Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Follies of the Foolish

Image result for sexual harassment political cartoon
While visiting England in 1976 I was sitting on a bus, lower deck and an old man sat down in the spot next to mine.  He looked at me for a long 30 seconds, his eyes unblinking, red and tired looking.  I tried to hold his gaze, but I had to blink and then with a wry smile his eyes blinked and with feeling in his voice he said, “There is nothing so great as a well-conceived folly”

 I gave him a quizzical look and stammered out a polite thank you, but he was already on the move to his next objective.  For years I have kept that statement in my mind, often wondering why he sat next to me to impart those words just to leave.  It was only the ramblings of an old and seemingly addled man, so most of the time I only remembered the words and very rarely considered the meaning.

Perhaps it’s because I am getting older, but the meaning of this phrase has started to coalesce in my mind as well.  As we age we start to see life in the frame of what was rather than what it could be.  It is the ability to look back that expands our perspective of what was. We reach a level of clarity and focus our attention on what matters rather than what is right in front of us.

A well-conceived folly is the same as purposeful foolishness.  The examples of government spending billions for foolish ideas, foolish programs are apparent and mindboggling.  The amount of planning required is often well-conceived and purposeful with the intent of creating a burden or obligation that promotes the idea of a bureaucracy as great, so that it lives to sustain itself, at our expense.

This is perhaps the foundation of Socialism and global Tyranny (a cruel, unreasonable, or arbitrary use of power or control.) The problem with me saying that is that the socialist believer actually believes their perspective.  They think they are reasonable.  What we need is a new way to measure the outcome of differing social-political movements.  The problem with gauging one form of power over another comes down to the perception and ideology of the believer, which means that the only way to quantify one over the other has to be outcome-based, or in other words the end result of the entire economy, the people, their freedoms and free will, mixed with opportunity.   

The reason I mention personal liberty is primarily due to the effects on society that occur when those personal liberties are replaced with societal needs only.  You may want to ask yourself what good are freedoms if they are not available to you personally?  Also, the overall precepts of freedom mandate that if freedom is the goal then everyone must be equally available to those freedoms or by logical sequence the freedoms not given to some will eventually be taken from everyone.

There are serious concerns and problems with allowing everyone to exercise their rights of freedom, especially within those who only want to use those liberties to enhance their power over another.  Can you say political exceptionalism?

The folly of our current state of politics is in the power imbalance between those that govern and those who do not.  I am not suggesting that we convert to a purely democratic electorate, that would be a disaster.  Our Founding Fathers understood the need for representation and hoped that the Republic would continue to flourish through the process of elections based not on popularity but principle and ability.  We are a representative democracy, that ensures that the ebbs and flows of popularity are measured and tempered by a less volatile electorate.

This folly continues in the rampant abuses of those in power with a stark difference between those in politics and those who are not.  The politicians learned from Bill Clinton to hold their line, never admit or never give in, even if the accusations are true.  Morality, honor, integrity?  Who cares, as long as you can retain your position of power.  Judge Moore has decided to follow that lead.  He may be guiltless but in the past, those with morals would have decided to leave the party rather than tarnish it with the innuendo of a scandal.  Therein lies the difference between those with morals and integrity and those without.  I am not suggesting that Judge Moore is immoral only he knows that.

The well-conceived folly is the support for those behaviors and the silent acquiescence that allow those activities to continue and in many cases, expand.  “There is nothing so great as the well-conceived folly” but only when it is surrounded by those who profit or benefit from it, and there are many who turn a blind eye for their piece of the pie.

I feel for the old man who sat next to me years ago.  He had a vision of a despicable time.  He had the courage to speak out, but no one would listen, no one understood.  We are starting to understand now.  Let’s hope it’s not too late…

Thursday, November 23, 2017

The blessing of Gratitude

For many of my readers, the Thanksgiving Holiday means nothing more than overstuffed bellies from overcooked turkey and a day off from work to fight against and compete with ravenous crowds looking for a deal at Wal-Mart, or it's simply a day away from the daily drudgery that is our lives.

For those around the world, Thanksgiving holidays are generally a celebration of harvest, of the bounteous fairs from mother earth.  A few are religious in nature but all have succumbed to the ravages of modern cultural relativism and the United States is no different, having mostly lost the initial meaning of why we celebrate and why we devote a single day to giving thanks.

