If not now, Tomorrow?

Soapbox LogoMy silence does not indicate lack of interest; in fact I have, like so many others, remained glued to the tragedy that is the United States of America. Each day it seems there is some new ‘thing’, some new chaotic stew of childishness, some immoral or cruel act from those who would be leaders. Each morning I waken to worse and coarser communication bombarding me from every corner of the world. Every single night I crawl into my bed and wonder if the world will see another morning, with heightened levels of fear, for my nation, my friends, children and grandchildren I wonder what we will be left with in three years. Hell, some nights I wonder what, if anything, we will be left with in three months let alone three years.

Do you think I am being dramatic? Really, do you not wonder the same things I wonder?
I am constantly stunned by the level of depravity and craven corruption that is now our entire body politic. One side has their Inglorious Leader, why hide? Do not for one minute believe though, I am pointing at one party and leaving the other out of this, no indeed both are equally shady and own the corruption that is this dissolute hell the United States of America is now become.

The President of the United States is an antagonistic, juvenile delinquent with the spoiled-bratmindset of a schoolyard bully who has never been told NO. Meanwhile, the Republican controlled Congress chip away at our Freedoms, chisel away at our rights, our economy, our Democracy; at the very foundation of what makes our nation Great and none of us are paying a bit of attention. Each and every single day, we sit staring at our electronic devices, bitching and whining at the latest tweet by that fool that is POTUS, while Congress has their way with us without a single cry being raised.

So I have to ask, with all the warnings we have been given by their acts, their words and the clarion call of those who have watched Presidents since before the days of Nixon and his fall, if not now when?

When do men and women of dignity, morals and ethics finally say enough; when do they say, no damned more. Where are they perhaps is the better question.

When do these lost men and women say, pack your bags, turn in your badge and carry your happy and undignified asses out of my House (Congress, Senate) before you embarrass this nation further than you have. No more with your dog whistles, your stunts, your ignorant statements of patriotism, your blatant and ugly hypocrisy,

DCSkyline

Washington D.C Skyline

no more tearing our nations foundations up by the roots, no more of your terrible families, your corruption, your sycophant ways, no more of your bullying, your nationalism, your pseudo Christianity and worst your followings and encouragement of Nazi’s, White Supremacists, Xenophobic Nationalists. I am certain my list could be longer, this is simply the tip of the iceberg, the very tip. This list applies not just to the current occupant of the White House, but members of his legal team, Congress, Senate, his advisers, Family and Friends, Spokespersons, Cabinet and Media mouthpieces.

Our nation is more divided than ever before and we simply sit and twiddle our thumbs bemoan our situation remind ourselves that he is not legitimate as Madam Secretary Clinton won the popular vote (so what). Or even worse, that Bernie was cheated (no he wasn’t).

Truly my silence does not indicate a lack of interest. My silence has been self-imposed, my psyche shut down and I drew a blank each time I tried to write. I have over hundred half written odes to the state of the union in my file, I simply could not finish them. I have over fifty poems, I could not finish my heart was breaking as our nation shattered. I have over fifty simple bridges of what is happening with my world, to break the silence and reenter the world; I could not finish them my writers block built a wall I could not scale. I am beating it down today, I am speaking today. Maybe I will speak again tomorrow. I hope you, my friends are still out there as there is much to say.

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3 May 2018

Godless Liberal

The other day I was called a “Godless Liberal”, not for the first time, during a political debate; I pondered this for a few minutes before I responded. I understood my opponent was angry with me, 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:Anger

GODLESS LIBERAL

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

Perhaps the words I used were too big, maybe he didn’t understand them. Whatever the case was, the discussion went downhill from there, the content of his argument went from senseless fiction regarding the state of police violence to comments regarding my gender and my relationship to canines (Fucking Bitch was one of the least offensive but most frequently used).

The entire exchange got me thinking about the state of our national conversation, 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 the usually polite boundaries we maintain in professional settings, we have none anywhere else. We are perfectly comfortable with name-calling, crossing any previously established boundary to disparage our opponent and we have not the least amount of shame in our behavior. What made this complete faceless stranger feel comfortable denigrating me in the most sexist terms?

Just to keep this all in perspective, he continued to pound me and everyone else with his moral superiority based on his Christianity, which apparently also magically infused him with intellectual superiority as well. I was frankly astounded.

