There’s a news source for everyone

In my search for better news sources in the sea of leftist, rightist, moderate, etc., I have discovered that the news you read is typically aligned with your belief of what resonates as truth. Having had several interactions with people on Twitter lately, I’ve found a very disturbing trend that I think is part of the problem. There are several people who have now blocked me on Twitter after accusing me of being a troll. Whether I’m a troll or not remains to be seen, it meant something different back in the day when I did online gaming. A troll on Twitter seems to be a person that disagrees with your viewpoint or opinion. Oh, were you waiting for a more detailed description or definition? Yeah, me too. My experience is that it has now become impossible to have a debate on Twitter with someone else since it has now become so easy to filter and block out anything or anyone that makes your opinion questionable. No wonder the online space has become so polarized and divisive.

Taking sources of news out of the picture for this paragraph, it would appear to me that a rogue report or stray tweet that seems legit based on the number of retweets and likes will often be taken as fact. Upon further scrutiny though, the report or stray tweet doesn’t hold up and replying as such to the originator of said tweet gets probably one or two volleys before you’re called a troll and summarily blocked. How can that be considered anything other than seeing the world through your own set of rose-colored glasses? Everything requires scrutiny, checking, re-checking. The scientific method is applicable to almost everything in that you can pose a hypothesis, develop a theory, test it, and repeat as often as needed. I ask myself the question “is this real?” as many times as articles and tweets I read. Two or three verifiable sources with multiple facts to back those sources, then checking the facts further generally will yield results that can be trusted. This of course takes time and patience, and as we all are aware, both are in short supply for the majority of the American public.

Now, turning the sites onto the news sources (mainstream media), there is a news source for every walk of life. News is published when there are people to consume it. A site like CounterPunch.org leans right. New York Times and Washington Post leans left. The truth I’ve discovered is that there isn’t any unbiased, non-left, non-right news source out there. They’re all slanted one way or another based on the audience they’re publishing the news for. If you’re aware of a news source that isn’t biased in any way, please share as I’m looking for something that is literally just the facts. As most of my news is typically op-ed’s, I have to take large swaths of time to make sure that what I’m reading is the truth. To share or not to share, that is the question?

No one is really right, or wrong. Technology has created this ideology of an information island. You surround yourself with people that think, feel, and express themselves in the same way. You congregate in blogs, forum groups, Twitter feeds and share news with each other that reinforces the beliefs of the group; in other words, self-reinforcing group-think. Those of us who find their way onto your information island that aren’t cut from the same grain, an anomaly in the matrix, a sneaker in a closet of wing tips; are properly dismissed and thrown to the sharks to find another information island to invade. What we’ve lost the ability to recognize is that in order to grow and learn as a people, we need to question the norm and listen to others that don’t agree with us. The founding fathers, I’m sure, had their detractors and enemies, but they persisted by working together to create the Declaration of Independence; eventually signed by everyone. Abraham Lincoln pushed The Emancipation Proclamation at a time when a war was being waged over the very subject of slavery. I know he had his detractors and enemies, but persisted by finding solutions that forced compromise on all sides for the greater good. The trend to reject a different idea or opinion because technology makes it easy is extremely troubling to me and something I make every attempt not to get sucked into.

I’m proud to follow In Saner Thought and John Liming’s Blog because they both have opinions, views, and ideas that more often than not differ from my own. Regardless of whether I choose to alter my view or not, I’m thankful for the opportunity to offer my own comments, receive comments in return, and in some cases we agree to disagree. That’s OK. We’re entitled to have disagreements and differences, that is truly what makes us such a remarkable species. No one is threatened, no one is fighting. Amazing what adults can accomplish when their minds are open enough to accept that we’re all different in our own ways. The news should be straight facts, like it used to be, so that we can discuss our views and opinions in a healthy manner without the threat of violence. That’s something we’ve started to lose on a scary scale.

#in-saner-thought, #mainstream-media, #news, #the-ripening-wanderer, #trolling, #trolls, #twitter

Weekend “Would You Rather?” 6

After playing an interesting round of “Would You Rather?” with the family, I thought it would be fun to get into the game of a weekly blog post.  Feel free to join in on your own blog and be sure to give an answer to the question of the week.

