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Thursday, June 2, 2022

Children Depend on US!

      Up until recently, only a handful of depraved Americans would have ever argued that an 

individual's right to own anything was more sacred than the right to life itself - especially 

that of our children. 

     


  Our Constitution features: "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness." These were 

considered unalienable rights  to be given by God and  protected by our new government. 

The second amendment  was an add-on, just like the other twenty-six. It was never meant 

to be a guiding principle for our country or the foundation for a twenty billion dollar gun 

industry.

    


Custom coffins for childrenby Trey Ganem

    

  Throughout our history, there have always been those who have looked the other way or 

even rationalized the suffering of groups of people different than themselves.  However, 

when any agenda becomes more important than our most basic instinct to protect young 

children, we've crossed a pathetic threshold. When our most precious citizens are

massacred and the best our elected leaders can do is political posturing, we're witnessing

the demise of our society. Mowing down young kids is only the tip of the iceberg, but if that

preventable horror can't stir us to action, what can?




  Our survival demands genuine leaders who are more concerned with the safety and 

welfare of all Americans, than with stirring up their base to get more votes and power. And 

lest we not see it, guns are all about power, especially to those who feel powerless. No 

single leader can fix very complex societal problems on their own. However, a true servant

of the people would be reaching across any aisle to develop policies that would decrease 

this plague of violence. We need servants of the people, not disciples of the gun lobby and 

the NRA. 

   Please elect leaders who prioritize the welfare of our children.

           They Depend on US!

    

Monday, April 25, 2022

The Opposite of Being Poor , is Having Enough .



     
    It's fair to say that there are countless ideas of what the words "poor" and "enough" mean.  I'm reminded of  the late Supreme Court Justice Potter  Steward when trying to define "pornography".  He famously said something like - "I'll know it when I see it".  

     Images and hot button topics quickly come to mind when we think of "poverty" - maybe news coverage from Africa or the slums in your nearest city, food stamps, the homeless guy with the cup or the child depending on school lunches for her daily nutrition.  

     How about the word "enough"?  That's a tough one because so few of us ponder what that actually is. Wealth and "enough" are rarely considered synonyms.  I've met and worked with lots of people who, by all appearances, were dirt poor.  Whether it was in Ethiopia, or all across the USA, sprinkled among these common folk were those who had enough.  Just enough food, shelter, faith, companionship, love,  peace of mind,  and sense of purpose.  They were an inspiring lot.

     On most days I really believe I have enough.  The older I get however, the more I lose sleep over two groups - those who truly don't have enough and those who will never think they have enough.



 

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

                          Time to Change the Conversation!

     Here in the United States our survival as a democracy is in serious jeopardy.  Fear, anger, and a sense of despair have enveloped our collective psyche.  We're directionless and no single human being can steer us out of this mess.  The best that we can hope for, is that a CRITICAL MASS of  Americans would work together to change our country's trajectory.  Kind of like putting "The Hundredth Monkey" principles that Ken Keyes,  described - into action.

     Every citizen can point a blaming finger at someone else or some group.  It's quite easy and common to offer up overly simple solutions to very complex problems.  Band-aids have replaced the difficult work of identifying root causes of national crises.  We would much prefer to demonize and theorize than actually strategize - especially with those we're told are our enemies.  Mainstream media ratings and profits seem to be directly linked to the perpetuation of the "us and them" myth. 



     HOWEVER -  the last time I checked we are still -The UNITED States of America - and it is our duty to see that it stays that way. Anyone who has seriously pledged their allegiance to our flag has also vowed to support "...one nation under God, INDIVISIBLE with liberty and justice for all".   Social media and many news outlets have focused on that which divides at OUR expense whether or not we realize it.

      The status quo hasn't been working for everyday Americans.  Please note -dividing us is a tool that concentrates wealth and power - and guess who's been winning?

     Those who recognize that our country's problems are way bigger than politics and name calling, can take active parts in this dialog.  It's an enormous challenge but then again so is keeping a spirit of hope for our country in 2022.  Healing can't start until self-injury stops.

     To paraphrase Yogi Berra -

If you don't know where

    you want to go,

         You're not likely to get there.

     The path our nation has taken isn't sustainable.  I challenge YOU to share your DREAMS FOR AMERICA. 

     Let's start the conversation.

How would your America look different in 2035?

     



Thursday, February 10, 2022

Chasing our higher self -

     

     Virtually every day we make choices.  A significant portion of these affect the direction our entire day or even future goes. Should I watch an extra ten minutes of news, start a wood-working project, watch some screen, or shine some light into a dark place?  We all make these types of choices and some of us struggle periodically as we make them.

