Truth?, Justice, and the American Way

I just finished a documentary on HBO. The title, “After Truth, Disinformation and the Cost of Fake News” follows several different stories that occur between 2016 and 2018. Most people associate fake news with the Democratic Party. The documentary specializes in the use of false news that worked against and for both parties.

We search for the truth. We watch shows about it, read on it incessantly, and find every imaginable source we can to prove ourselves correct. I promise that if you watch this with an open mind, you will begin to look over things differently. What we are seeing is indeed the gullibility of America and the dilution of the intelligence pool.

I cannot sit and prophetically tell you that I have not been suckered in as well. We have an obligation to not be a part of the problem. Be sure to check your source. Far more than one source is needed. Before you decide to post that story that does not seem real, check it first and again. Fear and hatred spread much faster than any other thing. We owe it to ourselves to not be the reason for spread of either.

 

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A Whole New World

I am sure when most see those words, we think of the land of Disney and their fairy tales. A side note about that would tell you that some of the original Disney movies were based on Grimm Fairy Tales. Those pesky German brothers wrote many tales. But their stories were far darker than Walt Disney. So goes the American version of dulling down the sharp edge of the sword so others do not harm themselves. Well, buckle up America, I fear we are about to see version 2.0 for those of you watching at home.

For those of us who either have been blessed with a job still intact or have long since retired, the last few months have been anywhere from an annoyance to a humble look at how fragile a country truly is when the threat of merely being able to survive gets in the way. Somehow, all those things you were taught as a child come into play. Wash your hands, cover your mouth when you cough, keep your area clean, give people their distance, and many other things.

We have had 2+ months of sitting at home and waiting out the curve we needed to flatten. What will we come back to once we are given the “all clear?” Not that it really is all clear. We just do not have much more of a choice but to move forward in life. If we do not, we face a collapse that will affect far more than the loss of life.

If you ever see a turtle slowly peep his head out after being scared, it will remind you a lot of what we are about to witness. What will the world we come back to? When you go back to your local store, its doors may be shuttered. Going out to eat? That mom and pop place you always go-to for a good home-cooked meal may be out of business. In the last 4 weeks, we have seen 20 million people apply for unemployment. This does not include those who owned businesses. Those who had everything they owned in shops and businesses. Those who did not get their paperwork done in time for the payout from the government. What we will face coming out of our shell will be, “A Whole New World.”

 

 

 

 

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Welcome To The New Normal

When I last wrote, the world was a whole different place, wasn’t it?  We had heard the term pandemic. It wasn’t like we were totally in the dark over it. This was something that happens in Hollywood movies. Where’s Matt Damon or the zombies? It pretty much has played out like a movie in some ways.

  1. It starts somewhere that isn’t in America
  2. It’s not where we are. Pay not attention.
  3. One guy is in the hospital and they are not sure
  4. One person has died, but it’s no big deal. They had other health issues
  5. It’s only old people. That and cancer patients, diabetics, autoimmune diseases, and transplant folks
  6.  People are getting really sick. This seems weird. How many rolls of toilet paper do you need for the apocalypse
  7. I can’t find Lysol wipes, TP, hamburger, bread, snow skis, a ukelele, and snow tires.
  8. This is serious, we all should stay home
  9. This is the government. You will all stay at home unless you are essential. ***Note, 90% of you are now essential
  10. 6 ft distance from others. Unless they breathe, have a heartbeat, or its Spring Break
  11. Our state is closed and we don’t have enough respirators, hospital beds, doctors, nurses, or baked potatoes
  12. Pandamonium replaces the pandemic. While 1.5% are dying, people look at this as though 95% will die. Except for 5% of the assholes who disrespect the whole process and most likely infect the rest of us. Think of the guy who goes to Mexico and does drink the water

So what does all this mean? If you are old enough to remember 9/11, you will recall that within the first week afterward, the American Flag was sold out. Everyone loved America and would tell you that this was not going to change them. The terrorists were not going to win. If you are totally honest with yourself, did you look at those of Middle Eastern heritage differently? Did you rethink how you went about doing things? How you traveled? Many people will tell you no. I can’t say that and be truthful. I am not the same person because of that day. I don’t look at things the same and I surely don’t do the things I used to with such reckless abandon as before.

