Archive for June, 2014
Yesterday, in efforts to retain his status as the Republican Party’s candidate for re-election, Senator Thad Cochran furthered the cause of stripping away the veil of illusion that obscures the extent to which our political class is corrupted and broken. We owe him a debt of gratitude for exemplifying the worst of what political junkies are capable of in their hunger to retain power.
Dismissing, without the slightest thought, the values and principles most Americans hope to find in their elected representatives, the Republican Establishment (read as Mitch McConnell, Haley Barbour, Orin Hatch, et al) pooled its resources to use race baiting and fear mongering to crush the candidacy of a decent, principled Conservative of their own party in favor of retaining a 77-year-old-obviously-senile-incompetent-42-year-member-of-Congress.
The challenger, Chris McDaniel, is an attorney, conservative commentator, and Republican politician in the Mississippi Senate since 2008. Yesterday, McDaniel actually received 25,000 more Republican votes than Cochran. However, because the Republican Establishment, via false advertising and fear-based robo-calling, mobilized 35,000 African American Democrats to cross over and vote Republican…their deceitful and manipulative methods resulted in a 4000+ vote win for Cochran.
I listened to many callers to conservative talk radio today. The general consensus is outrage and disgust. The good news is that anger and outrage, once transformed into righteous indignation, can be a force for good.
That is now our challenge.
While it would be easy to remain enraged, as so many are, at the Republican party’s lack of ethics and arrogance bordering on criminality…rage will not get us where we need to go. We need to awaken to what was done in Mississippi and commit to not allowing such tactics to prevail elsewhere. We need to become educated, vocal and determined citizens in order to weed out the liars, crooks and manipulators within both parties by remembering not only Mississippi but also that there are more of us than there are of them
Our Founders, both John Adams and George Washington, knew the two party system would become corrupted and fail. But they also knew We The People would be here to do the heavy lifting and willingly pay the price that sustaining liberty requires.
The moment has arrived. Liberty is at risk. Now is the time. Ours is the price. We pay it now or lose everything worth having.
The American spirit at its best is unfettered optimism. Our belief in the ability to accomplish a goal despite all odds is why so many people from around the globe want to be Americans. But optimism, in excess, can also be a detriment. Absent any basis in reality or fact, optimism deteriorates into mindlessness.
In 2008, the nation was captivated by the emergence of a well-educated articulate, seemingly bright, charismatic, civic-minded African-American candidate for President. Our national optimism propelled a majority of us to rally behind his candidacy as he represented the culmination of decades of optimism that we would one day rise above the superficiality of race and see a person based upon the content of his or her character.
We erred by allowing our optimism to negate our discernment. We raced past logical review and analysis of the candidate’s background, achievements, and philosophical underpinnings to embrace his bumper sticker. We were content with a promise because we are, after all, Americans and doesn’t every American want what is best for the country? Apparently not.
The Presidential election of 2016 portends a similar fate unless we temper our wishes with our intellect. Hillary Clinton remains the Democrat front-runner should she make a formal announcement to enter the race. Hillary has likely been promised that position should she desire it. While I don’t yet know her slogan, we need to see past the prospect of the “first female President” and face the truth of Hillary’s career and her condition.
Hillary Clinton failed at passing socialized medicine but got it anyway to what we now know to be the Nation’s harm. She worked for the Children’s Defense Fund advocating children’s rights but represented an admitted child rapist and bragged at her success in getting him off “for time served” due to an evidentiary error…not to mention her laughing at the rapist having “beaten” a lie detector test. Hillary disparaged the women her husband sexually harassed, fondled, or had sex with rather than condemn his behavior. She failed to adequately protect and defend our Embassy in Benghazi and it now seems she knew the President was lying when he blamed a video for the attack then stood by that lie as she had stood by her husband’s immorality.
And Hillary is not healthy. She has fallen, had blood clots, arrhythmia, and who knows what else. Lately, she has made statements about she and her husband’s financial status that draw into question either her version of reality or her values system.
How does that saying go? “Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me.” Let us not be so eager to follow the first black President with the first female President that we once again throw caution to the wind and see not what is in front of us but rather what’s being sold to us.
Steve Clark (my co-host on Above The Fray Podcast) and I post independently of one another. I get to read his blogs the same way you do which is when they’re published. Yesterday, when I read his post titled “We’re All Drug Addicts” I knew I had to write my own thoughts on a topic about which I have first-hand knowledge. In fact, when Heath Ledger overdosed, I was contacted by several media outlets to weigh in on the subjects of addiction, suicide and drug overdose. (A fully developed interview of me following Ledger’s death can be listened to here.)
Anti-depressants are proven to lead to and/or increase incidents of suicidal thinking. In my twenties I battled depression and anxiety. A physician put me on anti-depressants and tranquilizers to combat the condition. When I realized I was addicted to the medications I decided to stop taking them. Shortly thereafter, I tried to commit suicide and came very close to succeeding. It was a turning point in my life as it awakened me to the realization that I had to either do it again and succeed or begin to live my life differently. I choose the latter.