Right-wing-Christian-hall-of-shame

Of course we only have this group of truly wonderful examples to compare him with.

 

That said and his point made, he viewed me as ‘outside’ and unworthy of anything approaching civil discourse. I did not surmise this, he told me he was under no obligation to treat me with respect as I was a ‘non-believer’ and bound for Hell.

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 members willingly agree with and abide by? When my little friend called me a Godless Liberal, what did he really mean? Did he fully understand or was he just parroting mindlessly what he heard from others. Was this his only answer when he was no longer able to debate the issue at hand?

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. Whether we subscribe to a ‘religion’ or not, we nonetheless subscribe to a common set of Principles, though some may be more porous, more flexible within the context of our day-to-day lives.

I have been thinking about this all week. This is what I have ultimately come up with, tell me what you think, am I right or wrong?

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 though 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.

  • 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.

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 –

OpEdStarting at the reading of my four 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 in trouble for doing so in the past. With this answer in mind, I am also a person of Ethics.

Continuing with my reading through the last group of definitions, I know my answers and believe I am a person of Integrity, a Principled person.

Godless, perhaps if I apply the definition as society does it this is true; I am not religious only spiritual. I do not subscribe to any religion created by man to control society, engineer preferred outcomes or oppress entire segments of society by gender, class or in some cases race. In fact I don’t just not subscribe, I reject.

Liberal, indeed I have been an agitator, a protestor and at times an ‘in your face’ type of Godless Liberal. I am now and have been since I was old enough to understand the difference a Progressive Left of Center Liberal.

Being a Godless Liberal wasn’t an illegal or immoral political stance last I heard, in fact some of the greatest men and women of history were staunch Liberals, including our own Founding Fathers. It seems we have lost our way. Stoning, burning at the stake, dunking have all been outlawed in the US of A for many years now; with Godless Liberal and public Slut Walking making a comeback, I have to wonder what is next?

Bring them Back and More

OpEd#BringBackOurGirls

Have you seen that one floating around? Do you know what it means? If not, you aren’t the only one, but it is pitiful and horrifying you don’t know. For the past two days, I have searched for a source to tell me how many times any one media outlet mentioned the kidnappings in Nigeria, I couldn’t find one. Finally, today I gave up, this is too important it lays heavy on my heart and needs saying.

What has been trending since 15 April:

  • Benghazi (FAUX) – Repeatedly this one rises to the top of the heap of the GOP manure pile of scandals. Never mind it has been debunked; never mind it is a waste of TAXPAYER MONEY. Never mind, it is pure and unadulterated BULLSHIT. Yes, I said it and I apologize if I offended you; this tripe remains front and center in the hearts and minds of FAUX, the GOP and their funding partners for one reason only, to discredit this President and future Democratic contenders. Nothing more or less. The willingness of their mindless followers to believe anything assure them zombie like adherence to whatever drivel they offer up as proof of malfeasance.
  • Malaysia Flight 370 (CNN) – I am not saying this wasn’t a tragedy, certainly it was. However, CNN led with this story for six (6) weeks. During this same period, other things happened in the world, other tragedies of equal if not greater import.

o   Crimea, Ukraine and Putin

o   SCOTUS and the new rules of uncapping contribution rules make it even easier to buy a politician, a party or for that matter a seated Supreme Court Justice

o   Tragedy at Fort Hood, Texas, four (4) dead including the gunman, sixteen (16) wounded.

o   School stabbing in Pittsburgh, when a student wanders through the halls with a kitchen knife stabbing his classmates. Twenty wounded, no deaths.

o   Mudslide in Oso, Washington left behind forty-one (41) confirmed dead, two (2) still missing and millions in damages.

o   The capsize of MV Sewol with 476 passengers on April 16, resulting in the loss of 240 lives, most of them students.

