Sunday, September 28, 2014

Idiot or Master Planner?

The controversial aspects of the Presidency or any governmental leadership at or near the top have both its supporters and detractors.  There are some who say these leaders have no real influence on society as a whole while others are adamant in pointing to the good or evil influences of those same leaders.  History is the guideline for determining past influences but even historical records can be flouted and changed making even our past, subject to interpretation, as I think it has always been.

But the determination of what makes a president influential depends almost entirely on the pulse of the people at the time of their reign.  How a nation or people feel about a leader after the fact really makes no difference in understanding the profound influences that leader had during his or her tenure in office. 

If you’re liberal you look upon Franklin Delano Roosevelt with extreme admiration for the very same reasons that a conservative might look upon him as the devil incarnate.  The same is true with Ronald Wilson Reagan (even though he was an actor that was his true given name) who had a polarizing effect on his detractors and a magnetic influence over those who looked up to him and his positive outlook.  In both instances the history of how we felt has nothing to do with what we currently believe, even if what we now believe is exactly what we think we believed back then…Wow that sounds positively Freudian…or maybe it just makes no sense whatsoever.

The point I’m trying to make is that during a leaders leadership the mood of the people is strongly swayed though an emotional response to whatever stimulus is portrayed though the media, discussions and feelings about whatever issues are forefront in our minds at the time, and has very little to do with the facts or the reality of that particular time. 

There is an important distinction that needs to be addressed and that is that facts are not disputable.  There may be disagreements about what constitutes a fact but when a fact is formalized and quantified it morphs into a truth and truths are not debatable.  You may not like the truth or you may not be able to “handle” the truth but truth is a constant and I should mention a rare event in our world of constant information overload.  So even though facts may not have much of an impact on our current opinions of a sitting leader those facts when constituted do show the reality of those impacts and influences.

What does that have to do with how leaders influence their respective countries?  I’m glad you asked.  This is obviously my opinion and sense I am the author of this piece then I have the right to bloviate and pontificate, even if just a little.  President Obama has had a profound influence for both those who follow him religiously and for those who for religious reasons do not.  The fractured electorate may be some indication but they seem to always be a bit fractured and are almost always on the verge of a complete severance of sanity so they cannot be used as a good example of that influence. 

On the other hand the people in the country have been splintered and separated far more so than in recent generations, giving strong indication that during his leadership his words and his actions have influenced the way we as a people act and respond.  We are less inclined toward kindness and goodness, we are more susceptible to negativity and race related issues.  We are more selfish and less giving.  Is all this directly related to Obama, probably not but one could make the inference because of him, we are what we are.

History will record whatever those in power want to portray but the reality; ok my reality is that during these past 6 years our country has plunged into immorality, selfishness and separatism in such a dramatic way that the only standard factor of influence has to be Barrack Hussein Obama.  It is his example and the influences of those he surrounds himself with that have created the issues of our day. 
Rush Limbaugh wished that he, Obama, would fail as a president and at the time I thought that was a mean thing to say, give Obama a chance.  But Limbaugh is right; I wish he would have failed instead of succeeding gloriously at almost everything he believed in.  Obama has succeeded in creating a level of hate between races that hasn’t existed since the sixties.  He has transformed our government into a weak and untrustworthy partner for those other countries who have relied upon our goodness and mercy (don’t go there, I know we have issues and we’re not a perfect country but there is no one even close to what we are in the area of support, democracy and individual rights, no one, so forget about your stupid little quips about Sweden’s health care or Holland’s drug laws…)

Obama has taken a bad situation and thrown mud over it, spit upon it and then stopped on it ‘tell it can barely move.  He spouts honesty and openness but is the most secretive and divisive leader in three generation, since Woodrow Wilson.  He has done nothing to increase our security and in fact has gutted our military and increased our dependence on foreign oil by supporting failed solar projects hamstringing coal production and stopping important oil projects.  He has overseen the expanding debt to an unprecedented 6.5 trillion and for those in special education classes that’s 6,500,000,000,000. And to those who say so what?
  President-elect Barack Obama said Tuesday the deficit appears on track to hit $1 trillion soon. Speaking to reporters after meeting with top economic aides, Mr. Obama said: "Potentially we've got trillion-dollar deficits for years to come, even with the economic recovery that we are working on."
— Associated Press, Jan. 6  ......What economic recovery?

