When UP is DOWN

That’s the bad thing about constant chaos—it destroys your sense of normalcy.

When illusions shatter like fine crystal smashed against stone, what remains is the broken glassreality of hand-cutting, glass shards left to gather; and that seems to be what we are doing most of the time now—constantly collecting the broken pieces of established Presidential protocols.

Critical mass was reached last week in the continuing saga of our Democracy under siege by a self-proclaimed “change-agent” who admires dictators.

The Acting US Attorney General assigned a Special Prosecutor to take over the Trump Campaign/Russian Interference investigations because Congress couldn’t be trusted to not be sppolitically influenced in finding the TRUTH, no matter the consequences; PLUS the President himself was directly interfering in the investigation—particularly by firing the FBI Director who had been leading it. (And then moronically admitting it on national television that it was indeed what he had done.)

However even chaos has its own system of dissolution and realignment. In Literary Criticism, which is “the study, evaluations and interpretation of Literature” (Wikipedia), that system of dissolution and realignment is called Deconstruction.

The effect of Deconstruction is like tearing apart a house just to see what it was made deconstructof—meaning you deconstruct it board by board until you have reached the ground on which it once stood. You may ultimately find your answer to the “what’s it made of?” question but you will unfortunately no longer have a structure to shield you from the harsher elements of life.

It would seem that is what is happening to our Democracy at present—Deconstruction. It is being tested by an unscrupulous agent of CHAOS—even in his own mind—who is attempting to deconstruct our Constitution and three levels of governance in favor of his single-ruler, autocratic aspirations.

Dare to cross him? His signature television quote “YOU’RE FIRED” would be his immediate response to you.

The gut-churning question for many of us was: How long autocracy.jpgwould his autocratic governing tendencies be permitted to continue without congress or the judicial system stepping in to stop him?

 

Well, two days ago a counter shot was fired across Trump’s bow to bring TRUTH and FAIRNESS back to the investigatory process. Perhaps a few congress-people awoke to the fact that without restraints on his attempts to seize more power, there could be public revolts that might affect their own congressional lives. Self-survival seems to be the one thing that they DO understand and will defend.

impeach.jpgImpeachment is a common subject for discussion now on news shows, as is the increased mention of Amendment 25 that I posted previously.

We don’t know where this all will lead. I know I have my preferences, but I will be content to see genuine justice served with fair hearings and investigations into abuses and criminal behaviors of all involved parties, no matter who they might be.

Who knows, perhaps in the near or distant future he himself fired.jpgwill hear those words he made so famous on his pseudo-reality TV show: “YOU’RE FIRED!”

I hope so, because this isn’t HIS “pseudo-reality” that the rest of us are living.

When Words Fail Me

Lately I could say SO much and yet I know there is nothing of value in saying it.

Were this comedy of errors less critical to the welfare of the entire planet and to all of us who live here, it would be easy to complain and rail and stomp about, but instead I find silence the best choice for my own sanity.

dictatorsThis is no way to run a country in which democratic ideals and humanitarian pursuits are its founding principles; nor is it remotely smart to devalue intelligent, factual information on national security, political, and ecological subjects, or to deride the highly-trained specialists who are providing it.

When despots and dictators become the most admired and most emulated management style of a country’s highest executive, it is time to reassess the wisdom of having that person in such a powerful office.

There are always alternate choices. Perhaps it is time to consider them.

It only takes intense congressional discomfort with the present office occupant to initiate the change.25th amend

Help your congressional representatives (Senate and House) to make the choice that is in all of our best interests: Amendment 25.

Perspicacious

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I ran across this word yesterday in a crime novel and not knowing its meaning, I web-searched to find:

“having a ready insight into and understanding of things. SYN: discerning · shrewd · perceptive · astute · penetrating

Ok, …great.  Never knew what it meant, but now I do. So do I use it in every third sentence, or will it slip off my mental horizon as quickly as it emerged?

Yes, it’s more likely to be the latter case especially because in today’s world, perspicaciousness (the intelligence manifested as being astute) is rare.

Who needs to be exceptionally perceptive? How about insightful? I mean where will that get you, eh?

A knowing, penetrating gaze—capable of seeing through deceptions—of what value is that in our lives?

Certainly we can trust everything we hear, and see before us, can’t we? I mean when is discernment ever valued?

For example, would a President or his spokespeople ever intentionally deceive us?

Would some news outlets use their media platform to spread lies or carefully sherlock.jpgmanufactured propaganda like some autocratic dictatorship trying to keep its people in line?

Would disinformation ever be spread by either side of a political campaign to destroy all confidence in the voting process of a democracy?

Well of course not.

That just doesn’t happen in America, right?  What with all our FREEDOMS of press, religion, speech, right to bear arms, right to peaceful protest, etc., those nasty blotches on our freedoms cannot possibly exist, can they?

