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.

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.

Amendment 25

morning joe

Interesting morning on “Morning Joe”—the early-morning news show that I watch.

It’s kind of a-love/hate-relationship-with-politics show that praises/scours those who competently/incompetently play at politics.

This morning’s topic was the first I actually 25th amend.jpgheard the often verbacious commentators use the term, “Amendment 25” during a discussion on the latest lunacy sting of tweets from Trump (of which a couple more tweets came through during the show itself, which further made their point).

For myself, not knowing what Amendment 25 was (although I had a pretty good idea from what they were referring to), I had to look it up.

When these folks start talking “Amendment 25” you know things are serious.papers of pres

Amendment 25 is the “Presidential Disability and Succession” amendment to the Constitution.

Joe and others were saying it is now time to seriously consider this Amendment as the current President’s mental stability and competency are more frequently coming into question.  Here is the entire Amendment which speaks for itself:

25th Amendment to the US Constitution

(The 25th Amendment, proposed by Congress and ratified by the states in the aftermath of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, provides the procedures for replacing the president or vice president in the event of death, removal, resignation, or incapacitation.  The Watergate scandal of the 1970s saw the application of these procedures, first when Gerald Ford replaced Spiro Agnew as vice president, then when he replaced Richard Nixon as president, and then when Nelson Rockefeller filled the resulting vacancy to become the vice president.  Read more from the Congressional Research Service here….)

Amendment XXV

Section 1.

In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.

Section 2.

Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.

nixon.jpgSection 3.

Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.

Section 4.

Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.

Taken from Cornell University Law School (https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/amendmentxxv)

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.

On Expectations

This sounds like a familiar theme to me….perhaps once written about in a previous diatribe, but no matter the repetition, it still applies to the present.expectations.jpg

We naturally form expectations about every aspect of our lives. We may not want to do this, but we do.

We expect the world to be a certain way, but of course, it isn’t.

We want the people that we love to act toward us with loving and thoughtful manners, but of course, that doesn’t always happen.

We want our jobs to be purposeful and important to the betterment of ourselves and to humanity’s continuing evolvement, but of course, they may not really be.

We want our nation’s leadership to be intelligent, mature, and capable of rationally dealing with every national and world-wide crisis, but of course, …….you get the picture.

What I’ve found most personally helpful when considering the subject of expectations is to say simply, “Release all your expectations over everything and everyone, and simply deal with each moment in your life as it presents itself. Do whatever you need to do when the situation arises.”

For without expectations, there are no disappointments.

Hopefully reality has begun to sink in to those who once lived in the fantasy that a Savior would appear to right all the perceived wrongs in the world and straighten the winding road before us; if not reality, then perhaps a closer version of it after two days of close public exposure to what is more likely to happen.

To those who fervently shout continued allegiance to their manufactured “cause” sporting nationalist slogans slapped across their hat brims, please keep in mind that they don’t call a carnival barker a “flim-flam man” for nothing.

barker“Hey-ya, hey-ya, ….see the 3-eyed boy, the two-headed cow, ….hurry now….catch the show right here, hurry now, … or miss the opportunity of a lifetime!”

And by droves they laid out hard-earned dollars purchasing tickets for the “lifetime opportunity” they would never see. They’d been had. Their expectations had been dashed. They were angry—they felt like fools.

Suddenly they realized that a carnival barker makes his living by lying and deceiving others to sell a fantasy that doesn’t actually exist behind the tent flaps.

“But he promised…” they stammer.

Of course he did. He raised your expectations, …and in the end he laughingly called you “suckers” for believing him.

He is what he is people, and that’s all he will ever be. Don’t expect him to be otherwise.

He never met a TRUTH he couldn’t twist to fit his purposes. That’s how he made his millions: by salesmanship and smoking mirrors.

Don’t expect him to change. He’s simply being himself; and that’s the lemon you really bought.lemon car.jpg

Hope you enjoy the ride, ….at least until the wheels fall off.

Moving Forward

2016.jpg

I’ve time-warped to Wednesday, November 9, 2016 and we have elected a new president to lead the nation for at least four years.

The task of that leadership is daunting—not easily accomplished by a single figure, male or female.

duties.jpg

In truth, the success of a nation and its people is never determined by one person, but that one individual known as The President of the United States of America has immense power to change millions of lives for the better or the worse, i.e.:

  • The use of nuclear weapons offensively or defensively, is a president’s prerogative.
  • Détente among world leaders is a determiner of cooperation and support for global policies.
  • Supportive alliances and multi-nation unity provide firm negotiating tactics for hot-spots around the world. NATO may not be perfect, but at present, it is the best we have.

Yes, on November 9th we will all be praying that change for all of us will be for the better.

We know by now there are no assurances that any policy or stance for or against an issue of importance will reap the benefits portrayed in an election campaign. Life just doesn’t play out that way.3 brances 2.png

And no matter what changes any President suggests or requests, it requires a Congress willing to support it, so there are things a President can do alone, but the majority of major changes need congressional support to enact and fund them. That’s just how federal governance is set up.

So when we all open our sleepy eyes on Wednesday, November 9th, there will be some very happy United States citizens and some not-too-happy ones. The largest challenge from November 9th onward is helping everyone to feel some degree of comfort with the election results and to find a way to make life better for everyone—even those who didn’t support the winning candidate.

That’s what it’s all about—how to make life safer, better and happier for everyone.

crayon2There are a lot more colors in the crayon box besides RED or BLUE. Let’s focus on the beauty of a multicolored pallet to paint a better and brighter future for all Americans.

I’m really tired of all the HATE lingo.

 

How about you?