Fallen Apart

soapboxpileTo support one thing does not mean I am against another. I want to make certain all who read my words understand this, to support one thing does not place me at odds with another thing. I can be for both, I can be in support of two seemingly different things. How you might ask, it is simple and I will tell you in as simple as terms as possible.

I am for humanity. I am for human dignity. I am for justice, fairness. I am for all of us, together as a people, as a nation finding solutions that will move us forward toward sanity and peace. I am at a loss, not just for words but my spirit is seeping away, hiding in a dark corner and refusing to seek the light any longer.

We are a people of disquiet and terrible, tragic division. We are not a single people, joined together by our desire to become stronger through our diversity and our shared history. Instead, we have sought the lowest common denominator, sought the very worst in ourselves and celebrated these most terrible and violent traits that drag prejudice and fear. Some of us protest the violent and senseless loss of life, we march and raise our voices demanding justice and change, yet the only thing that truly changes is the divide widens, the chasm of mistrust grows between us and violence increases. In our demand for recognition, our voices raised seeking justice that has not been ours in the past we say with one word, allies and friends be damned and cheer as innocent blood runs in the street.

The language of divisiveness has torn us down and apart. A mirror has been held up and we have seen ourselves, the worst of ourselves and embraced it. We have forgotten that good exists in abundance. We have chosen instead to ratchet up the hate, the vile rhetoric that will incite fear and violence on both sides of the ever widening abyss. Our leadership, whether elected or otherwise,5-signs-from-last-night-s-game-of-thrones-that-point-to-the-rise-of-daenerys-the-derange-996054 uses every opportunity to politicize death and mayhem, to feed our fear and fury. We are spiraling down the rabbit hole toward anarchy and those who would be king, they sit and rub their hands together gleefully as we fulfill their mad desire.

We watch in horror as another Black man is gunned down in the street or in his car as his child watches. We listen in horror as amateur journalists put their deaths on Facebook live, rather than offer them comfort and we justify their actions, we understand their actions because we need to know we need to see the bad acts. We forget to weep, we are immune we have seen this all before replayed over and over, these deaths simply cause our fury. Another senseless death. Another child, father, husband murdered by those sworn to serve and protect, murdered by those who will not be held accountable.

We blame the victims, searching for any misstep they might have made in their past, smearing them in public to justify their death. We tsk tsk as their death is replayed, over and over and every pundit tells us what we should think of them, depending upon what side of the chasm they speak from. We see the pain of their family, the fury of their loved ones and the demand for justice sends us to the street, more and more often with terrible results.

DALLAS, TX - JULY 11: Dallas Police Chief David Brown

We pay men and women to put on the blue, to ‘protect’ and to ‘serve’ us, the people. We demand they do so and without them Anarchy would rein in the streets. Yes, we must demand they be held to a higher, more perfect standard. We must require they be fit for the job they perform. DPC David Brown had been doing that, going against what many believed would work in Dallas, he charted a new course.  Dallas has become a model city, proving community policing and modern ideas can work in large diverse city. We cannot ever be good with the mayhem, the chaos and misery they cause in our cities, our communities. We must not turn away, thinking just so long as it isn’t at our doorstep and so long as we can justify it with a good old fashioned smear campaign of culture, people or individual we can ignore it as ‘not our problem’.

Last week seven people lost their lives senselessly to violence. We do not know all the details surrounding the deaths of Alton Stearling and Philando Castile, but we know enough. We watched in horror as they died. We have also watched in horror as their lives have been dissected and their characters smeared.

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Their deaths have led to nationwide marches, demands for justice, demands for change and unfortunately in some cases demands for the blood of police. Which was finally met on Thursday night at a peaceful #BLM demonstration, with shooting of twelve Dallas police officers, resulting in the death of five. Not just any twelve, not just any five, but in retribution specific targets were selected based on race and their wearing of the Blue.

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Dallas mourns their fallen. I mourn the fallen. I mourn with the families of Alton Stearling and Philando Castile, their loss is devastating. I mourn with the families of the fallen officers, their loss is also devastating. In truth, how can we mourn one while celebrating the other? Yes, to all of those who have said ‘good’, to the loss of those five police officers I say shame on you and truthfully ‘fuck you’. We cannot mourn one without mourning both to do otherwise is ignorance on our part and shows a lack of compassion that strips us of our humanity.