This worries me given the reaction of our populous in America. While this disease is truly deadly and has caused a devastating loss, it is just as important to look at things from another angle. Out of 100 people who would get this, it’s about 1.5 of them who would pass away. Yet when the run on goods started, people began grabbing everything they could think of to prepare. What does toilet paper do to help prevent a disease that causes respiratory problems? Anyone stop to think of that? If this was the end of the world, toilet paper becomes the most needed item? People worry that the standard of gold is not adhered to. It used to be that money could only be in circulation for the amount of gold that America had in its reserves. But that was eventually stopped. It was a point to not devalue the currency. But if you are in a drought and no rain for like 4 years, what’s the price for a big shiny rock? How about a gallon of spring water?

All of this has done more to shake any faith I had left in humanity more than anything else. Selfishness on a level we have never seen before has occurred. I personally don’t see how the world can unsee such things. It isn’t that good deeds and kindness are dead. It just feels that those who are selfish or afraid will trample those who are willing to help and are level headed. We have no other choice to run with the bulls because if we do not, we will be trampled by the herd.

I pray that lessons are learned from all of this. Those that can be used later on for this or other events that could affect us in this fashion. If we don’t, we have missed a golden opportunity to be better human beings.

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End of Year Clearance Sale

What a year we have had. What a decade as well. As age finds me being far less fleet of foot than I was 10 years ago, It also finds me in my third marriage instead of my first. My young children are now the age of adults or high schoolers. Time waits for no one. I would have to be stupid to think it didn’t include me as well.

I think this becomes a time for reflection. As does this time of year does for all of us. I often wonder if I am the only person who feels lost in that week between Christmas and New Years Day. Sort of like the run from November to the big gift day. After that comes this week where the pause button gets pushed while we catch our breath for the new year and craziness that will ensue. Where have we been during this time? What have we accomplished?

We have seen 2 Presidents during this time.  I have also watched my healthcare premiums, co-insurance, and copays raise 10 fold. All because it was felt that if your insurance was too good, well, you should be made to suffer for having such great coverage. One could see where this would be a bit of an issue for those of us who worked our ass off to get where we are. If that angers some, maybe look at it this way. You work your way through college while working full time and a parttime job. What do you get as a prize for that? Someone explains to your employer that if you keep supplying your employees with great coverage, then your company will be penalized by the government. But if you don’t have coverage at all and can’t afford healthcare, well then you get penalized yourself. What is left of Obamacare? Nothing. Just higher premiums and co-pays. Then we come to our current administration. If there was a person who could make others cringe more than a Clinton, well we found one. Arrogance and ignorance do go a long way in our society. People tell you that it amazes them how someone can blatantly say things that should never be said. However, our country has tired of continuous politics and politicians. How do you see politicians respond? Well everyone looks for a way to rid themselves of this menace. If you don’t believe that, someone comes to you and says if you could find a way to get yourself elected if it meant using another country? A politician thinks yes, but says no. A non-politician? Well, we’re living it now.

Life goes on though. I think that is what you find out so quickly when you get older. Nothing stops Father Time.  There are days that memories feel as though they were yesterday and just as quickly, they feel as though it were 100 years ago. It is something that I try very hard to explain to my kids. When you are young, you feel life is going to be this gigantic amount of memories that are going to flow like water from the ocean. What you find in time is that it is small amounts of time that you will keep. Snippets. Grins, laughs, cries, and tears. Small moments. And they will stay with you till your last breath. I want that for them. Cherish those moments. As I have seen this year, you are never given the guarantee of a long healthy life. It can be cut short so quickly for things you would have never known could be that dangerous.

I wish that everyone has a blessed New Year. Take time to do the things you cherish. Make moments with those you love. I plan to do just that. My decade has ended much better than it began. It took me 3 times to find someone who is my world. She is as much an angel as I could ask for. And for more than I deserve.