**I will keep these questions rated G**


wouldyourather_logo

Would you rather be the smartest person in your peer group

OR

The most attractive person in your peer group?


Be sure to leave your answer (and justification) in the comments!

Three Things Turkey – 11/24/2016

ttturkey

Inspired by Ms. Emily’s Home for Full-Grown Nerds

Bring the happy!

Turkey

turkey-hi

Who the hell ate the damn wings!?

A golden, crispy skinned, juicy, and fantastically tasty turkey for Thanksgiving!

Stuffing

stuffing-1024x787

On my plate, the stuffing is a sloppy gravy covered mess.

Moist, heavy, and crazily herbed and spiced turkey fat laden stuffing!

Pecan Pie

lubys-pecan-pie

This is your piece, I ate the rest of the pie already!

For those that have had this, no description is required. For those that haven’t, crap, why aren’t you going to find some right now!?

rockondaughter

Daughter Approved!

TTT Music Album Recommendation

Origins
by Bridge to Grace

#bridge-to-grace, #pecan-pie, #stuffing, #thanksgiving, #turkey

Rage against the dying of the light

As we approach Thanksgiving in the United States, I’m left thinking about all the service men and women that won’t be home to spend time with their families. Our country is on the precipice, a fork in the road, of deciding whether we’re going to be a positive force in the defense of Freedom or be a negative force in the oppression of those that threaten that Freedom. They are polar opposite actions and one has dire consequences that I don’t think most Americans are prepared to handle let alone process.

I’m reminded, again, of a poem that had a fundamental impact on me after reading it the first time. It is an amazing piece that evokes the stong emotional response to what death means. The poem, written by Dylan Thomas, is generally known to have been written for his father. Some of the lines in the poem, now that I’ve read it again, can be used to describe the United States.

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

“Old age should burn and rave at close of day”, our country is 240 years old.

“Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright”, all the men and women that died for our freedoms.

“Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight”, the attacks on 9/11, ISIS.

It is worth reading the entire poem and deciding for yourself who or what it can be about. My interpretation of this poem is in the form of a warning to us, the people of this country. We have an opportunity, a choice, to change the direction of our country so we don’t go gently into that good night and rage, rage against the dying of the light that is the United States of America.

dylanthomas

#america, #choice, #do-not-go-gentle-into-that-good-night, #dylan-thomas, #opportunity-for-change, #terrorism

Labels don’t help anyone

A liberal is defined as:

open to new behavior or opinions and willing to discard traditional values

A moderate is defined as:

professing or characterized by political or social beliefs that are not extreme

A conservative is defined as:

holding to traditional attitudes and values and cautious about change or innovation, typically in relation to politics or religion

You now what? I’m sick of labels. I get why we have them, it puts people into neat containers that assist others in interacting with us in a predictably certain way. In my life I don’t think I’ve considered myself completely a conservative; I see my parents as conservatives. They’re in a routine that spans the entire week, a daily ticker of tasks that are done in order. They get cranky and out of control when they’re routine is imbalanced, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. I see a lot of people I’m friends with solid conservatives and that isn’t a bad thing. The problem I have in trying to accept their point of view and opinions is when they take me back to History class when I learned about Jim Crow and the horrible treatment people who didn’t deserve it went through. The Catholic Church is conservative. My Grandparents were conservative, and often to the point of me getting angry at the hateful crap coming out of their mouths.

I’m also not completely a liberal, or at least, not to the extent that it fits my viewpoints. There are some ideas and actions that I endorse that can fall conservative, some liberal, however the context around those ideas and actions are what drive me to support them. Not just the idea or action by itself. A good example, I’m opposed to the Dakota Access Pipeline being constructed through property that isn’t the domain of the government; eminent domain is pure bull. I’m not categorically opposed to the pipeline itself being built provided that modern technology be utilized to make it something safe and productive. In 2016, I can’t believe that we’re not able to build a pipeline properly in the same fashion that we can build a 110 story building designed to resist an earthquake up to 8.0 magnitude. The point I’m making is that I see the benefits of being less dependent on foreign oil in the short-term (conservative) so that we can make the changes necessary to find alternatives to oil (liberal). Embracing both sides of the fence I see as being moderate; embracing the best ideas, on both sides, for the common good of all.