Why don’t we know by now, we are one people born of struggle, fire, blood and tragedy. We are one people, born of spiritual poverty and horrify mistakes. But one people generations removed from our beginnings yet it seems still mired in the ignorance of our ancestors, still clinging like Velcro to our history it seems we will continue to refuse to climb out. If we do not learn to reach across the divide we are doomed. So yes, I can and do support both. I can and do see both and desire reconciliation, change, justice and the creation of a better more perfect nation. This, this tragic and terrible one, it has to end. But violence, bloodshed, hate and bigotry this will not end well for any of us.

Civility Lost

‘My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style’. Dr. Maya Angelo

Have you noticed our language seems to be getting uglier? Is this just me, am just getting more sensitive in my advanced age. It seems within all the mediums of communications we regularly use, our social interactions, especially where we enjoy anonymity our language and the way in which we speak to one another has a greater level of toxicity than ever before.

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Wizards, a lesson in toxic behavior

The greater  the anonymity the more toxic the language, right from the start. Where once we had at least the veneer of civility, now we are all in with the ugly; cannonballing into the pond, name-calling and nastiness, no regard for the human on the other side of the screen. It is damned near a contest to determine who can be the most offensive within a single exchange, who can pull the bully mantle across their shoulders and strut their obnoxious faster.

I have to ask, what got us to this point? How did we fall so far in our ability to communicate? Did we simply decided to shed our entire veneer of civility and pick up where we left off in grade school? Many of us shake our heads in dismay at the bullying in public schools across the nation; we are concerned our children are damaged by the name-calling and violence in the halls and playgrounds. We should be concerned, but let me ask you; just where in the hell do you think they learn this crappy behavior? Our children don’t pull this out of the air; they do not learn it from television, video games or on the radio! No, they learn it from you and I, they watch us acting like ill-mannered five-year-olds and think, what is good for my father / mother is good enough for me.

Off they go, to pull the hair, trip the nerd or otherwise make life miserable for someone weaker or different from them.

Let us take a quick look at some of the more polite terms we call each other in some of the political discussions I have been in recently, shall we?

  • Rightard
  • Righthug
  • Teatard or Teatarded
  • Repulicant
  • Racist
  • Libtard
  • Dumocrat
  • Environ-mentalist
  • Libturd
  • Libtroll
  • Femnazi
  • Baby killer
  • Race Baiter

Those are just a few after a quick glance through my own page. Nice right?

Don’t misunderstand, I am passionate about the things I believe in and even enjoy a good debate. I find many of the positions of the other side abhorrent, even morally reprehensible. I find many of the people who support them to be equally offensive, their words are a sometime deafening clamor to me.  Despite my personal feelings though, I find the name calling even more offensive than the positional differences. I would rather have a civil debate, one based on facts and even our personal historical context than simply this constant nastiness.

As an example, this is a part of a conversation I had some time back. The context of the conversation was whether the portrayal of the current president (Obama) as a Chimpanzee is the same as the portrayal of the previous president (Bush) as a Chimpanzee. My position was it is not the same because of the historical context of the portrayals. I have had this conversation previously with the person who started the conversation (my brother), on another thread. In this thread, another person jumped in, for context I have frequently bowed out of conversations with him because of the toxicity of his style. He is my nephew though I have never met him, he is in his twenties; both he and my brother are professed Conservatives with a very real hatred of the current President and all things “Liberal”. Despite my brother and my positional differences, we can usually carry on a civil discussion without name-calling. My nephew is not my brother’s son. These are my biological family members who I was not raised with, thus the reason I do not know all of them.

fb conversation

When I tell my nephew to get historical context I do not simply mean about me but also to learn the history of this nation. He is not educated. He is also, as noted, mean spirited and nasty in his communications. Feel free to tell me I was ugly as well, I may have been.

I find myself more often these days, simply bowing out. I no longer have the emotional wherewithal to support these conversations, to defend positions when I am attacked on a personal level. There was a time when I could see past the personal attacks, rhetoric and focus, now I simply say thank you and good-bye.

What is wrong with us?

I ask this of all of us, no matter what side of the fence we sit on what is wrong with us. What part of our compassion, empathy and civility did we drop off at the local Waste Station in the past ten years? I know there have always been issues that fired up our passions, now though it seems just the mention of what side of the very deep chasm you reside on is enough to get those guns roaring.  Nothing it seems can tap down this roar; nothing can extinguish the fires burning across this land setting families against each other in all out battles as if they didn’t share blood, friends in battles of witticism which in truth are nothing more than school yard taunts.

