Ideological “Racism” is Rampant – Epic Polarization Infects American Democracy

Racism casts a group of people with some common, innate, intrinsic traits into a moral cesspool of evil, weakness, and inferiority.  The last decade has witnessed Americans from all walks of life creating ideological “races” based on gender, religion, class, origin, attitude and belief.

The growing prejudice among these “races” flourishes in the content-hungry media, and the “yellow press” internet.  Blanket characterizations cover both platforms like rancorous kudzu.  Redefined “loaded & coded” terms replace accurate neutral vocabulary.  Smug assertions and attributions garnish baskets full of hatred.  Facebook pages bulge with “New Age,” lofty, pseudo-aphorisms of love and peace, adjacent to vitriol-laced propaganda.  Bumper/window stickers are the new armbands of superiority over, and condemnation of “the others,” we deprecate.

For me, these growing expressions of helplessness and hopelessness reveal a citizenry’s weakened faith, and fear-fed anger.  We have become the paranoid, intolerant “house divided against itself…” to which Jesus and Abraham Lincoln referred.

Both Jesus and Abraham Lincoln were murdered for their efforts to bring peace out of hatred.  In our case, I fear American pride, unity, and national identity will succumb to senseless fratricide.

What will it take to bring us together again looking to our future shoulder-to-shoulder instead of nose-to-nose?

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Those Who Complain of Perceived or Prospective Voter Repression – Just Do It

Voting rights and participation are fundamental to our system of government.  Every eligible voter should have access to facilities that give them everything it takes to vote.

Of all the barriers to voting, proving you are a registered voter is the lowest hurdle to overcome.  Do you have a library card?  Do you drive?  Do you have a doctor?  Are you eligible for federal or state benefits?  Do you have a job?  Do you have a Social Security number?  Do you have a water bill?  Do you have a checking account?  Do you have a credit card?  Where are the people who have “none of the above?”  Once we know who they are, we can fix the problem.

If you think some voters will be repressed because they have to show proof of identity, do something besides complain.  Go get them proof.  Do it once, and it is done!

Who believes the advocates of voter participation are incapable of finding solutions to voter reluctance?

Why not publish a list on the internet of the voters or neighborhoods where the feared repressive requirements exist?  You could solicit money to pay any costs for their registration, identity proof acquisition, poll information, and transport to and from the polls. Give people a chance to contribute to solve the problem.

The money and time the complainers now spend on complaining and blocking voter registration requirements could pay for solutions for the voters they think would be too frightened to vote.

People who can, but do not want to solve problems, must receive benefits from keeping the problems unsolved.  People who want to solve problems find a way to make it happen.

Don’t Try So Hard to be Perfect – Nobody Cares & You Could Hurt Yourself

Don Miguel Ruiz’s “Fourth Agreement is mandatory for lifelong happiness.

“Always do your best – Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.”

No generation of humankind has ever enjoyed and suffered so much perfection; especially in the U.S.A.  We are surrounded, bombarded, and suffocated with sensory ambrosia, which we can repeat at will.

We are stranded on an island of “I am not that good” and “I am not good enough;” and the fact is you are not and can never be that good at that activity.

At 5’ 7” I never expected to be drafted by an NBA basketball team.  It just was never going to happen.  All of us have limitations in some aspect of who we are and the gifts we were born with.  But somehow people cannot accept that, at first.  At some point, though, we find out we cannot be great at many things.

So, instead of exercising our strengths, and broadening our scope with learning, we expend our time and money to consume someone else’s perfection; we gorge, splurge, drown in an ocean of perfection every day; perfection we can never achieve.  We are slaves to the masters of perfection: Advertising, Arts, Sports, Theater, Hunting, Singing, Dancing, Cooking, etc. ad nauseam.  Unless we are one of the chosen, we are either deluded to think we rival these gods and goddesses, or we bow our heads and surrender our hope of ever being great.

This sad avarice for greatness drives us to seek glory by association.  We buy recorded reminders of our caste; we wear the royal colors and wave the pennants of our lords; we gladly pay a week’s wages for three hours to bask in their radiance.  Doomed as addict/slaves, we borrow power by joining fellow followers in preparing, attending, watching, celebrating, lamenting, and endlessly arguing the merits of our champions, as if we were part of the extreme excellence we love and worship.

For so many, this leaves despair, a desolation of value, and dearth of purpose in life.  “Who are we?” we ask, unsure of our value to anyone, especially to ourselves.