 

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It’s a Numbers Game

Its been awhile. Things get busy and I find that when I get home, my brain is too full to sit down and have a normal conversation in print. Others will find when I go on a tangent that staying on the topic becomes harder and harder.

So as our world turns so quickly these days, we end up with multiple issues happening over the last two weeks. We find ourselves at the precipice of another war on weapons. Mass shootings give the public an ability to find an argument in the 2nd Amendment rights of citizens. One person who decides that their life nor the lives of others should exist any further than the time of his or her choosing. I say his or her but if we are honest the male is far more the gender to be the trigger man.

If you search the interwebs, you will find sites stating different statistics on weapons. One states 43% of American homes have a registered weapon owner in them. Naturally, no one tells you about the unregistered weapons that people own. Not to say that people do that sort of thing. But if you haven’t heard someone say that the government doesn’t need to know about what I have, you may have had your head in the sand for the last 20 years. The main thing is, there are millions of weapons floating around the U.S. Millions of handguns, shotguns, and rifles. Single shot, semi-automatic, and fully automatic. The bump stock was referenced as an issue years before. As with anything else, there’s always a bigger and better way to do everything. The weapon industry is no different. While we had muskets in our revolution, the enemy can be found thousands of miles away.

Where do we stand as a nation with so many of us armed to the hilt? For millions of gun owners, this isn’t a question of why should I turn over my guns to the government? Why am I not allowed to exercise my 2nd Amendment rights? Why is the background check for ownership not more stringent? There are a ton of questions from every side of the argument.

I feel background checks should be more stringent. In the case of the shooter in Dayton, Ohio, his juvenile record and school expulsions should have been made available to factor in whether he should be allowed to purchase firearms. Psychological issues are not made available for this situation. While you may find it excessive, I feel if you ask to purchase a firearm, then you give permission to allow your medical background to be checked. If this violates your privacy then obviously it would seem there is something you have to hide. You may know you are fine and that every check will turn out clear. That you may have to wait longer before you are allowed to take possession of a weapon. What price is that to pay if it keeps that weapon out of the hands of someone who doesn’t need to have one? How many lives is that worth?

A gun has never killed another human being. Oh, I’m sure there is some distant story about someone cleaning it or it falling over. The real culprits? The soul of humanity. Our nation has become selfish in its attitude and in its nature. toward one another. Our own sanity has been challenged by an onslaught of being told what is right and wrong instead of being able to choose on our own. No one expects society to be able to make those choices anymore. We are only allowed to choose one side of an argument rather than see details that both sides present. All or nothing and no in-between. By doing this, we create monsters who feel their manifesto or reason for doing such atrocities is justified within their own words or those whom they worship.

Along with this comes the publicity and sensationalism of media coverage.  Every shooter becomes a star. We take time to honor the victims but only for a fleeting moment. All the other time is spent attempting to understand the motives for this person. There is no way to rationalize irrational behavior. Getting into the mind of someone so distorted proves impossible. Making them a star only gives the next person on the edge of doing something similar that last push to kill more than the one before them. In retrospect, Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin are responsible for over 30 million deaths. Yet no one gets on television to explain their psychological problems and how they could have prevented so many deaths. How do you suppose that we can catch someone who you don’t know and have never seen from opening fire one you someday? The answer is that you can’t. While stronger checks will help, it will never completely stop mass shootings. Before guns, there were knives, before knives there were stones. Murder has been a part of this world since Cain and Abel. It is not something invented yesterday. Condoning violence and opinion through social media and televised programs helps no one. That shows us how the 1st Amendment has the ability to infringe upon the 2nd. Nothing tells you directly to just murder. However, it teaches you anger and frustration and who is to blame for it.  We owe it to ourselves to not take the word of one person or own source. Study your facts and take a moment to research. Because what you are being told today is far more opinion than stated truth.