I tell you, I weep for us all. I weep for the lost art of communication, civility and even common courtesy. I weep for us all.

Design Flaw

sistinevirtualWe are made incorrectly, there is a design flaw a huge, glaring design flaw and it proves the God Entity is absolutely of the male persuasion. There is no doubt in my mind as I consider the obvious imperfection in our design this must indeed be the truth. It is likely you are reading this and thinking to yourself, what the hell is this woman blathering on about, what could she be talking about? God Entity, male persuasion and bad design simply do not go hand in hand, at least not in any religious tome you have ever read. Let me be clear, not any tome religious or otherwise I have ever read either. In fact, everything I have ever read God, all the angels and anything else slightly resembling ‘Holy’ were always not only perfect but MALE at least on the surface where it mattered.

The few exceptions to this rule were always in pantheons of Gods, the Goddess’s rarely had starring roles and were frequently depicted as nasty, vengeful and well let’s face it evil bitches or dumb as a box of rocks. Even they were ‘made’ incorrectly, R&D simply failed in the design. Of course look what those ancients had to work with, fatal flaws in their understanding of our bodies and how they work despite their advances in medicine and science.

So back to my discovery and how I realized both the fatal flaw in the God design and mans’ very real intent to model God (no matter the faith) after himself.

This fateful discovery of mine came about in one of my early morning calls with the sister of my heart, the wise and wonderful Red of M3. Our conversations often skip blithely across topics both weighty and flighty, causing us to ponder the philosophical nature of life and then laugh hysterically when we discover where our explorations have led. This was just such a discussion, don’t blame Red I am nothing if not irreverent now and then about religion. For those of you who hold true to spiritual paths, I am most respectful, it is man’s religion and the great harm it has done in the past and today I am disdainful of. So back to my discovery of the great R&D flaw.

For thousands of years, for as long as man has formed religions and societies around those institutions we have seen with overwhelming consistency men rising to the forefront and women being forced into lives of fear, degradation, servitude; cast as Lilith the daughter of evil, forced to give birth from first menses to menopause. Never mind, our bodies tired, we have one at hip and one at tit, one screaming for dinner one dragging at our heels. In earlier times not only did we reproduce with great frequency we maintained hearth and home, sowed seed and gathered all but the dangerous beast for the table and when the man of the house came home we acted as the sexual vessel even half dead from our labors.

With no thought to our comfort or joy in the act our husbands flipped us over and made do. Grunting their own satisfaction we were lucky for a pat on the ass or a kiss on the cheek in return for our exhausted compliance. Our exhaustion, often interpreted as disinterest gave permission to our spouse to seek elsewhere for their joyful satisfaction leaving us even more alone. Thus religion having taught us, and them, we could not be more than brood mare and workhorse we waited. We waited for the next time they wanted us or the next pregnancy neither of which could be avoided.Temptation_and_Fall-Sistine_Chapel_Ceiling

Had anyone considered we were just the same, our simple joys just alike this flaw in thinking could have been avoided. The design flaw is obvious, if an orgasm were required by both parties to achieve that oh so wondrous of things, procreation men would stop flipping their spouse over for their own satisfaction and try a bit harder. If both men and women were held of equal value we wouldn’t be in this mess we are today. We certainly would not have the world population problem we have, would we? But instead what we have is a design flaw; women are the receptacle of men’s sacred sperm, men made in the image of the God Entity, women made from their rib an after-thought. Women, blamed for every bad behavior including seeking knowledge. Men excused sometimes encouraged to every bad behavior including killing their children, rape, giving their daughters to crowd’s intent upon rape and all sorts of other pillaging and violence.

Man made in the image of God Entity, gets away with all sorts of nasty and evil things including controlling the choices and life of women who frankly prove time and again they are competent and capable of living life without them. There truly does need to be some redefinitions and corrections in this design flaw, some very real changes to both behavior and thinking. It isn’t enough that some men have learned to parrot politically correct language, it is time to blow a cold wind through the world and take out those who continue the ignorance of 2,000 years of patriarchal bullshit. It is time to correct the design flaw.