It is now decades later and I live a joyful and rewarding life. In no small part it’s due to a different addiction. I mediate daily. Your reaction may be “Well, that’s stretching it a bit since mediation is hardly an addiction.”
But it is.
I need to meditate every day. I’m at a loss when I don’t get my “fix” of that meditative state. Without those feelings of peace, joy, calm and clarity that I receive from meditation I feel tense, discontent, frazzled and off my game. So you see, I am addicted. But I’ve also consciously chosen my addiction because it enhances rather than diminishes the quality of my life.
The point is that it may just be human nature to be addicted. Some choose alcohol, drugs, pornography, chocolate, gambling, serial adultery, masturbation, twitter, clothes shopping…whatever. Regardless, we humans have Free Will and so get to choose that to which we are addicted.
For me, the contrast is no contest. On drugs, I was sedated, slow of thought and harming vital organs with unnecessary and toxic side effects. On meditation, I am sharp of mind, peaceful of spirit, accepting of life and creative of soul.
So to paraphrase Steve, if we’re all addicted remember: You get to choose to what.
It’s certainly easy to become frustrated, angered, even enraged at national and global events. Terrorists are summarily released from Guantanamo to inevitably return to their pursuit of our destruction; original IRS files under investigation, allegedly lacking any archived copies, suddenly disappear and the hard drive that housed them is destroyed; literally thousands of illegal immigrants pour across our southern border daily while the Federal government, charged with our protection, stands by idle and silent; the most radical of radical Islamic terrorists murderously and savagely tear their way through Iraq seizing cities and imposing Sharia Law as they go, negating the efforts we made and the lives we sacrificed to bring that nation a chance for freedom; food and energy prices soar upward while we are told there is no inflation and one hundred million, one third of our population, are unemployed.
Overwhelmed people feel victimized and are susceptible to manipulation by anyone promising an end to their frustrations. Enraged people are reactive, fail to reason and consequently, think before they act. Neither false prophets nor indiscriminate actions can serve us now.
What’s needed is very simple, if not necessarily easy:
1. Pull back to your most basic and immediate needs and environment.
2. Ask yourself, “How will gratuitous anger serve me?
3. Ask yourself,” What can I do to simplify my life and reduce stress?”
4. Reach out to neighbors, friends or colleagues to establish a community of support for one another.
5. Commit to not allowing yourself to be seduced into blame, violence or hatred of others.
6. Identify and stand firm in your core beliefs regardless of their political correctness…so long as those beliefs are not at the expense of another.
7. Hold fast to faith in humankind’s awakening to the realization that united we stand and divided we fall as All are One.
8. Allow truth to emerge from within you rather than allow an agenda to be imposed upon you.
Every historical period has its challenges. This one is no exception. What causes pain and suffering is not change. It’s our resistance to change. The world is changing in rapid and profound ways. Old patterns of behavior and correction will not work. When we switched from horse and buggy to the combustion engine, you could not fuel that engine with oats…although those oats worked just fine under the old system.
Rather than judge who did what and how we got here, let’s use our intellects, our hearts, and our individual uniqueness to co-create solutions. The dawn of a new day brings the opportunity to either repeat yesterday or live today anew.
Free Will. You get to choose.
I vividly remember why I did not vote for Barack Obama in 2008. I had been browsing the stacks at a Barnes and Noble and came across a small book written by a former New York Times writer, an African-American who laid out the case that Barack Obama was in search of an identity based upon his bi-racial upbringing combined with early childhood exposure to policies and agendas both foreign and domestic. The author, himself a product of mixed racial parentage, suggested Obama was wrong for the job and even implied that combined with the Senator’s professional and political inexperience…perhaps even a hazard.
It’s hard to know where to begin in cataloging this President’s errors, failures, missteps and lies. From Obama’s multiple unilaterally decreed amendments to Obamacare; broken assurances that Obamacare would not only reduce premiums $2500 per year but also allow people to keep their doctors; faulty judgment in supporting Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt; security failures in Benghazi; a Department of Justice that has covered up the Fast & Furious scandal; selective targeting of conservative groups by the IRS; a systematic process for obscuring the truth about medical care for our Veterans and, most recently, freeing five deadly Islamic extremist terrorists in exchange for one alleged deserter.
So here we are with two years left to a Presidency few people trust and for good reason. President Obama has misled, and at more times than I’d like to think, lied to the very people who put their trust in him. While I was not one of them I none-the-less expected more of him than what we got.
In addition to that book at Barnes and Noble, I recall an astrological chart that had been done on the President at the time of his election. It was on the Internet and compiled by a well-known Vedic (Indian) astrologer. In the last paragraph it said this President would enter the office as one of the most beloved leaders and exit it one of the most despised. This, I believe, will occur.
Whether it was the book or the chart, we would have been better off following one or the other rather than a man who promised “Hope and Change” but has delivered, above all, deception and corruption.