He knew back then what a trillion was and he knows now what 6.5 trillion does and will continue to do to our economy and yet he has acted not toward reducing those numbers but toward inflating them, a purposeful act.

Under this president (that would be Obama) our country for the first time has more Americans receiving government aide than those who are employed full time.  At the same time he has gone on a spending spree that makes drunken sailor look like an altar boy, using the printing press to finance his spending, saddling future generations with a debt so large that it may never be repaid and causing our credit rating to hit an historic low.

From Benghazi to Travon Martin, to Obama Care, he has divided the country and in that division has succeeded in conquering his detractors while literally transforming foundationally the precepts of this once great country.   I too wish he had failed but his successful presidency has overcome and has dominated every aspect of our lives changing who we are, what we are, what we can do and possibly who we can become. 

Can we as a people overcome what has been done to us?  That is the question of the day.  I think we can but it will be a fight and a struggle to overcome what has been placed in our way.  The worst part is that most of our leaders actually like what Obama has done, it only makes their jobs easier, even if it continues to make our lives less livable.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

To serve man

When you are asked to serve, and it really doesn’t matter what, what is your response?     Not now, I don’t have the time, I’m too busy, I did it last week, I’ll just get in the way or just say no…Maybe your one of the few who actually says yes.  Can you imagine if everyone said yes all the time, every request for service would be filled to overflowing.

This may be a bit on the dreamy side but really try to imagine if everyone who needed service got it and that is just for those who had the courage to ask.  Now imagine if everyone, not just service organizations or companies looking for extra help, good and honest help mind you, but what if every individuals needs were met and service to each and every one of them was performed.  No one’s needs would be forgotten or left undone and the entire community would be filled with the happiness of both the giver and the receiver.

Grass would  cut, trash picked up, weeds removed, food delivered and smiles shared, there would be arms to hang on and shoulders to cry on, faces to look up to and hands to hold,  legs to run errands and fingers to caress and the entire community would be as one.  There would be no poor among us, nor would there be any in need or desperate, there would only be the served and the servant and all of us would become a Zion People.

When the program “Just Serve” (an LDS, the mormons, program) was first introduced it was started as “Helping hands” and all I had to worry about was serving one day per year, I could do that, plus I got a T-shirt to wear.  But now with “Just Serve” the responsibility not only falls on me but requires a commitment to show up and follow through, how can one “Just Serve” if he doesn’t show up, plus I doubt their giving out T-shirts?

This is a new level of thinking, a new paradigm of responsibility and brings new meaning to the scripture “If ye have served the least of my brethren, ye have served me”.  There is a new definition to service that not only asks us to share our time and talents but an opportunity to not only serve our brothers and sisters but to directly serve the Lord. 

Who amongst us would not be comfortable in asking one of our children to help another of our children if we as parents were unable or unavailable?  We would do so directly if we could but when the service is needed the service needs to be done and if a sibling can help, so be it.  Do we feel guilty asking for their help, of course not, would we help if we could, absolutely?  As sibling would you deny your parents request, not likely and you would serve as if you were your parent, doing what is right and needful.

We have been asked by our Father to serve our Brothers and Sisters and his children and in so doing we are serving our God.  Whether it is a simply phone call made to help another or fixing a roof of a needy widow.  If it’s spending time with the elderly or babysitting for others they are all our brothers and sisters, in the church or out of the church, we are all family.

I have to admit that having to be asked to serve more, when I already have a large family was at first like asking me to be a better parent, I’m doing the best I can and I’m not even sure what I can do to be better.   I know I can be better, we all can; I just wasn’t prepared to be asked to step up to the plate without even going into the batter’s box.  But the prospect of having to make that change now and serve more…NOW, was a bit overwhelming.

And then I started to think…I know here he goes again…but think about it…When is the best time to step up?  Yesterday would have been great, a life time ago would have been better I’m sure.  Tomorrow may be too late, so all we have left is NOW and the Lord knows it’s this now that is the most important, and just to let you know that I’m not just blowing smoke or swinging my bat in the batter’s box, I did log onto the site for Just Serve and I did make a call to the Perris Train Museum and I will (most likely, if time permits, if the weathers nice, if, if, if) show up and serve in some capacity.

If we all did just one thing for someone else Zion I suspect would not be that far away…

Friday, September 19, 2014

rtdezine: I didn't do Anything!

