmistakable that no doubt of its genuineness could ever have arisen. But nothing of the sort was done by him. And there have been and still are different institutions, each calling itself the true Church…..

It is terrible to think what the churches do to men. But if one imagines oneself in the position of the men who constitute the Church, we see they could not act differently. The churches are placed in a dilemma: the Sermon on the Mount or the Nicene Creed–the one excludes the other. If a man sincerely believes in the Sermon on the Mount, the Nicene Creed must inevitably lose all meaning and significance for him, and the Church and its representatives together with it. If a man believes in the Nicene Creed, that is, in the Church, that is, in those who call themselves its representatives, the Sermon on the Mount becomes superfluous for him. And therefore the churches cannot but make every possible effort to obscure the meaning of the Sermon on the Mount, and to attract men to themselves. It is only due to the intense zeal of the churches in this direction that the influence of the churches has lasted hitherto.

Let the Church stop its work of hypnotizing the masses, and deceiving children even for the briefest interval of time, and men would begin to understand Christ’s teaching. But this understanding will be the end of the churches and all their influence. And therefore the churches will not for an instant relax their zeal in the business of hypnotizing grown-up people and deceiving children. This, then, is the work of the churches: to instill a false interpretation of Christ’s teaching into men, and to prevent a true interpretation of it for the majority of so- called believers.

Thomas Jefferson like Tolstoy created his own bible based almost totally on the words of Jesus. He also believed that Jesus came to earth with a clear message for us but after he left, men add a bunch of rules to make everything complicated. Both men attribute much of that to the Apostle Paul.  After diligently studying both men I have become aligned with them.  The Sermon on the Mount should be the primary thing that guides a Christian’s life, not a bunch of manmade rules.

Since God gave man free will, it is up to each of us to come to a personal understanding of him and for the things he wants us to accomplish while on this earth.

The Dreams Of The Future..

slice8.png   Thomas Jefferson is my favorite writer of all time.  He was not a good public speaker but he sure knew how to put pen to paper. He was also a very prolific writer. His archive spans thousands of letters and treatises about a wide variety of topics.  He loved studying history as his library showed but more so he loved dreaming of the future.

I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past. So good night! I will dream on.

Thomas Jefferson to John Adams August 1, 1816

Anyone who has been around RJsCorner know that I proudly share several of the traits above with Jefferson.  Because of my Aspergers traits I am not a good speaker. It just doesn’t come naturally to me. But I am constantly thinking and writing about what is on my mine.  I kind of let a milestone go by here in that I wrote my 3,000th post here a few months ago. I never dreamed I would occupy RJsCorner as long as I have! All my life, or at least since Mr. Shuler, my high school history teacher, got me hooked I have studied American history. Up until a few years ago the ten foot wide bookshelf here in my study was filled with history books, now I have many in e-book form on my Kindle reader.

canstockphoto22029090.jpgBut most of all I am a dreamer of the future. For that reason I refuse to believe that our current dark times are here to stay. Like so often in the past the sun will eventually come up again in America. We have many good days ahead of us. But to make that happen all of us not on the fringes of society need to take back our government processes via the vote. We can no longer allow the fringes, neither left nor right, to elect our leaders who will decide the direction we take. As being proved now, that is just too dangerous a scheme.

Most of the problems we face today including healthcare for all, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, full employment are very solvable problems once we break the gridlock that is preventing us for implementing the solutions. All we have to do is to get over our stubbornness of thinking we have to invent everything and then to look for shining examples from the rest of the world to see a path forward in these areas.

The future is bright indeed if only we take the steps necessary to make it happen.

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.