Consistent Consent

justiceAs part of my Victim Impact volunteer work, I speak in Juvenile programs, a little over a year ago, I came out to one of my long-standing coordinators about my experience as a juvenile rape victim. Since that time, I have taken on a very difficult program, the juvenile sexual predators Victim Impact. The make-up of this group is tough:

  • 95% male, in fact to date I haven’t seen any girls.
  • All incarcerated, none are on probation or parole when they attend.
  • All under 18, the youngest I have had in a group is twelve (12).
  • All their cases have been adjudicated, some will release as inmates from Juvenile others will be moved to the adult system.

This is a delicate and often troublesome issue, one that crosses many boundaries. People from all walks of life, when asked have an opinion, yet many have not considered the disparities found state to state. There are variations on the theme, the age of consent is neither standard nor clear anywhere in this country, it differs depending upon the situation, for example:

  • South Carolina a female may consent at 14 a male 16, unless either is homosexual in which case they may never consent.
  • West Virginia males and females may consent to heterosexual encounters at 17 but must wait if they are homosexual until they are 18.
  • New York consent is 17 across the board no matter your orientation.
  • New Jersey law says at 16 you can consent without regard to orientation.
  • New Hampshire says that if you are heterosexual you are ready at 16 but have to wait till 18 if you are homosexual.
  • Montana claims that girls at 16 can consent but boys and homosexuals must wait till they are 18.
  • Texas says any person of 17 may consent. Texas has a built in Romeo and Juliet loophole of three (3) years, a DA or Judge may ignore if they choose. The other legal problem Texans have, sodomy for everyone is illegal, at any age; this includes all forms of non-vaginal sex.

The list goes on, state by state, the picture becoming clear. The lack of consistency nationwide places young men and women at risk. These risks include the possibility of becoming victims of predators or becoming victims of a legal system that could brand them as sexual predators for the rest of their lives. Why is this important? Why should we be bothered if predators are put away? Good question, I can answer that.

What about the Jimmy the high-school football hero? You know the one, he worked hard, studied hard, plays hard and hasn’t joined a gang. He caught the winning ball at the last game of the season. He has a shot at college and will be the first one in his family who might make it. You know him, we all have read stories about him. Well, he broke up with his girlfriend and she cried rape. Her father, mad at our hero called the courtesy bleacherreport.compolice and they took our high-school hero and his girlfriend’s claims of rape to the DA, who proceeded to prosecute. Now, instead of college Jimmy is sitting in Jail, when he gets out he will have be on the sexual predator list, for life.

This is the other side of the horror story currently unfolding in Steubenville, Ohio. This case has created a public outcry the facts around it though are not a case of consensual sex. This case is about rape, two of the minors involved go on trial in juvenile court on February 13.

I believe the Age of Consent laws are antiquated, they do not address the needs of our communities nor the realities of our society. We desperately need to ensure we have in place laws that are both unvarying and appropriate so children and young adults are protected wherever they might be and under whatever circumstances they might be in. Where once young people rarely traveled outside of their home town during their teenage years today they do so on a regular basis. Young people today frequently have access to their own credit cards, cell phones and transportation making the possibility of a trip outside their home state likely. Today it is easier to exploit a child than ever before. To ensure there is no question of the consequences of their choices it is critical national standards be in place, be communicated and be consistently administered.

Many today are concerned with states’ rights and the amount of power the federal government is ‘grabbing’, however, there are functions, such as this that would be best addressed by a national standard. As a society, we should consider what is important, what must take precedence; the protection of our next generation is one of those critically important issues. While the age of consent might seem a minor problem in comparison to other more weighty issues facing our country, consider the repercussions of not protecting our children. What will happen as those young unprotected children grow into adults?

I do not claim this single small thing, creating a national Age of Consent standard will stop the growing evil of predators. I do not claim it will suddenly balance the scales for our young people. However, I do believe if everyone understands the rules, our focus will shift to more important issues. With national standards we will start to see consistent prosecution of predators and we will stop seeing young lives ruined with inconsistent or absurd prosecution of laws that should never have been applied in the circumstances. We will start seeing the focus on other more important issues, education, reduction of teenage pregnancy, strengthening the foundation of the future.