It is my hope that both sides of this issue can come together to make choices that make sense on both sides. The time for bickering of petty things if far gone. Let’s do something to benefit our country rather than pound our chest and yell about what people threaten to take from you.

 

 

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Finding Solace in Today’s Reality

I must freely admit that I am in no good way addicted to a verbal confrontation. Being an addict to such a thing is something that I have always known but always find a way of saying that I am simply unable to listen to rhetoric without putting myself in the middle of the argument. Social media has done more to spark this addiction than any single thing that has ever been invented.

There are two places that I am from. A time and a place. I am much closer to old age than I am a young man. I am from an area of the country that has more porch swings, coca-cola, cigarettes, and conversation than most parts of the country. Politics and things of the world was what grandpas, grandmas, and the older adults did outside while we watched tv or played games. We never thought to get involved in the talk and would most honestly have been told that what was being said had no concern for us kids. Our education was brought to us by history class. Current events were the newspaper and Walter Cronkite.

Then came the internet, Google, and most importantly Facebook. Information galore for all the world to come and see and comment on. A world once ignorant on everything no has anything they want to know right at their fingertips. In so many ways we have gone from ignorance to stupidity in the snap of a finger.

I have often thought the internet should have a name change. Opinionnet sounds more fitting these days. The tendency is to leave out or omit parts to make the square peg fit into the round hole. Facts are based upon one-hit wonders. I read this webpage yesterday and I now a certified deep-sea scuba diver. One could see the issue with this sort of thing. A FoxNews watcher sees that the president should be crowned emperor. We can discontinue elections and democracy. The Donald has it all covered. CNN watchers find that world is racist. White people may all be the collective antichrist and the world will end soon if impeachment isn’t started by next Tuesday.

It’s easy to get caught up in society. We don’t make it hard to try to keep up. 15 minutes on any major site can make you feel as though you traveled the world twice over and acutely able to understand the ins and outs of world events. However, what qualifies as news today you most certainly fall upon deaf ears in years past. As an addict to daily events, there are more versions of reality than reality itself. This creates the ultimate issue; 10 different ideas of the truth that are kind of right but not exactly.

Pay more attention to more than one version. Opinions are important. Facts are invaluable. Finding them is that much harder. There isn’t a Top 5 news agency that will give you information without explaining to you how you are supposed to feel about what you are being told. This above all is the decisive issue. Be the person who does not accept emotion over truths. When we accept the emotion, we only feed the monster of misinformation, misinterpretation, and misdirection. Take the time to learn reality over morality. There are some things that are only black or white. Some are shades of gray. But even those have light or dark hues.

I am still addicted. I jump into a post, a share, a can you believe all the time. I am more a believer in truth than I am of sides. I’m not here for your candidate nor am I usually against them. There is also the point of seeing that your addiction is not always beneficial to you or those around you. So as I am learning to do, take time to put down the phone, laptop, or mouse. Enjoy life more like the back porch days. Simpler things don’t always mean uninformed but just that we don’t have to always be hostile towards ourselves or one another.

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Let’s Make Laws not Wars

Much has been said in recent days regarding racism. Given the issues we have seen in politics over the last 25 years I would suggest a change. Instead of spending every waking second trying to impeach or argue legality of work being done, attempt to work on legislation yourself. Better to remembered as someone pushing for better lives than as someone who only tries to ruin the lives of others.

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Let’s Do This Again

You know that part of your life where you go, I am gonna sit down and do x or do y? I have had x and y in my mind for about 10 years now. Family and friends tell you that you have a talent but you think to yourself, well that is what family and friends do.  There also comes a time when you think to yourself, maybe or maybe not.

You have all heard of the phrase “off the beaten path.” Its where we all end up at times in our lives. Some of us do so because we choose the path; others because they become tied up or wrapped around issues that throw their world in a whirlwind.

I would like to tell you there is one main theme for this. However, that would be a huge lie. Whatever may be on my mind at the time will be the topic of the day.  Anyone who knows me knows that what’s on my mind changes constantly. There will probably not be posts every day. Then maybe two in a day. Let’s see where this leads us.

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