There must be things that each of us is grateful, small things perhaps, a little smile from a child or an adoring touch by a loved one.  This holiday regardless of where you’re from should be more than epicurean gluttony and sporting events; more than waiting in long lines for bargain shoppers.  The ability to give thanks is being lost during the very time we should be devoting our thoughts and actions toward magnanimous endeavors and introspective gratitude

Like so many others I am having some difficulty in defining gratitude.  Complaining is so much easier and garners the sympathy, if only for a short time, of others while creating a bubble of indifference between your personal problems and the not so obvious opportunities that surround us all.  Like the air we breathe, we are inundated with beauty and bounty and obvious greatness all around us.  Blindness and stubbornness cause an impaired inadequacy to see what is right in front of our eyes.  All we have to do is open our eyes and we shall see.

“When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
when you are discouraged, thinking all is lost.
Count your many blessing; count them one by one
and it will surprise what the Lord has done….”

This is a challenge in our day.  We are inundated with negativity, passiveness and an overall deleterious demeanor, making the good and beautiful hard to see.  One by one, one at a time is all it takes to change that negativity to opportunity and gratitude, a thanksgiving for what we have.  Difficult as it is the rewards are endless.

Wherever you may be, whatever your countries customs the cultural attitudes that created the Thanksgiving festivals can be recreated.  If not nationally, individually, the benefits of giving thanks can be accomplished one person at a time.  Open our hearts and our minds to the possibilities of gratitude, start with one, list it as a blessing and others will follow, filling your life with the reality of the gifts of life so abundant that you will not be able to count them a

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Judging Moore or less

Related imageJudge Roy Moore, the embattled Senate Candidate may be guilty, and he may not be.  His behaviors when he was younger were at best marginal.  No one, in a stable and right state of mind trolls for teenage girls at the age of 31.  Despite the laws of Alabama that allowed for consent at the age of 16 the decisions that Judge Moore made during those years brings his entire life into question.

What Roy Moore is being accused of, within the law, is not the question.  There is a morality, a societal expectation that has been crossed and Judge more has yet to explain his actions in a way that helps others to understand his reasoning, but the larger issue is when do we, all of us, forgive or start to forgive the actions of another?  I am not talking about the Weinstein’s of the world, for their actions fall into the category of unforgivable to such an extent that trusting them in almost every regard is beyond our ability, but forgiveness perhaps is not.   It is also apparent that we, the public, care very little about the rule of law when those who rule portion out to some and excoriate others not based on law but on whim and self-pleasure. 

There is a larger issue here, an issue that has transformed the face of this nation so profoundly that the very threads that hold us together are being systematically unraveled.  Thread by thread the standards that were once understood have become tattered to the point of shredding the tapestry that is America.

Determining the truth, about anything, has become a marginalized exercise of opinion, feelings and a situational, shifting paradigm.  Those that benefit from these variances of fact are those who do not want to be judged by what they do, what they’ve done or what they plan on doing in the future.  But they do want a continuation of the dismantling of what our Founders created so they can continue to act immorally and illegally; when there are no laws then no laws can be broken, that seems to be their justification and purpose.

I have no idea what motivated Judge Moore to date young girls, even if he did ask the parent’s permission, or what motivated the parents to agree.  I also wonder about the ideals of those who want to destroy him without the benefit of what he has accomplished in his life after those early years.  Is what we negatively do in life a permanent spot on our total existence, or is there a way toward forgiveness?  Are we so jaded and biased politically that regardless of what good a person has done, the negatives will always outweigh those good acts, leaving that person, or any of us stripped naked before the judgment bar of society with only our bad deeds emblazoned before us? 

It is this current political trend, a practice perfected by the Liberals to destroy the character of all who profess, act or live by moral standards.  There is a simplicity to standing on the sidelines screaming obscenities and accusing or condemning the actions of another, based on their standards, while others absolve themselves from any self-incrimination from their own malevolent actions.  Life should not be that simple.  It takes an effort to do good, it takes purpose to act responsibly and it takes a deep seeded desire to overcome the natural tendencies of Man.

The people of Alabama will decide if they want Judge Moore to represent them in the Senate.  The current polls tell us that he has a chance to overcome the seemingly negative smears on his character.  He may yet prevail but again the question of his innocence and culpability and the timing of these issues need to be considered.  

We have morphed into achieving our gains at any cost.  The Democrats are masters at achieving their goals by any means.  The Republicans are learning these tactics as well, creating an imbalance between the lives of their constituencies and their own selfish desire to remain in power.   The problem, however, is the trickle-down effects that eventually find their way into the minds and hearts of the general public.

We have already seen the effects of those from Hollywood as they accused their perpetrators of gross sexual misconduct.  These are powerful people who found it easy to exploit the often-misguided desires of others who wished for fame and fortune for their own base desires, with many others remaining quiet as they continued their lustful pursuits.