Generations Lost

Children Lost

Another generation, not ours, not even our children’s but a next generation of children. Children lost to poverty, poor health, illiteracy, ignorance, hate and yes, even hopelessness and violence. You might be shaking your head as you read these words, saying not in my backyard, not my grandchild or not any child I know. I can only ask you to think, to consider are your assumptions really true? If this is you, wake up! You are either living in a very rarified position, away from the rest of us, or you are blind too what is truly happening in what was once possibly the greatest country in the World.

1 in 45 children are homeless today, living either on the street or in homeless shelters.

1 in 5 children will go to bed hungry tonight, during the summer months this is even more devastating as there will be no school lunch program so they may remain hungry through the day. Of course, many states have already cut the school lunch program from their budget so they will already be use to the daily hunger especially at this time of the month when food stamps have stretched as far as they will go. We can dress this up all we like (Food Insecure = HUNGRY) but the simple fact is, they are without food.

50,000 children sleep on the street in this country at any given time. These are the runaways, the at risk children.

250,000 families with children are in shelters at any time. This number doesn’t account for families living on the street or in their cars, families squatting in empty buildings or on park benches.

National Alliance to End Homelessness

To make it more real, perhaps easier to see the numbers:

National Alliance to End Homelessness

Youth violence, a nice way to say our young are killing each other without remorse; their weapons include their fists, guns and even words. Bullying is on the rise along with suicide. Our Juvenile Justice system overflows with the spillover to the adult prisons; the coffers of the for profit prison system in nearly every state of the union overflowing. Youthful offenders, boys and girls as young as twelve remanded as adults for crimes even a decade ago they couldn’t have imagined and now they commit without understanding the consequence, they will have a lifetime to consider though as they sit in cells and on yards never intended for them. Wasted lives, wasted futures, wasted potential and all our futures are at risk, as an entire generation turned more antisocial, even sociopathic.

What were we thinking in our Greed and Self-Absorption, what did we think when we failed so miserably to provide communities and schools for all the children of this nation and not just our own. Did we really believe we could draw invisible lines, build invisible walls high enough and escape with our ‘White Flight’ and the wretchedness and purity of our selfishness wouldn’t follow us, is that what we believed? Those birds have come home to roost, each generation becoming more entitled than the last; each generation in this millennium more inclined to demand their place at the table while contributing nothing. It is our fault for training them and providing nothing but our own sense of entitlement, our own self-absorption and lack of compassion, along the way. What will we do now?

Generations Lost used the following sources and my own broken heart:

http://www.familyhomelessness.org/LookingIntoLight/

http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/press/press_releases_media_advisories/2011/HUDNo.11-121

http://www.childrensdefense.org/child-research-data-publications/state-of-americas-children-2011/intro.html

http://www.worldhunger.org/articles/Learn/us_hunger_facts.htm

http://www.endhomelessness.org/content/article/detail/4361

Where have all the Flowers Gone, Boomers and Feminism

When I was born in 1957, society was on the cusp of change, women, particularly in the West, were beginning to shake off traditional roles and demand their place in the offices and the boardroom. I was born in the last cohortwikipedia.com of the Boomers, the generation of rebels and idealists. Mine was the generation swept up in the second wave Suffrage, rebranded Feminism and ignited by the Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan. Mine was the generation who wanted more than marriage and a house in the suburbs, who are now struggling at the end of our careers and wondering just what in the hell happened.

My generations coming of age began in 1967, better known as the Summer of Love, it ended with the start of the Reagan years in 1981. During the intervening years we saw many changes in our thinking, our social views and even across the approximately 69,000,000 members of the Boomer Generation still alive, there is a greater divide than in other generational cohorts. Perhaps this is why we struggle so with the loss of all we gained during the great uprising of our youth, the time when we were still fresh, rebellious and idealistic.

It was during this time we pushed for freedom to choose a career and delay marriage and motherhood; we thought we won. We won the right to access contraceptives whether we were married or not (Griswold v. Connecticut, 1965). Through the generosity of a single woman, Katherine Dexter McCormick hormonal birth control was developed by Gregory G. Pincus and finally brought to market as an oral contraceptive in 1960. We saw our right to health privacy and body integrity affirmed (Roe v. Wade, 1973). In 1972, we saw the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), sponsored by Martha Griffiths (D-Michigan) in the House and Sam Irvin (D-N.Carolina) in the Senate, pass with bi-partisan support.