Yesterday my wife comes home and has this look on her face ….It’s at this point that I start to get worried.  What did I do, how much trouble am I in and does it really matter if I don’t know what it is, aren’t I supposed to know what I’ve done, even if I don’t have a clue? My mind is racing for those patterns of excuses that most men have tucked away deep inside for such an occasion….Even for those “I didn’t do anything” moments the fear that we will get caught is a constant fear.

I think she could see the look of impending doom and despair on my face as I struggled with trying to grasp the severity of a situation I had no clue about  (this is a good point to explain that even if we don’t know what we did wrong, or even if we think we did nothing wrong that primeval gene lingers in our brains forcing us to think we’re in trouble, even when we’re not)  so she softens her voice and proceeds to tell me that… the window on the driver side of the car won’t roll up….

Oh my gosh, it was like the world being lifted form Atlas’s shoulders; and for those of you who don’t know who Atlas was, he’s the guy holding up the world, just barely, as he struggles to maintain not only his balance but the balance of the world, trying his best to keep it from wobbling and crumbling to the ground.  I have to point out in this scenario of Greek Mythology that even though Atlas and others were considered Titans and they were God like, even as gods, didn’t he have to be standing on something while holding up the earth? 

From impending doom to a broken window the two do not compare in severity but how often do we project our own level of distress on minor mishaps creating apocalyptic feelings of anguish and related self imposed suffering and guilt.  We are it seems a negative people with a propensity toward the surrealistic and irrational with a tendency toward the most impossible and most improbable; “we’re all going to die…..”

That proverbial cup may indeed be half full but in our pessimistic and enthusiastically negative demeanor we see only that which is not there, instead we focus our eyes on what has passed, what has lapsed and what might happen, letting our minds wander while the reality of opportunity slips through our vision and our failing grasp.  

Over a few short decades we have transformed a positive outlook into the worst of everything.  We have the worst economy since the first caveman traded furs with a neighboring tribe.  We have the hottest weather, the ice is melting faster than ever, the ozone layer is thinning like never before, our rain forests will be gone in a week and bovine flatulence will kill us all if we don’t stop drinking milk…The gloom and doom of our everyday lives have become a habit of convenience, it’s easier to sell darkness and confusion rather than clarity and light.  Bad news sells, it always has.  Who really cares about the good stuff anyway?

Even I, the purveyor of these written words have succumbed to that murky and muddy consternation, letting my injuries and pain control that indomitable spirit, a spirit that exists in all of us, that desire to succeed and that overwhelming aspiration to live, not just subsist but to truly live and thrive.   The half empty glass is indeed half empty and yet at the same time it is half full telling anyone who will listen that you still have half of whatever it was that you were drinking and you now have the unique opportunity to fill the rest of the glass with whatever you like.  Please be careful what you mix with what you’ve got however, some chemical compositions can be very volatile. 

Thinking of the world in negative terms has become an industry of unparalleled success and not just in the form of dollars and cents, or pounds and pennies or whatever currency you’re currently using but the idea that selling negativity over glorified enthusiasm and hope not only makes lots and lots of money it has transformed out psyche and changed out moral outlook replacing it with the all too familiar “eat, drink and be Merry for tomorrow we die” mantra. 

At some level I can understand the relationship between getting what you can out of life, especially if you believe there is only a limited space of life in order to obtain those pleasures.  But on the other side of that sullied coin is the hope of things to come, the faith that all will be taken care of and that like the lilies in the field, we need not worry about the tragedies of life…for ours is but a speck of time, do not waste it on frivolity and favors…We have an eternity to seek and learn of ourselves but must pass through this small test first in order to prove that we can handle the reality that is life.
If we truly believe that life now is all we have then I do understand those who want to “get what they can” but from a logical perspective perhaps we should be thinking a bit differently.  Even if this life is all there is, is pleasure all that life has to offer?  Is selfishness the only way to temporal happiness?  And is gorging on life the only way to ensure that you at least had your part of the pie?

There is so much more.  The love we have for our children is never paralleled by the pleasures of a night on the town.  The feelings of joy from a loving wife or from a mother’s touch, a fathers approval can never be matched by those insignificant and fleeting, temporal pleasures.  Even if this is all we have and death brings nothing but that final darkness our time here can have meaning and purpose and can have a significant effect on those who we touch and caress, those we love and favor and for those who witness our kindness and service. 

That is after all what life is all about, is it not?