The New Religion

Okay, people, I have it all figured out.  I read this article, and it gave me a great idea:

I'm going to start a new religion.  I think I'm going to call it the Temple of the True Believers or something like that.  There will be no specific, written doctrine, so anyone with any beliefs can join.  Then, I'm going to start ignoring the laws I don't like because that is what my deeply held religious beliefs tell me to do.  There are so many possibilities, it is mind boggling.  In fact, this is the time to really apply my imagination.

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I have even gone through the trouble of selecting a religious symbol.  I picked it because it is a happy face that gives two thumbs up.  That means you have the approval of the Temple of the True Believers to do whatever your deeply held religious beliefs tell you to do.  In other words, if it makes you happy (one of the basic tenets of this new religion), do it.  There is no meanness in this new religion – hence the happy face.

I have also selected the first piece of music for the liturgy.  Make yourself HAPPY, and listen to it at least once a day.  It will do you good – physically and, I guess, spiritually since this is, after all, a religion.

Now to the meat of the matter. Here are just a few of my plans:

  • I am going to go into my friendly, neighborhood bank and demand a few hundred thousand dollars.  I am a socialist, and I don't believe anyone should have that kind of money.  Since banks have a lot more than I do, I don't believe that is right according to my deeply held religious belief in pure socialism.  I will take that money and help other people.
  • I will stop paying taxes.  I don't approve of the job the government is doing, so why should I support it.  According to my deeply held religious beliefs, I feel it is my obligation to stop financially supporting a government I feel is corrupt, etc.
  • I will stop paying my bills (See #1.  Remember, I am a socialist.).

I can see that this ruling could end up being a really good thing.  After all, most of us have deeply held beliefs.  Now, all we have to do is call them religious, and we're good to go.  I guess I have the Supreme Court of the United States to thank for all of this.

Posted in Philosophy/Ideas, Satire, Taboo 2 by with no comments yet.

The Real WMDs

I found the real WMDs, and they're not in the Middle East.  They're here - right under our noses.  Hopefully, they're on their way out.  It isn't difficult to predict that they will not go gently unto that good night.  So what are the WMDs?  They are White Male Dominators.

In the end, this is what the struggle in our country is all about.  Those who fondly remember the days when being white and male meant instant success don't want to see their leg up take off.  They long for the days when even poor, male, white trash was better than "them."  They enjoyed being able to abuse everyone else without fear of retaliation.  They liked being able to apply for jobs and colleges without the competition.  They were comfortable knowing they were not held accountable for the suffering of those who were not white and male because they were secure in the knowledge that the white male was superior.

Thankfully, for the rest of us, their days are numbered.  The writing is on the wall, but they refuse to read it.  They are doing everything in their power to maintain the status quo, but it's becoming more difficult.  Every day, more people are stepping up to claim their portion of the American dream.  White Male Dominators (read Koch brothers, Adelson and their ilk) are doing their best to buy Congress and create laws that will keep them in control.

So what's stopping them?  What's the monkey wrench in the works?  I'll tell you.  We are stopping them.  We are the monkey wrench in the works.  We, the people, those of us who have struggled to get where we are, are not willing to give back what we have fought and, often, died to attain over the last two centuries.

When our founding fathers (What happened to the mothers?) wrote, "All men are created equal," they meant all white, male property owners.  Women, people of color and those who are different in any way had to struggle to get ourselves included.  We have made progress, but the fight is far from over.  In many ways, the real work is just beginning.

If you are not sure you are on the right side of history, ask yourself this question.  Do you believe it is important that all people are treated well. If so, then you are thinking of others.  That is the litmus test.  If, however, you believe you deserve more than other people, irrespective of the reason, your time is coming to an end.

If you want to work for universal equality, there is something you can do.  Social media and the Internet have given us a way of finding each other and working together to bring all people into a future that will be bright if we all have the opportunity to share in its rewards.  Vote for the people who have your best interests at heart.  Keep up the pressure.  Don't give up.  Don't let up.  Work together to achieve equality.  Don't let them divide and conquer.  We will prevail.  If we don't, it is unlikely democracy will survive.

Posted in Bigotry, Economic Inequality, Hate/Violence, Humanity, Philosophy/Ideas, Social Media, Struggles/Protests, The Future by with no comments yet.

The Ethics of Ethics

I have contemplated the question, “Why should we be ethical?” It bothered me. Would you ask, “Why should we breathe?” No. So, what should the question be? To be truthful, I am not sure.

Anne Frank believed that all people were good at heart. That has also always bothered me. Was she wrong? Could she be right?