When it comes to human rights though, I’m very much a liberal in that we need to shed the conservative views of the past, and big time. We live in an age where people are gay, lesbian, trans-gender, bi-sexual, pan-sexual, etc. (all labels by the way). My frustration starts with the lack of understanding as to why any of these people, all human beings by the way, do not have the same rights to live as they want as Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, Latinos, etc. live in this country. Being fundamentally opposed so something doesn’t mean that the person who *is* that something should be treated any less than human than you. The level of prejudice in this country is at a ridiculous level, but it’s always been like this. The only difference now, as opposed to the past, is the Internet. Our species has been connected in such a way as never before in history and our reaction to this interconnection is fear. Real time atrocities come at as from all directions and we don’t have the capacity to process it properly, we acknowledge the fear and fall back on fight or flight response. We have a lot of healing to do before we can expect things to change at all, if they ever do.

Capitalism is defined as:

an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state

Socialism is defined as:

a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole

Here is my issue with these labels. You could reasonably debate that the United States is a capitalist economy, but not politically. You could reasonably debate that the United States is a socialist political system, but not economically. This system of socialism, where the wealthy elite control trade, industry and the means of production, distribution, and exchange of said industry while the rest of the country languishes in what’s left of a capitalist system just doesn’t seem to work. I know this because the people most affected by this clearly biased system silently made their voice heard regarding the Democrats and elected Donald Trump as our next President. I’m not saying he isn’t the right person for the job nor am I saying Clinton would have done better or worse than him, please don’t comment about that. My point is trying to show that our system is broken, hopefully not beyond repair, and I hope that the Republican controlled WH, Senate, and House can make the changes necessary to start repairing the system as a whole.

Our path forward is a foggy sea of labels and preconceptions. We need a storm of change to blow away the fog and finally get us to a better place as a species. It starts with one, then two, then four, then eight….. we can spread tolerance and the need to treat people with dignity as quickly as hate and prejudice spread now. Years ago, I used to be “that” guy with a “black friend” that thought he knew everything about treating others with respect. It took someone very wise, that I consider a close friend and life mentor, to break me of that learned behavior and see the world through his eyes. I was appalled at how I had been living and thinking, I attached labels to everyone. Even more disturbing was that I felt ashamed that I had lived my life completely opposite of how I “thought” I had been living it. What he taught me, showed me, helped me understand is priceless. Most of my writing reflects what he was able to make me understand over several years after graduating high school. I’m not perfect, my archives show that, but I’m listening and in turn, I’m learning. I don’t label others anymore, except my brother, but that’s a topic for another day.

We can all learn something from everyone, we just have to give them a chance to do it. A label puts you at a disadvantage every time.

#capitalism, #capitalist, #conservative, #labels, #liberal, #moderate, #politics, #social-learning, #socialism, #socialist

Weekend “Would You Rather?” 5

After playing an interesting round of “Would You Rather?” with the family, I thought it would be fun to get into the game of a weekly blog post.  Feel free to join in on your own blog and be sure to give an answer to the question of the week.

**I will keep these questions rated G**


wouldyourather_logo

Would you rather be able to eat anything, of any quantity with no negative health effects

OR

Be refreshed and well rested after only three hours of sleep?


Be sure to leave your answer (and justification) in the comments!

Future of American economics

There is an interesting thing happening right now in the United States. We literally are a people divided between this group or that group. Labels are flying around like birds on a clear day; liberals, conservatives, moderates, far-right, far-left, etc. This hasn’t developed overnight, rather, it’s been building for decades as the grand plan of the neoclassical economists played out through multiple administrations starting in the 1960’s. Regardless of the starting point in my processing of our current state of affairs, I inevitably keep coming back to the economy and the growing wealth gap between the lower/middle class and the upper class (using only three for my own sanity). Wealth is the base of the pyramid, what makes all the closed-door deals possible. It’s the nuclear engine powering the government machine built on top.