Yes, I can see that this new word “PERSPICACIOUS” will be gone from my mind as quickly as it arose, because there simply is no need for it.

All is well.  I can easily see that.

When “NOT DOING” Isn’t Doing It for You

buddha quote.jpg

At present this is the conflict I feel inside: the NOT DOING (and not reacting to aggravations and frustrations over what is happening around me) at times feels like a betrayal to my inner fire—the driving force of ME-ness.

The “Why aren’t you out there marching for Women’s Rights to be heard, seen, and respected?” is in conflict with my philosophy of “Be at peace, to spread peace”.

So while questioning myself over this tumultuous, mental agitation I remembered the ultimate example of peaceful protest, Mahatma Gandhi, who not only changed the direction of a continent, but also deeply influenced another of the great Civil Rights icons: Martin Luther King, Jr.

I know that Gandhi raised peaceful protest to an artform; and many of the women’s marches last Saturday were meant to mirror that—a peaceful display of our right to disagree and stand for something greater than ourselves.womens-march

The numbers participating were impressive—far more so than the blatant attempts to discredit and distract from them was, BUT…..numbers alone won’t change anything, nor will standing around NOT DOING anything make the necessary changes.

So I researched a bit on Gandhi and found a few quotes that might apply to the conundrum of my own being at present.

20 Inspiring Quotes from Mahatma Gandhi:

  1. “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
  2. “A man is but a product of his thoughts. What he thinks he becomes.”
  3. “Be the change that you want to see in the world.”
  4. “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong.”
  5. “I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.”
  6. “Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”
  7. “An ounce of patience is worth more than a ton of preaching.”
  8. “Change yourself – you are in control.”
  9. “See the good in people and help them.”
  10. “Without action, you aren’t going anywhere.”
  11. “Take care of this moment.”
  12. “Be congruent, be authentic, be your true self.”
  13. “Continue to grow and evolve.”
  14. “A no uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘Yes’ uttered merely to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.”
  15. “Glory lies in the attempt to reach one’s goal and not in reaching it.”
  16. “An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind.”
  17. “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
  18. “A coward is incapable of exhibiting love; it is the prerogative of the brave.”
  19. “Nobody can hurt me without my permission.”
  20. “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”

 

I now thinkgandhi.jpg that if anything can change the world for the better, it is a unified effort designed to do this, believing as Gandhi proclaimed in his own calm way: You can “Be the change that you want to see in the world,” and as such, “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”

Well, let’s start shaking it. My NOT DOING just became DOING.

“The World According to Garp”

While watching the early morning news shows, that old book/movie title came to mind: The World According to Garp.

garp.jpgThe book was by John Irving, and the movie starred Robin Williams back in 1982.

When I search the dank archives of my memory, I can still recall snippets of the movie because it was a somewhat dark-themed effort at breeding reality with twisted humor, or as Wikipedia describes it:

“The story contains a great deal of (in the words of Garp’s fictional teacher) ‘lunacy and sorrow’, and the sometimes ridiculous chains of events the characters experience still resonate with painful truth.”

Why the news reminded me of the title is probably because of hearing the many laughable versions of world affairs offered by political candidates who think they want to be in charge of them all. Now THAT consideration is an Irving-esk dark comedy in concept-expansion stage—being both ridiculous and painful to watch.

For most of us, LIFE is an experience that we all share and yet recognize that each of us has our individual perspective skewed perspective.jpgon what LIFE in general means, on how it works, and why we believe that we personally matter to any of the events around us.

For our society in the broadest sense, reality itself is a consensual agreement governed by majority rule, and the majority that does rule determines the acceptance of behaviors, mores, and attitudes for the rest of us.

If we share that “consensus agreement,” it’s great—life is good. But if not, ….well I guess it depends on the majority who is ruling the rest of our hands in circle.jpgbehaviors, mores, and attitudes as to their punishment for being someone thinking or being different than they are.

This is often called the tolerance factor of a society. How expandable or rigid are the acceptability guidelines within that society?

Have you ever thought about this? What about you? How broad- or narrow-minded are your views on major issues that define our society in general?

Marcus Aurelius.jpgMutual agreement on much of anything is pretty hard to come by these days in congress or in coffee shops around the nation. But overall, opinions are plentiful.

That I believe is what we are presently hearing: huge volumes of vociferous opinions on what candidates believe people likely want to hear.

To me, what is most important is to watch and listen to the manner in which these opinions are expressed, and to note how they veer into tailored variation depending on the intended audience. If the message changes from day to day or event to event, what does that say about the speaker?

And if the message is one full of intolerance and hateful rhetoric, what does that also say about the audience listening to it?

Like the fictional character Garp, we all have our own take on the world around us—we see it as WE see it—we judge what we see by how it affects us and those we care most about.

garp plane.jpgAnd like that twisted tale of skewed perspective determining his future life tragedies, we lean toward the perspective that best matches our own.

Hopefully this revised movie version plays out better for all of us than Irving’s did.