I know that when I first became a mother, I read books and articles about how to parent. Some experts suggested leaving an infant to cry, in the crib, so the child learn to terrorize parents at bedtime. I couldn’t do that. To me, the lesson learned at that incredibly young age was that you were, ultimately, alone. That was not the lesson I wished to teach. In the end, my husband and I raised our children the way we had been raised because we had both enjoyed our childhood.
I grew up feeling safe with my family. My family behaved in an ethical manner. They were honest and compassionate. That’s how I was raised. To behave differently would make me horribly uncomfortable- like wearing my pants backwards. They actually did what a lot of child experts claim you shouldn’t do… it was a child-centered home. It was clear that my parents’ goal was to give us the best they could. They gave us the gift of themselves and, in doing so, gave us the gift of ourselves.

I believe that it is in our nature to be trusting, loving, and ethical. We are taught to be different. When our parents and the world betray us, we learn to take care of ourselves. The essence of ethical behavior and decisions is that the behavior and decisions are based on what is right as opposed to what suits us. If we are safe within ourselves and feel loved, then ethical behavior is not an issue. It is just a natural part of life.

I am 60 years old. I now know that behaving in this way can be very costly because the world does not reward ethical behavior. In fact, it often punishes the honest. It certainly appears to reward the dishonest. So, why continue to be ethical?
Actually, it is because I am terribly selfish and self serving. I like being loved. I like being respected. I revel in the adoration of my husband. I glow when he looks at me with love and trust and passion after almost 40 years of marriage. I feel good when my children trust me and turn to me for guidance. I couldn’t bear to see that change.

The problem is, how can you get people to understand that those gifts are worth far more than anything you can acquire by unethical behavior? The answer is, you probably can’t. The decision, ultimately, has to be made by the individual. In my case, it was easy because I was raised in an atmosphere of trust and love. For those who were not, it is very difficult.

I have tried to help people in my life. I have discovered that it is an uphill battle because they can’t feel my love and hope for them. No matter how much I love, no matter how much I give, if they can’t feel it, it is of limited value. But I keep trying. Why?

It is because I want the world to be right some day. My private world is still full of love and trust, so I feel safe. If I want the world to be that way for everybody some day, I have to serve that cause by trying to help people and make the world a better place.

In the end, we are best served by behaving ethically. If I find money today and return it to the rightful owner, I have a better chance of having what I lose returned to me some day. No, it won’t happen in my lifetime. I will return the item and, probably, lose mine but, when I die, I will not be ashamed of myself.

And I guess that’s the real question. What is worth living for? I have dedicated my life to the one instant that I believe all of us eventually face. I think it is possible that there is a moment when we know that we are about to die. There are no more appointments to keep or excuses to make. There is no tomorrow to make things right. It is that moment for which I live. I want to be able to face it without fear and shame. I want my soul to be as clean as it can be. It is the only thing that is truly mine and the only gift I have to give.

Posted in Philosophy/Ideas by with no comments yet.

Social Media and Civil Discourse

Once upon a time, not so long ago, people disagreed but still treated each other with respect and dignity.  They participated in passionate discussions about a variety of topics and thought nothing of calling those they disagreed with vehemently family and friend.  It’s hard to believe, but they exchanged conflicting ideas without becoming vulgar or belligerent. This no longer seems possible.  I believe the Internet and, especially, social media have helped facilitate this change, but it is not clear if it is the cause.

During my relatively brief time being politically active on the Internet, primarily through Facebook, I have been stunned to discover that vulgarity is something some people have no problem using when putting people down.  If I had been told I would encounter incredible rudeness, ugliness, childishness, ignorance, cruelty, hatred and intense bigotry while sharing my opinions, I would not have believed it.  A few short months expressing my disagreement with those who hold dissimilar political beliefs have proven otherwise.  I cannot recall ever being talked to, in person, the way I have been "talked" to on Facebook.  Is it the relative anonymity, or has the world become more violently confrontational?  Sad to say, I think the world has changed and not for the better.

Once an individual has been identified as a target, no attempt at diplomacy will be accepted.  Instead of responding to a post or observation in a civil fashion supported by facts where appropriate, the statement is frequently ignored.  Responses are often in the form of attacks with viscous name-calling and even more vitriolic and threatening language.  Is this what the world is coming to?

Regardless of which place on the political spectrum a person falls, it should be obvious there is some truth to this assertion.  While most of the rage and bitterness seem to come from the far right, there are many on the far left who are just as horrifying.

Specific Examples

These are just a few of the examples of the kinds of exchanges I have had with some people.  What amazes me is that they don't seem to mind having their names associated with the language they use.  Some make threats that must come to the attention of local, state and federal authorities.  If someone ever looked at their Facebook communications, it would forever change the way they were seen by the brick-and-mortar world.  However, nothing seems to deter them.

Conversations - Rude

The sad truth is, unless we learn to communicate with each other in a more reasonable way, we are doomed.  We will descend into a special hell buried beneath the fanatical screams of those with mouths and no ears.  Those on the extreme ends of a topic will attack each other with emotional weapons of mass destruction, and the rest of us will be crushed by their unwillingness to embrace the human in all of us – even our most bitter adversaries.

Posted in Humanity, Philosophy/Ideas, Social Issues, Social Media by with no comments yet.
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