None of us are perfect and none of us should judge to such a degree that perfection is required.  But we should not be silent, we should not blindly move through life, ignorant of the dealings of others, pursuing our own goals despite the damage our inaction causes others.

We have lost our goodwill towards others who disagree with us because we have lost our will to do good.  Selfishly we align ourselves with others who agree with our short-sighted motivations and only do so as long as they agree.  This isn’t about compromise, this is about confrontation and victory and not just a victory but a total annihilation of opposing ideas, thoughts and any rules or laws that curtail their illicit and immoral actions and desires.

This is truly about Good vs Evil, not Democrat vs Republican.  We see similarities in both parties and an inexorable shift by both parties toward the outskirts of human decency.  What we need to do is fight back by creating in ourselves a strong desire to do good, to be honest, and kind and strong against the pervasiveness and rampant immorality. 

We need to think like warriors who are faced with overwhelming odds of a greater force, but with the knowledge and understanding that if we remain true we will be victorious.  We do not fight alone, and this battle will not be lost but we must stand and fight or else we have no chance to save our souls or our families.

Sunday, November 12, 2017


Image result for diversity cartoonDiversity is a mix of things, a variety, a mélange, it is a difference from the norm.  Diversity has become the variance that others are using to push their agenda, making the word diversity an encapsulation for politics, all we do, the jobs we seek, the way we talk and the opportunities before us.

Diversity sounds like a perfect precept for all to follow; who can disagree with wanting to live in a diverse and open culture?  Who wants to be accused of being the same as someone else or in agreement with the past, and who in their right mind would want to be accused of a singularity of thought or a desire to live in a certain way with others that feel the same? 

Diversity may sound like a utopian Shangri-La, that when achieved nothing is wrong, all opinions are accepted and no one’s actions are questioned or judged.  While being diverse in some situations is vitally important the same is true for homogeneity and equality.  Making a distinction between future events and actions based on one word is always a mistake and always leads to greater confusion and disagreement.  Using the word Diversity as a rallying cry against the sameness that has existed for millennia will cause serious repercussions from those who want to stay the same and for the sameness that will come from the common actions of those toward unseating our present system. 

This is less about the word diversity and more about those who want to control through intimidation and continue to demand changes to a system that works and has worked for over 200 years.  This country is not strong because of its diversity, it is diverse because of its strength and associated skills that all derive from the commonality of what we are and what we have achieved together by accepting and living within the confines of those endowed freedoms and rights.

The differences we have with others in this nation are also not the issue.  Those differences have always been here, we have always had some who disagree and want to overhaul the system, to replace it with something else.  Some move toward greater government control, some to a more anachronistic model but overall most like what we have and eventually push the others aside toward that model of sameness and consistency.

Wanting diversity as the end goal and the foundational principle of a society is like wanting a football team where all the players can choose what they want to do for each play.  All the talent combined on that team without the guidance of a unified voice would be ineffective, similar to the desires of those who proclaim that Anarchy would be needed in order to gain more organization. 

Having a diverse financial portfolio is probably a good thing but having diversity in who manages that portfolio is probably not.  We may like the diversity of our neighborhood or at our schools but without the commonality of the system that organizes the lessons, the police who watch the streets and the many other, daily functions that create a system of society, society could not function.  Diversity without order is chaos, which opens the discussion of why some are pushing diversity as a singular need within our society.

In the 1960’s our country faced a crisis like what we are seeing now.  Racial tensions were high, the Viet Nam War was raging, and the lack of leadership helped to propel this country away from the norms by those demanding more of this or less of that.  The entire country was embroiled by others moving in no direction accept away from where they thought they were.  This country’s very identity was in question.  Diversity was not the word of choice at that time.  Words like love and Peace were bandied about in response to the view of those who felt like there was not enough love or not enough peace.

The problem of the past and as it is now is in how the words are used and through the inadequate educational process that relies on standards and accepted practices to advance a scenario where standards and acceptance are not understood or used.  Diversity is only a word, but its current meaning encompasses an irrational acceptance of anything different and a refusal to accept the diversified opinions of those outside of a finite list of self-imposed standards, a term that is contradictory. 

The hypocritical stance of those who demand diversity and then impose penalties or establish laws is beyond comprehension.  These tactics are similar in almost every way to the Terror groups who proclaim peace but bomb their neighbors for believing differently. They are nothing more than a force of action to gain control through the process of terror and intimidation, followed by violence. 
This is not diversity, this is a singular ideological movement to limit the opinions of those they do not want to hear.  This is a group at war with the goal of total control and annihilation of all those who disagree with their singular message of hate, clouded by the flowery language of liberalism and more specifically the divisive words of inclusion by means of exclusion or in other words, diversity if you agree with them.

