(Deep Sigh)

Gosh, sometimes I hardly know where to start.

So much of what could be said about this life experience that we share, I’ve either already said or it’s better left unsaid.

So much of what we see around us doesn’t necessarily reflect what we hear on the news or see as the focus of our congressional legislators who are elected to represent us and our best interests, not their own personal, political benefits for financial prosperity.

It seems that so many of the world’s existing problems have far more to do with fulfilling the self-interest of a few powerful people rather than making the world a better place to live for everyone.

Sometimes I look out the west windows of my home surrounded by farmland fields and watch the beauty of my natural surroundings change day by day…from snowy whiteness, to freshly budding green grass or new crops, to full-leafed trees and plants, to autumn colors with harvested acres of goldness quickly fading to brown, to the returning first snowflakes of the next winter, and I think we’re missing something about this world. We’re missing our direct connection to the naturally changing processes of life.Seasons-Change.jpg

I’m a part of that world out there—just as we all are. We are an integral part of the natural process of life evolving in multiple forms.

Days come and go—as do we the living beings who witness them doing it.

Our lives change day by day, as do our children’s lives, and their children’s lives; and throughout that daily procession we hope that someway—somehow we can positively impact the world that they live in so that they in turn, have the opportunity to make life better in some way for those who follow after them. We hope and pray daily that there will be a CONTINUANCE to humanity and the best traits of people.

But where I presently stand (or pace with frustration), I’m feeling a sense of limitation—of fast-fading delusions melting away into a harsh reality that states the seriousness of the actual situation our world is in, as we hear the alarm bells marking the limited time that we have to resolve those major issues of avoiding mass annihilation looming over our heads like low-hanging storm clouds ready to burst upon us.

What can I do? I ask myself.  What can WE do? Is there a genuine solution here or is our self-extermination inevitable?

Honestly, I really don’t know. When you have two lunatics playing “mine’s bigger than idot nuclear.jpgyours” with nuclear weapons and mass populations, who knows how this will end.

So, …. I guess that’s what we face day by day, the continued uncertainty of self-interested people in positions of power who are seemingly unchecked by the masses who allow them to remain in those positions until they eliminate all of us.

What could possibly go wrong with that scenario?

(Deep sigh.)

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Choppy Seas for the Ship-of-State

newsWatching today’s 24-hour TV news cycle is like booking a misguided ocean cruise to OVERLOAD ISLAND. Through some momentary weakness in escapist judgment, you find yourself captive to a 40-inch screen where a multi-level ship the size of a small metropolitan city sails choppy seas mid bouts of septic dysentery, toward some overrun tourist destination ripe with graft, seedy characters, and over-priced trinkets.  Life in the USA right now is truly a Dramamine-lovers adventure—all witnessed from the semi-comfort of your favorite recliner!cartoon ship.jpg

Daily reviewing our present ship-of-state’s nightmarish voyage in high-def pixels is not a pleasant experience, nor is it one from which we can easily escape. As with any “What was I thinking?” cruise, we’re stuck here for the duration of the journey—short of icebergs, Poseidon-tipping waves, or total engine failure (which could actually happen if Mueller is successful).

So I was thinking this morning after hearing the latest Trump and family escapades blaring from our flagship’s communications deck, that something about this particular time period in history feels too familiar and equally too uncomfortable. Yes, I did live through the Nixon impeachment but I was a very young adult and not as plugged into political concerns then, so that aspect is only vaguely similar to me.

nixon.jpgAnd back then, Mr. “I’m-not-a-crook!” actually was determined to be one, and eventually he was forced to resign. (One can only hope THAT part is similar.)

But reliving that long ago, disastrous, presidential situation is not the discomfort I’m feeling about this present-day news barrage. What seems the most unsettling to me is the inner anxiety level associated with the current presidency—a disturbing discomfort that I’ve also felt during some of the most horrendous times of my life—like the hopelessnessanxiety.jpg felt during a loved one’s terminal illness where you are constantly living with a deep sense of dread and foreboding at the eventual, heart-rending disaster you know will come.

And I’m not alone in feeling this way, because to me this feels more like a collective anxiety than personal one. I think we ALL are feeling overloaded with dread over the future we anticipate ahead.

breaking newsEvery day’s biggest news headlines strike warning gongs within us, but psychologically what may be even worse is the constancy of such negative press coverage. We are being desensitized daily to this rampant administrative insanity and incompetence. When chaos is ever-present wherever you look, then comparative, rational judgment is in short supply.