  • Cliven Bundy – enough said really. Hero till he turned zero. Criminal, bigot and fool.
  • IRS Scandal – really, yes. It’s this one is still out there and still being talked about both by the GOP and by FAUX. They cannot let this go. Not if there is a shred of possibility, an iota of opportunity, a dribble of slobber to catch in the drool cup that is the GOP witch-hunt. Today alone, there is no less than four different Right-Wing blathers plus the latest in Congressional attempts to push the envelope, specifically the House Rules Committee considering holding Lois Lerner, former IRS official in contempt.
  • Climate Change Denial – this one, it goes along with the entire issue of deregulate the world and we might consider bringing jobs back to America. You might include the other fun ideological standard, thought but never said aloud, “your water is burning, your children are sick and your rivers are sludge…don’t worry that is actually the way it is supposed to be, don’t you remember before all these job killing regulations were there and you had jobs”.
  • ACA Failure – yes, they are still harping on this one, over and over and over again. If it isn’t one thing it is another. The worst part of the problem though, they don’t just whine they lie. I wouldn’t mind a difference of opinion on policy, but the outright lies, the putting real humans at risk this truly does bother me.

Now back to where I started.

#BringBackOurGirls

bringbackthenames

The names of the lost girls, this is what it looks like. Stark and real.

On April 15th, 230 School girls were kidnapped from the Chibok Government Secondary. Notice the date? Right, it is during the same six (6) weeks I was documenting CNN’s enthrallment with the lost flight 370. Not once that I could find did they ever mention this tragedy, not once. I could be wrong, but I couldn’t find it. Certainly FAUX didn’t mention it and I couldn’t find it elsewhere either.

Why did I want it separate? It is simple really; this is a real tragedy, happening to real people. These are young girls with their lives before them, kidnapped and potentially sold into slavery, married off or worse for what any of us might spend on a large coffee and a donut. This horror wasn’t reported, not by FAUX certainly and since they set the standard for the circus, not by any other station. This is a truth, where FAUX goes the rest follow. If FAUX screams Benghazi, no matter how played out this story, CNN, MSNBC and the rest of them follow tails tucked firmly between their legs and tongues hanging hoping for a bone. The rest of the media ignores everything and anything that might be of real value, have real truth-telling for those who don’t give two tinkers damn what the GOP, the Kochs or the morally bankrupt talking heads of FAUX think.

How did we fall so far? It is simple; we turned our backs and allowed apathy to win. We tuned in and tuned out. We allowed ourselves to be lulled by the soothing voice, the pretty face until it all seemed ‘smart’ and it was too late. We failed to verify, failed to demand truth, fairness and above all ethical reporting. Now what we have is entertainment with zero value.

Now what we have is 300 young girls in a nation FAUX doesn’t deem important enough to report on, 300 young girls of a complexion FAUX doesn’t deem ‘beautiful’ enough to care about, 300 young girls of a religion FAUX doesn’t deem ‘right’; 300 young girls who might never be reunited with their families because it took to long for their story to hit the mainstream.

What it took for the story of these young girls and their tragedy to hit the mainstream is the voices of their families to reach non-traditional media outlets, twitter, bloggers and Facebook.

 

Do I seem bitter? Yes, I am bitter, I am bitter because this isn’t just these girls, though their story is the most tragic and the most important. I am bitter because as we fight to change the course of the nation and the world, we are fighting what seems a losing battle against a monolithic media force that seems to own the minds of a zombie horde. The good being done by our President, by our Vice President, by our First Lady, by others in the administration are lost in the FAUX news blathering and it is only through the concerted efforts of a few voices we hear.

Yes, I am bitter. I was told recently well placed hate can be a force for good, I believe I am learning this might be true.

For now, get informed and get involved:

Read related posts with information about this tragedy here:

Petitioning World Leaders, The ObamaCrat

#Bring Back Our Girls, The ObamaCrat

Bring Back Our Girls

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Offers Law Enforcement Help For Kidnapped Nigerian Girls

Lost Girls

Nigeria Abducted School Girls

#BringBackOurGirls: Extremist Islam Is Scared Of Little Girls

Get Involved:

Facebook: Bring Back Our Girls

Twitter: @Rescueourgirls

Change Org Petition Bring Back Our Girls

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Walking Dead

Dead this week, the headlines have been filled with tragedy.

Andrew Breitbart, the infamous conservative loudmouth who had been embroiled in more than one scandal in his pursuit to bring down those on the other side of the aisle.

Davy Jones, the front man for The Monkees a TV Pop band of the mid-sixties, many referred to this band as Beatles-lite. Davy Jones never did anything spectacular, never did anything mean spirited either. He was simply a part of many of our lives when we were young.