What you might not know about the ERA:Wikipedia.com

Finally, in 1994, then Senator Joe Biden a legislator of our generation drafted and passed with broad support the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA HR3402, 1994, 2000 and 2005) which until this year has been reauthorized with little opposition. The 112th Congress is still battling to reauthorize VAWA this time, thus far the Senate passed the reauthorization with new provisions reflective of our times while the House in a very partisan vote said ‘Nay’ and is busily rewriting for the third time their offering with reduced funding and of course changed provisions.

Some things you might not know about women both locally and globally:

  • Women perform 2/3 of the world’s labor, this includes both paid and unpaid
  • Women make up 51% of world’s population and 50.9% of the US population
  • Women with children make up 13.1% of our entire national community, or 8.3 million women. Women globally head 83% of households.
  • Women account for 2/3 of the world’s illiterate adults.
  • Women globally earn only 11% of the world’s income and own <1% of the world’s land and assets. In the United States, on average women earn .77¢ for each dollar earned by a man for the same work.
  • Gender based violence kills more women worldwide than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents and war. It is estimated one in three women will be the victim of gender-based violence between the ages of 15 to 44.

We hear a great deal of rhetoric right now with the political season upon us. A lot of slogans dancing across our screens and men talking big about morals, ethics and the Right American Way as they beat their drums and flap their gums rapidly to keep the money pouring in. There are billionaires buying elections, Churches crying the blues, talking heads spewing hate and idiots making up nonsensical string theories to scare the naïve into cult like head nodding while they chant the names of their favored candidate or platform meme.

One thing I believe as a woman is true, we have looked away too long. There is indeed a war being waged and we are losing. When I asked ‘what the hell happened’, it was a very real question not just about our jobs but our public life, safety and enfranchisement within society. In 1967, we thought we were moving into a new age of freedoms and opportunities. What we have found instead is a scarceness of opportunity as we approach our retirement. We did not achieve equality for ourselves and our daughters’ watch helplessly as what small steps forward we did take is being stripped from them through legislation intended to diminish them and effectively strip them of their freedom.

The 112th Congress has floated the following:

  • 61 Abortion bills since they have been in sessions, or should I say Anti-Abortion bills.
  • 813 separate pieces of legislation specifically related to health care and insurance, much of which is directly related to the Affordable Health Care of 2009.

What the 112th Congress hasn’t done is focus on putting our nation back on track and working in a bipartisan way to fix what is ailing us. Instead, what we have seen is women being pushed further and further down, across the nation laws are being passed that are draconian in nature and elected officials are using language that even a decade ago would have seen them run out of the office. Meanwhile, women are being silenced for saying VAGINA.

What is next?  Will we be back to begging in the streets when we grow too old to sell our wares?

I leave you with this, it is I think relevant and I leave you with one other question is it time to stand back up not only for American women but for all women everywhere.

SOURCES:

http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c2010br-03.pdf

http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c2010br-14.pdf

http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/

http://www.opencongress.org/money_trail

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1990-01-26/features/9001070809_1_decency-real-thing-guardian-angel

Uncivil Discourse

The other day I was called a “Godless Liberal” during a political debate; I pondered this before I responded. I understood my opponent was rather angry, furious if truth were told. If we had been speaking face-to-face, I suspect the ‘Godless Liberal’ would have been accompanied with finger pointing and looked something like this:

ou.org

GODLESS LIBERAL !

That said and his point made, he viewed me as ‘outside’ and thus not worthy of anything approaching civil discourse.

This entire exchange got me thinking about the state of our nation, not from a political standpoint, not from what we see in media but, from how we speak to one another. It got me thinking, outside of what boundary was I that this complete faceless stranger felt comfortable denigrating me in the most sexist terms all the while holding himself up as Christian, intellectually and morally superior?

Before I go on, by the way my response was “Yes, but you will never understand the nuance.”

Morals, Ethics, Principles, Values, Scruples, Integrity

Do these words have real meanings anymore? Can we say with certainty all societies have something akin to moral structures all members willingly agree with and abide by? When my little friend called me a Godless Liberal, what did he really mean? Did he understand what he meant or was he just parroting others mindlessly, just to have something to say because he was unable to debate the issue.