I personally like the idea of controlling everyone who is not, just like me. It’s so much easier to govern that way, don’t you think?

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Love and Hate

Related imageDriving through the waning fall colors of Northeastern Ohio with its tranquil brilliance I am prompted toward an emotional conclusion that true love is an essential component of happiness and joy.   Not easily defined or quantified, nor are those deductions the same as the others who drive the same streets, move in the same direction or even share a similar outlook on life.  I have been to this part of the country many times and each time, I am in awe over the grandeur that is this State, regardless of the weather.

Why do we Love, or why do we Hate?  I love Ohio, but do I want to live here.  How can you love something but not want it all the time?  The answer to that question depends on a variety of criteria that also seem to fall within the terms that assist us in determining whether we love or hate or feel something between those two diametrically opposed emotions.

Love is often a misunderstood feeling, being combined with pleasure and sex without the requirement of devotion and joy.  True love does not happen overnight, trust cannot be bought or sold it requires a measure of time and circumstance in order to flourish.  Love without trust and commitment on both sides of the equation is only half fulfilled and does not meet the requirements needed to sustain or satisfy love. 

Can we fall in love or fall out of love without actively working toward either result?  Love takes effort.  The amount of effort is dependent on the motivations of the individual and the motivations of the other party involved.  Too often we use the word love to describe the unhealthy motivations in order to selfishly profit from that relationship. 

True Love must include an unselfish desire to help, bolster, support and improve another.  There are no time constraints, no conditions, no scenarios that can interfere.  If we truly love something we sacrifice for that love by engaging positively in all respects for that individual.  The problems generally arise when the other party does not reciprocate in like manner, but our positive affirmations are not in vain and regardless of what the other party does, or feels our love grows and our capacity for love grows with it.

Like the winters of Ohio; they can be severe, unforgiving and miserable.  Love also is not always the tale of dreams and happy endings.  For in the reality that is our life we must acknowledge the possibility and promise of more to come.  Love does not die when we die, nor do we fail to exist.  But love is the power of remembrance and a connection to the faith that is our existence before, during and after this life.

Hate is opposite to Love in every way.  There is no support, no desire to see improvement, nothing but a selfish desire to use another for one’s personal pleasure.  The incremental step leading to love or hate will ultimately fill our lives. How we decide which to choose is often the difference between how we love or how we hate, how we progress or how we fail as human beings. 

In short, if we love someone we act on their behalf and for the purpose of expanding that love.  Hate is what occurs as a result of not loving. 

When I first met my wife, 37 years ago I thought I was in love and to a degree, I was, based on my understanding of what I believed love was.  37 years later I am more in love with my wife than I could have ever imagined possible when I was young.  Life has not always been easy, but we were both committed to the process of love and each other.  Like a muscle love grows, expands and changes as we change with it.

Hate also grows, expands and changes in severity as it is fostered and fed.  Those who promote hate do so from a selfish core, spreading their own hate to the heart of others to further feed their own needs toward control, inflicting pain, suffering, and misery. 

When we look at our politicians, our leaders and those who govern our affairs, who among them act out of love?  Even from an incremental manner, who have forsaken their selfish, hateful desires to serve those they represent? 

The problem with answering that question is in being able to discern our own motivations.  Do we act like our politicians, do we strive for loving relationships or are we more prone to selfishness and a hateful attitude of mine before theirs, or me over her, us over them?  It is obviously a trend to move in egotistical circles, demanding rather than sharing, shouting instead of listening or hating instead of loving.

The solution to these problems are not found in strategies, or manipulations or control, the solution has to be within the heart and the mind deciding to accept love as the motivator of all we do.  This does not mean that we become victims, powerless or we subject ourselves to the will of others.  Meekness is not weakness, it is not submissiveness to the hate of others.  Meekness is a strength, it is a resolve based on the power of love to do what is right so that others see the expansion of choices for all.

Politics has become the breeding ground for selfish motivations with politicians not serving those who elected them, but they serve themselves and get rich in the process.  They pass laws for us but are not subject to those same laws.  The entire system of checks and balances have been pulled off the scales and are no longer a reliable template for us or the world to rely on.

If the leaders fail to lead, we must lead for them but for that to happen we need to get our houses in order.  Our lives must be transformed from selfishness and greed to love and opportunity.  Our every choice can be expanded when we chose correctly.  Like the love I have for my wife and children, and sometimes for the beautiful state of Ohio, we all need to choose to love one another and that starts by understanding the difference between love and hate.