There are three central assumptions of neoclassical economics (1):

  1. People have rational preferences between outcomes that can be identified and associated with values.
  2. Individuals maximize utility and firms maximize profits.
  3. People act independently on the basis of full and relevant information.

My own theory as to why the neoclassical model is not working has multiple points of thought. The most egregious theory is that the individual has been removed from the equation all together and firms have managed to “game the system” to their own benefit. The individual (non-wealthy) is left to piece together the scraps of what is allowed to trickle down from the top, which lately, has been decreasing significantly. An individual is unable to act in independently due to the fact the media is not providing unbiased relevant information or, if they do, it isn’t the full story. For example, the NYT has already apologized for their biased reporting of Donald Trump to the American people during this past election, however, less than a day after posting it, they removed the line “We believe we reported on both candidates fairly during the presidential campaign.”(2) Interesting retraction.

The founding of country, and well into the late 1800’s, our country ran on something that was closer to classical economics (3).

Classical economists observe that markets generally regulate themselves, when free of coercion. Adam Smith referred to this as a metaphorical “invisible hand,” which refers to the notion that private incentives are aligned with society welfare maximization under certain competitive conditions. Smith warned repeatedly of the dangers of monopoly, and stressed the importance of competition.

Within the last century, following the Great Depression, a new model emerged that was referred to as Keynesian economics (4). This model was argued to be a possible solution to the Great Depression to stimulate the country with two approaches:

  1. Reduction in interest rates (monetary policy).
  2. Government investment in infrastructure (fiscal policy).

The Federal Reserve was the answer to the first point above and was created after the stock market crash in 1907 where a run on the banks almost collapsed the economy. In regards to the second point above, multiple projects were started in the 1930’s that included bridges, roads and public buildings that were created by the government for the benefit of all Americans. These projects were all funded and coordinated through the Works Progress Administration (5) and ran through to 1943, at which time the United States became involved with World War II. It is interesting to note that it was far from a perfect system.

By the end of the Second World War, Keynesianism was the most popular school of economic theory in the non-Communist world. Beginning in the late 1960s, a new classical macroeconomics movement arose, critical of Keynesian assumptions, and seemed, especially in the 1970s, to explain certain phenomena (e.g. the co-existence of high unemployment and high inflation, or “stagflation”) better. It was characterized by explicit and rigorous adherence to micro foundations, as well as use of increasingly sophisticated mathematical modelling. However, by the late 1980s, certain failures of the new classical models, both theoretical and empirical hastened the emergence of New Keynesian economics, a school which sought to unite the most realistic aspects of Keynesian and neo-classical assumptions and place them on more rigorous theoretical foundation than ever before. Interpretations of Keynes have emphasized his stress on the international coordination of Keynesian policies, the need for international economic institutions, and the ways in which economic forces could lead to war or could promote peace.

What we’re left with at this point is a warped version of economics that has parts of classical, neoclassical and Keynesian economic systems. The last sentence of the above quote is very telling of the system the country has put into place (largely by the wealthy elite). They’ve selected using economic forces that led us straight into war (8 countries at last count) that has multiple mechanisms in place to ensure that the wealth generating machine pumps out as much money as possible. Create war, destroy things, rebuild things, repeat. At all steps, the wealthy elite make sure they get their payday.

The question still remains as to what President-elect Donald Trump is going to do for the next four years. His current filling of key administration positions with establishment insiders is certainly not a good sign.

Sources:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoclassical_economics
  2. http://nypost.com/2016/11/15/new-york-times-edits-its-election-apology-letter/
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_economics
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keynesian_economics
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Works_Progress_Administration

#donald-trump, #economics, #keynesian, #neoclassical, #works-progress-administration

Three Things Thursday – 11/17/2016

three-things-badge

Inspired by Ms. Emily’s Home for Full-Grown Nerds

Bring the happy!

Stitch

stitch

Nom nom nom

This was the sight I came down to this morning and I thought “Stitch is trying to eat the railing!”  A chuckle at 5:30am is worthy of a picture and a share on Three Things Thursday.  My daughter has been obsessed with Lilo & Stitch for several years now and when we were in Disney last year, we had breakfast with them.  She was happy, so worth every penny.