Lemons, Limes, and Grapefruits

“When life hands you a bunch of lemons….”   make a citrus daiquiri—that’s what Cuba did.raising the flag

I’m not an alcohol imbiber but I believe that daiquiris are made with rum, reminiscent of the Caribbean, where we are now re-hoisting the American flag today at our newly re-opened embassy in Cuba.

Therefore in essence, when life hands you a 53-year economic and social embargo from the United States, you basically ignore it and keep plugging away in the manner that you’ve always known—subsistence living. Then one day 53 years later, both countries’ leaders look at each other and ask, “Now tell me again, why is it that we are doing this?”

havanaThis is not an easy topic of discussion for any side, especially during election-season mania because there were some genuinely serious issues involved: long-standing violations of human rights, political incarcerations, attempts at assassination (Bay of Pigs)….. oh, and Cuba did some bad things also—pretty much the same things except there were no safe guards in place for the Cuban people such as due process of law, demands for social justice, and freedom of expression guaranteed by the US Constitution.

So when Cuban political dissidents were sent to jail, they stayed and often died there. Cuba was a very bad place in which to be unhappy about your personal situation. That’s why so many Cubans left the restricted island by any means possible—by air or sea. And that’s also why there are so many Cuban-American people who have such mixed feelings on the normalization of relationship with the country that has the same Communist/Socialist rulers still in power.

After all, Cuba is still a Communist country under rule of a dictator (he calls it Prime Minister), who is the brother of the former ruthless dictator (Prime Minister), who took over Cuba in the late 1950’s during a military coup that Fidel Castro referred to as “The Revolution” or “The Liberation” of the Cuban people.

And at 89, despite his predicted demise in every decade since 1960, Fidel Castro is still alive and still making a fuss castro and Napolianthat America now owes the Cuban people millions of dollars for creating decades of economic hardship for them. What chutzpah!

Castro has outlived American Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford; and has thumbed his nose at Presidents Carter, two Bushes, Clinton, and Obama. That’s longevity at its finest or worst, depending on your perspective.

mapSo upon this auspicious occasion of the American flag once again flying 106 miles southwest of Key West, Florida, may we give pause for silence and contemplation of what was really accomplished during those five decades of pretending that Cuba and its governing forces were dead to us.

One could wax philosophical on the folly of allowing extreme ideologies to dominate clear thinking and prevent practical solutions to serious disagreements; but on the other hand, the world was in such a different place 50-years ago, and we know that today’s clarity lasts only as long as the sun continues to shine upon it.

So may the clouds continue to part for all of us in our unified endeavors, and let that sun shine in.

A Sense of Direction

compassA 360-degree pivoting-on-one-foot scan reveals a large problem: there are so many possibilities for forward movement and yet no idea which direction to choose.

Without some sense of purpose or a specific goal in mind, we may simply head out in the direction of least resistance or head in whatever direction the prevailing wind might be pushing us.

Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Perhaps it depends on the intention behind it.

As kids we often heard: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

At the time, I’m sure that many of us had an answer or two that might have changed from year to year or month to month, especially depending on who asked us the question and how important to us that person was—because for certain, we didn’t want to disappoint a parent or a respected authority figure—so our answers back then were often meant to impress others and create positive feedback for us.

kids drawingsTo be a child contemplating our future possibilities for personal success and communal respect without really knowing how easy or hard it might be to do the job, was a bit like making the child’s future decision on what felt momentarily intriguing and important for career prospects, but likely left us clueless on the details of how to get there.

So our childhood future-goals changed frequently and were often tried on like vacation outfits before packing for the trip. How does this look on me? How does it feel—too confining?—Too restrictive? Will I get oohs and ahhs from those who see me? Will I be the object of mass adoration; or will I get uggs and OMGs parading around in those duds—ridiculed and pointed at for wearing the wrong thing around others?

path availableThroughout our youth, schools tried to provide a structured environment with more “realistic” goals for our future, but depending on the “career possibilities range” made available to us back then, we often felt far more limited in possibilities than we did as kids with the whole wide world stretched out before us in every direction.

I am happy to see that many of today’s youth can truly feel the future is wide-open to their every inclination for personal besting, and that a 360-degree future-career possibility is within reach for most of them.

But disadvantaged youth in impoverished communities still might not feel that optimistic and buoyant about their futures. However, compared to what future prospects might have been for them 40-50 years ago, there is still a far greater range of opportunity and dream-scape available to reach toward with a little extra outside encouragement and obstacle clearing for them.

Helping kids find a sense of direction and feel a deeper purpose to their lives is important for an enlightened society—a community that cares about the strength and stability of its membership.

How we all meet the challenges of the future depends completely on the quality of the community members stepping forward to create that future.

Let’s help all children see thesmilesir true future possibilities and not be subject to what might seem easiest at the time, or leave them vulnerable to the strength of those prevailing wind gusts.