We are being numbed and lulled daily into the alternative realities expressed during White House press conferences and spokespeople explanations that bear little resemblance to known truthful accounts. But many administration-sympathetic people watching are simply accepting those blatant falsities like it is normal fare, because to do spicerotherwise is to admit their own initially poor judgment—that they had been duped by a conman. And admitting that key point is not going to happen because it counters basic human nature. It’s far easier to blame it on others rather than seeing the horror of the situation for what it really is.

Every morning I turn on the TV and hear the commentator’s same incredulous gasp on delivering the latest news on Russian ties to White House staff and family, or the childish, unscrupulous behaviors of a seventy-year-old, authoritarian, narcissistic, ego-maniac who controls the world’s largest arsenal of nuclear weapons.

instabilityThe main problem is that we at home, aren’t even surprised by anything he says or does any longer—we view the latest insults, attacks, and mindless rants as simply the perpetual ramblings of an unstable mind—who just happens to be our nation’s leader. The present standard of acceptance for his oratory skills is so low that if he can simply complete an unscripted, eight-word sentence without veering into non-coherency (or last fall’s election results), he gets a pass. The base measure for acting “Presidential” has been lowered to frat-house escapades of rich kids contemptuous of anyone who is not themselves.slapping his face

In effect he’s grabbing us all by our private parts, simply because he can, and no one is slapping his face at the assault (or better yet, breaking his wrist to prevent him from doing it again).  No one. Not yet anyway.

His perverted, chaotic, dictatorial rule has simply become “ho-hum” acceptable behavior for those in congress willing to deal for promised future rewards from him.acceptable.jpg

But this is NOT acceptable behavior!

So why are so many others accepting it?

That’s really the question I want answered. Why are his congress buildingcongressional party-members condoning his dangerous, erratic behavior with our allies and adversaries? Why are they allowing his malicious and vulgar crudities to continue without countering him; without punishing him vocally, if not in actual resolution?

It would appear that our ship’s navigational system has completely shorted out. Day after day, we keep circling the same stretch of ocean, hearing the same storm warnings, being tossed about on those ever more violent seas.

Congress needs to take control now and bring this captive-laden, nightmarish ship-of-state safely back to dock again, because being fellow crew members in collusion with the Captain’s treasonous intentions, is sanctioning a course to disaster for everyone.

Do they not see this?

ahab.jpgIf Captain Ahab wants to play harpoon-chucker with his Big White Whale (Kill the TRUTH!), then put him where he belongs: in a rubber dingy alone from which to do it.

Don’t bring the entire ship aground just so he can build sandcastles on the beach with Vlad.

duties of congressDo your jobs! Protect the nation—protect the constitution—protect the people you represent!

Protect our democracy for ALL of our sake!

Because if you don’t, then WHO WILL?

Vestigial Appendages

While reading a novel I ran across a humorous sentence—the main character was describing his boss’s mindset against treating others with basic human dignity.  “He viewed doing so as a vestigial appendage”—meaning it was similar to wisdom teeth and the appendix in human anatomy—an unnecessary present-day function and a left-over remnant from an vestigial.jpgancient time.

I chuckled at the reference, thinking it worthy enough of further consideration to have written it down on the napkin beside me. Those two words inspired memory flashes to my ninth grade Biology class—possibly a test question using that same mouthful, multi-syllabic, moniker for “the appendix” that I would eventually have removed forty years later.

In our current world, we deal with society’s vestigial respect dignityappendages all the time, but I wouldn’t call treating people with dignity and respect as one of them. Unfortunately in the last decade, our society has devolved into this particular mindset. We don’t respect others—we don’t respect differing opinions—and we don’t respect those who think differently than we do.

When a presidential candidate, and now The President of the United States, calls people that he wants to demean or diminish by childish, hurtful, disrespectful names, it lowers social mores in general to the level of street-slang and playground taunting.

Hearing a candidate for president doing so is disgusting, but hearing the chief representative of the American people doing it daily is appalling and unacceptable.