The first half of this year has been one of change for me; some of this change has been intentional and thus far challenging. Without going into detail, I have changed my mode of employment, at least for now. I have of course begun to expose deeply buried secrets. Finally, it is a Presidential election year; I admit it I love this season. I am a bit of wonk with a passion for a good debate especially if I can also dig into some research and history. This exchange though, this Godless Liberal along with other name calling got me thinking about how we have changed in our interpersonal relationships, how we have changed in our communication manners.

The question of Godliness and Godlessness, religious affiliation, worship both what and how, whether we recognize them or not, have been taking center stage in our public life for decades now. Though we are enjoined from doing so by our laws, even by our Constitution and by implication by our Bill of Rights, we judge each other by a set of Principles. Do we truly all agree to and apply the same rigorousness to our Morals, Ethics and Principles? Do we all truly walk the walk each and every day? One key to answering these questions is, are they all one and the same thing, different aspects but in fact the same thing. Personally, I look at that list and think they are not the same; they are instead building blocks.

I have been thinking about this all week.  This is what I have ultimately come up with, tell me what you think and how you would respond to the scenarios, I have posed.

Morals: Primarily derived from religious thinking, all societies have basic frameworks that seem to be consistent though some are more deranged than others in their application of the rules.

  • Don’t be dishonest (Lie, Cheat, Steal)
  • Don’t be promiscuous and be faithful in your marriage (don’t covet either)
  • Don’t murder (killing might be okay for the right reason)
  • Be compassionate to those weaker than yourself (feed the hungry, care for the sick and aged)

Ethics: Primarily defined for businesses to operate in the marketplace, organizations establish these to clarify the rules and ensure everyone knows them. Personally, I think in many cases Business Ethics are the organizations smoke screen but that is just me. I have seen these few from past employers they have rarely been adhered to when they got in the way of profit.

  • Don’t pay bribes (Influence peddling)
  • Respect for individuals (Civil and Human Rights)
  • Respect for local culture
  • Respect for environment
  • Deliver profit to shareholders

Principles, Values, Scruples & Integrity: I have combined these because they are all personal in my mind. We develop personal and interpersonal relationships within society and with individuals, how we interact is based on our own evolution. Despite what some would have us believe we are not born Principled or with Integrity. When we come into the world, we are nothing more than empty vessels waiting to be filled.

So what are these amorphous ideals some of us develop over time and where do they come from?

Scenario 1:

Gladys has been part of a workplace Lottery pool for five-years.   Each week she and ten others put $1 into the pool and purchase a PowerBall ticket with the intent of splitting the proceeds should they win. Gladys collects the money and buys ten tickets for the pool, this week she also buys a ticket for herself with $1. Well, well one of the tickets wins the PowerBall, if Gladys is principled what will she do?

Scenario 2:

Pontdre is a company with well-documented business ethics that all new employees are required to read and sign their agreement too. George developed a new product with the potential of huge profits but it will require that Pontdre actively petition for a change to current government policies affecting the livelihood of another industry or group and could also cause significant negative ecological effects on nearby towns. How does Pontdre resolve this?

I am not going to provide a scenario for Morals; we can all come up with these. I will leave you with this though; I essentially filtered the 10 Commandments down to three (similar to George Carlin) and then added one of my own. Most religions agree with these as foundational notwithstanding the simpler language I used. I find myself in a quandary as I consider the issue of Morals, Ethics, Principles, Values, Scruples and Integrity –

Circling back to the idea of GODLESS LIBERAL and my answer of YES

If I read my 4 Commandments, I walk the walk every day. Thus, I have Morals.

If I read my Ethics, as a businessperson who has worked in a variety of roles for Fortune 100 companies and as an Independent Business Owner; I walk the walk and talk the talk. In fact, I have been trouble for doing so in the past.

If I read my definitions and scenarios for the last group, I know my answers and believe I am a person of Integrity, a Principled person.

Godless, perhaps if I apply the definition as society defines it this is true; I am not religious only spiritual.

Liberal, indeed I have been and am now a Progressive to the Left of Center Liberal in most things.

I wonder though, does this mean there is something wrong that makes me deserving of the other name-calling? I wonder how we get the name-calling toned down.

Stoning, burning at the stake, dunking have all been outlawed in the US of A for many years now; with Godless Liberal and very public Slut Walking making a comeback, I have to wonder what is next?

Warning: George Carlin can be a bit offensive. Don’t watch if you are easily offended by language or for that matter by his view of religion.

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