Two unnamed US Soldiers in Kandahar, Afghanistan; this brings the total to six since the burning of the Qur’an in the trash pits. Despite our Presidents apology for this unintentional act of blasphemy we have once again created put our soldiers at even greater risk.

Courtesy of Washingtonpost.com

Daniel Parmetor, 17 : Russell King Jr., 17 : Demetrius Hewlin, 17; three teenagers dead at the hand of their classmate for no reason other than they were at the wrong place at the wrong time. Their deaths damned near ignored by all but their families, their friends and those whose lives they touched during the short time they had on this earth.

Why do I bring up these deaths? Because of the seven, the most reported in mainstream and social media was Andrew Breitbart, the mean spirited, loudmouthed, bombastic and all too frequent liar. Suddenly, in his death he reached sainthood; even his antagonists are mourning his demise. Perhaps it is that he will no longer be a foil for them, or that they will no longer have a ready target; nonetheless while his death at the age of 43 is certainly sad for his family and friends it should not, in my opinion overshadow others of far more social significance, should it?

Poor Davy Jones, his death became the focus of my ire early in the week when the number of Facebook posts of his passing at 66, far exceeded the number of posts about the five teenagers who were gunned down in Ohio at random, there had been hardly a bleep on the radar of mainstream or social media about that story. This is not to say I was angry at his death, certainly I was not, like many people my age I fondly remember the ridiculousness of The Monkees, their silly and sweet music and Davy Jones himself. My indignation was instead focused on how shallow we seem to be as humans that this death was more important; the death of a long out of the spotlight celebrity was more vital to our national conversation than the death of three teenagers or the soldiers being randomly targeted in Afghanistan.

Courtesy of TheCount.com

Worse still than the what seemed to be the complete disregard of the tragedy in Ohio, was the importance of other stories in the spotlight of mainstream and social media; what story took even more space, more breathless awe from those who would turn our heads and values? Are you afraid to ask? I will tell you because it made me want to run screaming from the room and turn off my connections to the world forever, Angelina Jolie and her new leg pose was far more important than the School Shooting in Chardon, Ohio on Monday 27-Feb-2012, just one day prior.

My problem of course had been building for days, I had been watching for anyone to start discussing the issue of children with guns, school shootings and escalating violence in our schools. Nothing! Nothing at all throughout the day or across the various social media sites I haunt. I was disheartened, to say the very least.

I had to ask the question – “What is wrong with this world, with this nation? Not a word anywhere when 5 children are shot, one already dead.”

These are the answers to my simple question:

Sadly Val, I think it’s because the story just wasn’t shocking/exciting enough. Only 1 dead ? with one handgun ?….Some people want to see multiple bloodied bodies taken on shaky camera-phones. They want to hear phrases like ‘semi-automatic’ and ‘uzi’ and if possible have their TVs vomit the stench of cordite…Sad but true.I don’t know, unless they are afraid that this type of story tends to get sensationalized and may actually serve to promote more of this kind of tragedy by providing attention to it

This actually was covered on ABC World News yesterday but It does seem that celeb silliness is more newsworthy than significant and meaningful news impacting whole communities. It’s an absolute travesty that our news outlets so often reduce themselves to the lowest common denominator.

Lack of God. The more people take God and Jesus out of everything in order that they may do as they please.. the worse our world gets. Simple.

Just as a update: 3 children are now dead… 2nd victim is brain dead, 3rd passed away about 3 hours ago.

I think the answers are both terrible and terrifying. They speak to what is in part wrong with us as a people that we have allowed our attention to be diverted by what is trivial rather than focus on what is most important, most vital to our continuation as a society. The observations by two of the commenters are very specific in they identify the social and media misdirection.

My third commenter provided an observation that is personal and pointed, an opinion as to why this is happening today, it led to a longer discussion that I intend to convert into another post shortly.

At the end of the day though, my problem is this; I have over 4,000 contacts on Facebook. Of those, four of commented on this story and during this week of tragedy I can count on one hand how many of them commented elsewhere. I would however require my calculator to track the number of posts about the deaths of Andrew Breitbart, Davy Jones or God Help Me how Angelina Jolie exposed her leg at the Oscars.

What is wrong with this world?

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