William Shakespeare

williamshakespeare

“I would not put a thief into my mouth to steal my brains.”

My daughter is only in fourth grade, yet easily reads and comprehends on an eighth grade level.  Her teachers are amazed at how well she can read and I’m hoping that the IQ evaluation she’s taking this month will tell me what I already know.  I have a feeling that school is going to become very boring for her in the coming years so my wife and I will need to stay on top of “extra” work that challenges her to stay motivated.

Alexandar Hamilton

alexanderhamilton

As you may already know if you read my blog on a regular basis, I was in New York this past weekend and had a chance to visit Trinity Church.  The same Trinity Church that was used to film National Treasure, but I was unable to get inside due to a wedding taking place.  The next best thing was outside, where I got to visit the grave site of Alexander Hamilton, one of the most influential people of the late 1700’s during a time when our country was being forged into the history books.

The PATRIOT of incorruptible INTEGRITY.
The SOLDIER of approved VALOUR.
The STATESMAN of consumate WISDOM.
Where TALENTS and VIRTUES will be admired.

BONUS:  John Watts

johnwatts

As a bonus fourth thing this Thursday, while I was at the Trinity Church graveyard, I saw a statue to the one end and walked over.  John Watts was interestingly, the last Recorder of New York under the English Crown appointed in 1774, two years before the Colonies declared independence from the English Crown in 1776.  Interestingly, he continued to serve in government and was elected as a Federalist to the 3rd United States Congress and served from 1793 to 1795.

I’m fasicated by our countries history and we would all benefit from taking some time out of our lives to learn about our history to better understand our present and future.  The Federalist party in particular, had some really interesting ideology that is strikingly similar to our Libertarian and Constitution political parties today.

rockondaughter

Daughter Approved!

TTT Music Album Recommendation

The Wreckage (2011) / Reclamation (2013)
by Candlelight Red

#alexander-hamilton, #john-watts, #lilo-and-stitch, #william-shakespeare

Safety Pin

Wearing a safety-pin shouldn’t be required to tell someone you’re “safe”. This apparently is the new thing to show solidarity and opposition to those of us that target and spread hate to marginalized people. Americans in particular seem to be polarized the last year or so because of the amount of hate that has been witnessed by bystanders that decide to take video of violence instead of stepping up and trying to stop it from happening in the first place. I’m not saying that every situation is appropriate for someone to step up, when guns are involved for example, but I’m willing to bet that most situations don’t involve guns. There are so many ways that hate can be spread to others, most people will just watch and hope that it doesn’t involve them personally. We’re in a sad state of things if we’re just letting this sort of thing happen and continue to consciously choose to live in our bubbles of complacency.

Doing nothing is just as bad as the bully spreading hate.

I’ve read several blog posts about the meaning of the safety-pin and even found one that stepped you through what to do and when to step in during a situation where someone is being a bully to someone else. I use the term “bully” to represent Islamaphobia, racism, anger, hate, etc. to make things easier for this post. We don’t live in a perfect society, there will always be bullies around us. Our reactions to bullies is what matters though as it is the attention that gives them their power. I used to be that person that didn’t understand what racism, bigotry, hate actually were and how they manifested themselves. I admit that I have not always been the best person I can be, but that doesn’t mean that I’m incapable of learning how to be a better person; learning to embrace difference; learning how important it is to treat others the way they deserve to be treated. My path to learning hasn’t been easy and certainly hasn’t been without mistakes, and to the ones that I offended and lost in the past, I’m truly sorry. You will never know how those events helped me to truly grow into a better person.

You need to want to know me before you can judge me.

My experiences have taught me up to now that to be effective and stand up to bullies, I do not need a safety-pin on my shirt. What I do need is a more effective radar to know when to step up and when to just let it play out. That involves the ability to read the situation carefully and to know when or if intervention is required and whether it would be welcome or not. I’m not naive to think that my appearance alone is enough to make a situation worse rather than better; a middle-aged white male. I’m also not naive enough to think that I won’t be judged on my appearance prior to me saying or doing anything once I decide that I need to intervene. In my 40 years on this Earth, I’ve only stepped up 3 times to bullies, 2 of them for my own personal benefit (they were my bullies). The third time was several years ago and unfortunately didn’t end well for the person I attempted to help or myself. It’s not relevant for this post as it was the beginning of my journey into tolerance and understanding that I’m still on now. My own realization that I had been the stereotypical “white male” made me furious. I was even more determined to cast out what I knew and replace it with what was important to know to be more open-minded and embrace rather than reject our differences.