     If we follow the trends perpetuated by swarms of highly vocal people, life could become simpler.  Do you repeat to yourself daily - "Whatever makes my life better is all that matters?"  We've all been there at times, but it seems that some people reside there.  Life might seem easier when we focus on ourselves, or even our tribe, but is it actually better?  As we focus on ourselves, it's only natural to think about what others have.... and is it at our expense?  This obviously makes us angry and fear-filled as we recognize we could lose even more to those outside our tribe.  (If only I could start a "News" network that could weaponize and monetize this fear-mongering.  I'd be rich or become president!  But I digress.) 

     In the early 1960's President John F. Kennedy was best known for his challenge to Americans: "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country."  Over the next twenty years that morphed into Ronald Reagan's re-election campaign slogan: "Are you better off than four years ago?"  Fast forward to 2022,  we've lost all but a remnant of JFK's ideals.  Almost half the country is obsessed with personal freedoms, with complete disregard for the welfare of the most vulnerable in our midst.  As millions whine about losing their freedoms, on February 8th alone,  more Americans died from Covid complications  than from the terrorists attack on 9/11.  We fought two extremely long, bloody wars to make sure we'd  never have another attack like that and yet, nowadays many just callously accept thousands of needless deaths daily.  It's almost like a powerful voice is yelling: "Whine, whine and whine some more because you're being treated unfairly.   Nothing should trump YOUR freedoms."  

     Another 2300 Americans lost their lives yesterday.  Tiny acts of altruism would halve that number in six weeks, if we collectively chose to follow our higher selves.

Monday, October 18, 2021

 A Hundred A Day -   



   Her picture sets, upon my dresser.

          I can't look long, for my eyes overflow.

      I see Mom's mask, I know there's love there 

          but somehow the pain it never showed.


     I never knew the man she called "Dad".

          Word was he died, from some strange accident.

     But in Mom's last days, she said they'd argued -

                and that fight and that bottle were his last.

                      

                      WE never knew, the weight of guilt she carried

                             along with the armor of denial -

                      Mixed with the gin and the pills and such sadness

                              From fighting her personal war.


I read the papers - I see the obits,

     another young life lost "unexpectedly at home"


In our "Our Great Country", another hundred perish - every day,

     And so all alone.


                     Where is our outrage , what are we doing?

                           We're not even touching the sources of  pain.

                    Where are our hearts?  Our neighbors are dying

                           all we do is deny and blame.


The settings change, the anguish doesn't

     causes are many, complex beyond one stance.

To move the needle, we need conviction - 

     all our minds and resources not some trance.


               Where is our outrage, what are we doing?

                     If this were a war, we'd give it our best.

              We'd throw all our money, our best talents, spend our futures

                           no compromise, no rest.


I read the papers, I see the obits.  

           another young life - lost unexpectedly at home......


     

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

 Trump Deserves Credit For Changing America - -


         
  FUN-LOVING AMERICAN TOURISTS VISITING THEIR CAPITAL

         Six years ago if an American presidential candidate was recorded saying he liked to grab women by their private parts, he would have immediately become a non-candidate.   

     Six years ago, anyone who made fun of people with disabilities was considered despicable.

     Six years ago, men like John McCain were considered heroes by virtually all Americans, except draft dodgers and avowed communists.

     Six years ago if any American leader said they trusted the words of a dictator over those of our own intelligence department, they would have been ousted.

     Six years ago Americans never labeled news from serious journalistic organizations as fake just because they didn't like it.  Educated people respected the expertise and objectivity of professionals, while acknowledging that there could be bad apples in some baskets.  Most people would have discouraged throwing away entire baskets without exhaustive research from knowledgeable sources.

     Six years ago if a politician had publicly announced dozens of times that he would release his tax returns as soon as possible, he would have lost all credibility if he spent many years and millions preventing their release.

     Six years ago politicians respected colleagues in their own party. No honorable person would ever blatantly threaten anyone.  No president ever ostracized those that didn't walk lock-step in line with them.  "Primarying someone" to discourage dissent wasn't a thing. No entire political party ever cowered in fear.

     Six years ago if  99 percent of  bipartisan polling places and the president's own Attorney General and his top election cyber-security guy all said he lost the election he would have given a concession speech - not an attempted coup.



Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Just Two Days -   -   -

     Being of a certain age,  enables a person of means to undergo interesting experiences.  For example, the character-building process of preparing for a colonoscopy to rule out any pre-cancerous colon lesions.  Without going into unsavory details, let me just say there needs to be a thorough cleaning of the entire GI tract.   

     Let's, just for fun, pretend that I had to have such a test and that I was lamenting the whole process of fasting and then the grand flush.  Imagine that I was being just a little irritated that people would eat in front of me when I could have nothing.

     Then imagine that in the middle of this I got a letter from the International Rescue Committee requesting money for the many millions of refugees around the world who are living in dangerous and unfathomable conditions.  Things like clean drinking water, sanitation, adequate food, shelter, and healthcare are commodities that millions of people can only dream of - and diarrheal diseases in these crowded camps can kill hundreds of people per day.  And it's mainly children!  

     Every five years I get to wake up to what many people live with year round.