Once upon a time, the best singer in town, the best dancer in town, the best cook in town, could feel proud and excellent.  The small community was a context for excellence in which many could participate and win.  Then, there were few replicable performances for comparison.

Enrico Caruso’s fabulous voice could be heard once, at each performance; then the magnificence was gone.  The crude recordings of the time were nothing like the actual singing, but they were treasured for what they were; flawed reminders and faint samples of greatness.

We all need approval and love.  We need confidence and pride in what we are equipped to do.  Our happiness depends on our satisfaction with whom we are, and testing the limits of our best efforts.  So, what does it mean “Do your best”?  If you hope to live up to the perfect, and often “perfected” images we see every day, undoubtedly, you will be disappointed.  Instead, ask yourself honestly, “What is my best?”

The “Fourth Agreement” gives us a sane view of having excellence in our lives.  Your best is the best you can do under the circumstances.  Not compared to being perfect.  If you give your best without holding back, that’s it.  Do your best and be happy about the result; that is the essence of the “Fourth Agreement.”  Rejoice & and don’t hurt yourself;)

One of the Biggest Obstacles to Happiness

Don’t overlook the second of Don Miguel Ruiz’s “Five Agreements;”  it addresses one of the biggest obstacles to happiness.

“Don’t take anything personally – Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.”

This is much easier said than done.  I do not interpret “immune” as numb, indifferent, or hostile.  I believe he means that you can entertain the opinions and observe the actions of others without adding emotional elements, and assessments.  Everyone wants genuine “respect,” “approval,” and “love,” and no one wants “disrespect,” “rejection,” and “hate.”

How can you tell what people are actually “giving” you compared to what you feel you are “getting?”  Are you as vulnerable to flattery and positive exaggerations, as you are to negative comments?  How can you tell what is really going on?

Many people look for “signs” in what people say and do; then they look for “signs” in how people say or do things.  Then they look for “signs” in what people do not say or do.

  • The boss loved my proposal!
  • Did Jerry just say I was stupid?
  • Wow, look at these roses!
  • Why did Jennifer stop calling me?
  • The professor told me I have promise.
  • Did you see how Deborah just ignored me?
  • I saw that snide look on Richard’s face.

You get the picture.  When the words and deeds of others become a big part of your feelings about yourself, life can seem like a carnival ride out of control.  Some people try to be social chameleons that appease everyone, and offend no one.  That does not leave room in your life for you and what you want, does it?

What if you could be happy living with the truth of respect, approval, love, disrespect, rejection, and hate?

Separating the facts from the story in your head is important for all parts of life.  How to do that?

Byron Katie’s “The Work,” gives you a system for testing what you think is true.  This is worthwhile information.  She has incorporated extensive experience and wisdom in this method.  Take a look at her website.

http://www.thework.com/thework-4questions.php

Her method has you ask 4 questions; then you get to play with your thoughts.

1.   Is it true?

2.  Can you absolutely know that it’s true?

3.  How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?

4.  Who would you be without the thought?

Turn the thought around. Then find at least three specific, genuine examples of how each turnaround is true for you in this situation.”

“Turn the thought around” means “put the shoe on the other foot” and check how the “turnaround” strikes you as true or not.  Try rephrasing the same thought or complaint about another person another way; say it with the names reversed (Joe ignored me ~ I ignored Joe) or flip the meaning around, (Joe should pay more attention to me. ~ I don’t need more attention from Joe. ~ I need to pay more attention to what Joe says).  Go to Byron Katie’s site for much clearer explanation and examples.

Implementing the “Second Agreement” with “The Work” lets you free yourself from emotional tyranny by looking for more truth in your opinions and interpretations of other people.

For Those Who Doubt – IRS Income Tax Analysis 2009 by Income Bracket

Some people just do not want to hear the truth.  My August 5, 2011 blog, Enough Is Enough – Stop the Stupidity! Learn the Truth About Government Spending & Taxes, was not enough for many skeptics. So here you are, straight from the irs.gov website:

IRS Income Tax Analysis 2009

For those who may not be able to understand the IRS table, here is a Summary:

IRS 2009 Tax Analysis Summary

Every bracket above $200,000 pays more than 24% of their taxable income in taxes.

All brackets below $200,000 pay less than 16%.

All brackets $75,000 and below pay less than 12%.

These statistics totally support my earlier blog and blow away all the cries of unfairness.