In order to be enlightened, what you accepted of the world around you is more than likely wrong.

I’m sure there are people out there saying that I am privileged, I could never understand what real suffering is, I can’t begin to understand what it means to be black, brown, yellow, whatever. To those people I say, you’re right. I would never say that I understand your suffering or how it means to be anything other than white. None of this changes how I feel about a bully mercilessly attacking someone else just for being Muslim, black, brown, a woman, a transgender, gay, lesbian, etc. All I see is a human being attacked by another human being based on appearance or perception out of fear. Yes, fear. Fear that has been passed from one generation to another. Fear that has been perpetrated by hundreds, if not thousands, of years because of a difference from what is considered “normal”. Fear of the unknown actions that could potentially hurt you. Fear that, if it were to go away, would mean that the false sense of superiority, elitism, and privilege you feel would go away too. Well, f**k that. I’m tired of being the one that stands on the sideline. I’m tired of my eyes being closed when I think they’re open. I’m tired of the BS that continues to define what it means to be white, what it means to be black, what it means to be brown. I’m choosing to be a human being that loves their fellow human beings. I’m choosing to see race as just another trait that makes someone unique like eye color, hair color, or nationality. I’m choosing to understand before being understood; to listen before speaking; to love instead of hate.

If you want to do the right thing through understanding, listening, and loving; you already know wearing a safety-pin is a hollow gesture.

#call-to-action, #human-beings, #love, #safety-pin

What does safe mean to you?

Do you think this person feels safe?

University of Michigan student wearing a hijab was threatened with being set on fire, policy say

A University of Michigan student was approached by a stranger who threatened to set her on fire with a lighter if she didn’t remove her hijab, police said.

The incident occurred between 5:30 and 7 p.m. on Friday just outside the campus in Ann Arbor. Police said the woman complied and left.

“We do consider this a hate crime,” Diane Brown, public information officer for the university’s Division of Public Safety and Security, told The Washington Post. The Ann Arbor Police Department is heading the investigation.

How about this person?

Veteran in dispute with Chili’s over Veteran’s Day meal incident

In the meantime, people on behalf of the company have expressed some regret about what happened here.

Video of a Chili’s manager snatching the meal Army veteran Ernest Walker received as part of the restaurant’s Veterans Day tribute sent shock waves across the internet.

CBS 11’s story on the incident drew hundreds of comments and thousands of reactions on Facebook, but Walker says the response he wants is from Chili’s.

“I personally have not heard from them, no,” Walker said.

I recently read King’s pursuit of positive peace on Learning to Speak Politics and have been motivated to write a post on a subject that I think needs to be written about. It’s often a question that is hardly ever asked and can often be assumed based on circumstances or your environment. The answer to this question from a complaining white liberal would be drastically different from someone being bombed on in Yemen by the Saudi’s. I’ve had a tough time with this and the post is going to reflect my internal processing of this question.

Starting with the easy point, anyone involved in war would potentially say that being safe means not being involved in war. War is a classical example of how human arrogance and ignorance can escalate exponentially into something that is hard to stop once started. As if we didn’t learn our lessons from World War One, we had to fight another one that we unceremoniously called World War Two. Then came the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War v1.0 (where we didn’t invade Iraq), and the Gulf War v2.0 (where we did invade Iraq). I’ve never been a soldier and honestly could probably never be one that made a difference. This is the reason that I have unwavering respect for anyone who serves to protect our country. During a war, there is no safety, no comfort; just pain and suffering. No one actually “wins” in a war and the fact we fight them is a testament to our inability to seek first to understand then be understood. What do you think anyones answer to this question would be from Honduras, Libya, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, or Yemen? Yeah, there’s that many, and the United States was involved in some way with all these countries and making them living hell for the people living in them.