The problem, in my humble opinion, is that there are too many other adults who enjoy the childish nature of disrespecting others—too many people in our nation who like to put others down just to feel better than them—too many people who like to feel superior or separate from others for cliques.jpgone fleeting, delusional moment in time and alternate reality.

It’s like reliving junior high all over the nation—with mean-girl cliques and popularity trumping group camaraderie and compassion for all others.

Grow up people!  We are better than this!

Treating people with basic human dignity is NOT a vestigial appendage.

As the Senate now shows its take on the health care bill to the rest of us and many responsibilityviewing it aren’t surprised at the Medicaid cuts to people who need the most help, or the abundant tax cuts for those who need it the least, this situation is simply representative of a far deeper problem: How do we view ourselves in relation to all others around us?

Societies are only as strong as their treatment of the weakest among them. If some members of a society are considered expendable and not worth the rest of our time or expense, then how do you make the determination of where each of us rank in that same scenario?

hands of societyAre we already expendable now or perhaps will we be in another decade or two? Is there an age limit to caring about others? Are others too old, too young, too challenged, too needy, or just too much trouble?

When other people’s problems aren’t presently MY problems, how will I feel when suddenly life flips like it often does and I suddenly need help, and now MY problems aren’t something anyone else wants to deal with?

What we are seeing right now are the warning shots of a aree to respect.jpgGreat Society in peril of losing its sense of humanity—of losing its premise of basic human rights and dignities—of losing compassion for others, or failing to recognize that by one nasty twist of fate, you or I could be on the wrong end of someone else’s refusal for social responsibility.

This is a certainty: That social pendulum has to swing back to center soon or it is just a matter of time before we ALL will be considered vestigial appendages—easily removed from public consideration by a surgical slice—or the slash of a pen.

Do you want to find yourself on the operating table this year or maybe the next?

I know I don’t.strong together.jpg

Treatise on Integrity

integrit paper.jpg“Integrity: That which shall be humanly borne and displayed as an essential aspect of truth.”

Well that’s my definition of integrity if no one else’s.

“To live with integrity is to be intimately aligned to one’s truth and core values.”

Again, that’s my take on it.

But I do know from personal experience that if you live your life with integrity and truthfulness, you will never be disappointed in yourself.

There will be others who might not be very happy with you at times, especially when your integrity blocks their intentions, but you will stay true to your own ideals if you maintain your sense of personal integrity and right-action focus.

So what does this mean in today’s integrity-starved world?

For one thing, you will definitely stand out from the crowd—you might even be the focal point of the crowd’s anger, which isn’t the most enjoyable place to be.integrit 2

For another, you will find yourself reaching very deep within for the strength and courage to keep your integrity untarnished amidst the constant deluge of complaints and insults slung in your direction.

Another possibility? You might lose a friend or two during the process of staying true to your own beliefs on the rightness of a situation or an action.

But the really strange thing about personal integrity is that nearly everyone believes that THEIR core beliefs and the courage of THEIR convictions are the only TRUE ones possible, which makes the rest of our efforts to maintain personal integrity questionable to them.

integrit 3As much as I value integrity and truth, and I definitely do value them, I also know that what I believe to be the ultimate TRUTH may not be the same as what others believe it to be. We don’t all think and feel the same.

Furthermore, in my rational mind I know that truth is often the perspective of whoever is holding that viewpoint.

But also in my being I know that what I stand for as a loving and compassionate human being is as strong and unwavering as any army’s professed allegiance to any person, place or belief.

Stubbornness is my finest trait or so I’ve been told, because to me integrity is a core value that is worthy of staking one’s integrit 1personal reputation on and/or career future. Holding one’s personal integrity firm and unbending can define us as compassionate human beings when others around us flutter in the winds of political change and collective opinion.

In the largest sense, our Nation was built on certain fundamental assumptions on rightness and fairness, on equity and justice; and when the integrity of any democratically elected official is in question or fluctuating toward non-democratic ideals, then further exposition and assessment of possible wrong-doing must be allowed to happen. The democracy that supports us depends on the integrity of those who lead it.

If we can’t at least rely on a leader’s integrity to do what is lawful and right as guaranteed to us by our U.S. constitution, then we have little firm ground on which to take a stand.

integ world

As I mentioned previously, maintaining one’s integrity is often a tough and lonely stance to take in the face of tumultuous, self-serving opposition, but sometimes it is the only stand we truly have before we are driven to our knees.