Our species has fought hundreds of wars throughout our history, sometimes for obvious reasons, sometimes for not so obvious reasons. A common thread amongst most armed conflict is the oppression or control of people who decide they’ve had enough, or at the very least, people that are made to feel inferior to others that think they’re superior. You can look back through history and see these waves of prosperity (highs) in between waves of conflict (lows) that would look like a roller coaster. We continue to ignore our own past and have consistently not learned anything from our conflicts to keep them from continuing. The interesting thing is that the majority of the population is essentially peaceful and would normally avoid conflict in most cases as logic dictates that conflict is often not efficient or conducive to solving problems.

I’m going to use a science fiction reference now because I think it supports my thought process at the moment. In the episode “Genesis of the Daleks”, Davros is a scientist for the Kaleds, who are fighting a 1,000 years war with the Thals. Both sides had been fighting the war so long they had forgotten what they were fighting for or about and instead kept attempting to overpower the other. Davros, seeing the nuclear war they were fighting was causing mutations, found a mutation for the Kaleds that resisted the effects of nuclear radiation. The resulting mutation required a mechanical mechanism to allow them to move and interact with their surroundings. Davros felt that emotion was the cause for weakness and war and he genetically removed every emotion apart from hate. The resulting creation, Dalek (an anagram of Kaled) viewed themselves as the supreme race in the universe, intent on purging the universe of all non-Dalek life. Does that sound familiar to anyone? Germans of WWII perhaps? In a world full of Daleks, no one is safe.

My own definition of safe is slightly more obtuse as I don’t see it as something tangible. Rather, I see it as something emotional in that we have the ability to “be” safe as well as being physically safe. Physical safety is owning a gun or locking your doors at night, looking both ways before crossing the street, paying attention to a sign that says “Hot” and not touch. Exercising physical safety is logical and generally the guidelines that dictate physical safety are accepted and aren’t usually ignored. Being safe is much harder to describe in broad terms and I only have my own experiences to draw upon. I used to “be” safe by not questioning what was going on around me as it would have threatened my belief of safety. There are so many queues around us that things just aren’t as they should be, but the majority of people choose to ignore them or see them and not talk or take action against them. This leads to complacency, a false sense of safety, and an inability to accept atrocities even when they’re right in front of you.

There are thousands of people in this country and hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of people in the world that don’t feel safe and probably have never felt safe. The real problem is that when you don’t know any different, you don’t know that you’re not safe. That isn’t living, its torture. The worst kind of torture because you don’t know that it can be better, so much better. The hardest part for anyone to admit in all this is that in order to support someone elses right to be safe, their right to live as a human being, we need to sacrifice our own mental safety for a period of time to effect action that benefits everyone. We took a huge step on November 8th as a country and chose to surrender our safety as a people and elect someone who has the potential to be a rather poor decision for President. The bull that media, elites, and the Democrats fed to us for so many years was enough to finally show people who their safety was being threatened in a larger way than if they elected the other person. The fact that people were voting for Trump and saying they voted for Clinton on exit polls is a huge indicator that they were afraid. Afraid of other people’s reactions, afraid of being labeled.

The piece that inspired this post is well worth the read and I encourage you to watch the “I have a dream” speech that is linked to her post. It would be wise for all of us to remind ourselves that people before us have fought and died for their beliefs in equality and to a lesser extent, living with a relative feeling of safety in the world. I’ve had the opportunity to read several of the speeches from Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and even Barack Obama. All have had points in their speeches that just make logical sense and serve as reminders that it takes a village, not an individual, to make things change for the better. I’ve connected with like-minded people (Learning to Speak Politics, R.R. Wolfgang, In Saner Thought, John Liming’s Blog, etc.) so that a connected and cohesive message can be spread through the written word. It’s up to all of us to keep that going and spread that to the people in our lives that are open and receptive to differing points of view.

An open mind is a terrible thing to waste, so go find a few, step up, and speak.

#call-to-action, #daleks, #dr-who, #gulf-war, #martin-luther-king, #mlk, #safety, #world-war-i, #world-war-ii