Present Tense

What the hell are we thinking?????

I tend to be pragmatic and I try to be proactive.   These are the two “p’s” that are currently propelling my philosophy.  Okay, I guess that’s 4 “p’s”.

Last year at this time, I was focusing on defining my spiritual life and after a fair amount of reading, thinking, writing and arguing I’m not much further along in that journey.  But, I’m glad that I took a proactive approach and began a foundation for a spiritual life.  I now know what what doesn’t work for me.  I have a hard time with ‘hope’ and ‘faith’; reality and human nature seem to make so much more sense and even though humans are squirrely and erratic, we all have some things in common.

We all have that ‘fight or flight’ mechanism.  We have a huge capacity to love and to hate.  We have basic survival needs: air, water, food, shelter, a smart phone.  We think we’re right and those who disagree with us are wrong.  We follow the rules and we break the rules, depending on the circumstances.  We know that we shouldn’t smoke, drink to excess, eat too much, drive too fast, watch lousy, soul-sucking reality shows, gossip, or hurt other people’s feelings and yet, we do.  So, knowing all of that, how proactive is hope or faith?  People are gonna do, what people are gonna do.

If that sounds sad or depressing to you, let me explain.  We humans are a messy, imperfect bunch.  Some of you may rely on religion to lift you above the fray of imperfect humanity, but then we’re right back to hope and faith.  Acting human and then praying for strength or forgiveness seems somewhat inefficient to a confused, imperfect heathen like me.  We all behave badly and yet, our definition of bad or wrong behavior seems to be defined more and more along political lines.  And that’s what I really want to get to: politics.  The fifth “p”.

I’ve been a Republican since I was old enough to vote, but I’ve begun referring to myself as the “world’s worst Republican”.  I am increasingly at odds with my party’s intractable stance on abortion, gay rights, religion and even some fiscal issues.  I’ve spent many years going along with ‘the party line” and as I’ve watched and listened to my party’s leaders for the past couple of years, I’ve realized that they no longer are in sync with my core beliefs.  I suspect that many Democrats are thinking the same thing about their party.

Both ends of the political spectrum have lost their minds.  The GOP is on the wrong side of history, when it comes to gay rights, abortion rights and their religious litmus tests.  The Democrats are in denial in about cutting spending, government waste and entitlement programs.  Both sides are full of crap when they say that special interests and huge amounts of money are only buying influence for the other party.

The bottom line is this:  all of politics is about money and influence.  The Tea Party has sounded the alert, as have the (too few) articulate members of the Occupy Wall Street movement.  The left thinks that business is too powerful, while the right thinks the government is too powerful; both of them are right.  Money and politics are so tightly intertwined that we can’t blame one side or the other. They are conspiring to enrich and empower each other.  The two protest groups have a large swath of commonality.  They’re both right; the American people are getting the shaft.

So, let’s try a little pragmatism and proactivity, shall we?  I’m challenging you to sweep aside the dogma of your political tribe.  Question the nonsense that the pundits, political leaders and the talking heads expound.  It’s not a matter of rich vs. poor, Democrat vs. Republican, left vs. right, religious vs. not.  It’s a matter of all of us questioning the nonsense that we have swallowed from our leaders for a very long time.  Both sides are to blame, as are we, for not thinking clearly; for allowing ourselves to be told what to think and how to react.  We are being manipulated by fear, hate, ignorance and laziness.

Heck, take a little time to think and challenge ALL of your core beliefs.  Political, religious, personal, financial, professional.  Life is about evolution and re-evaluation and finding what works and what doesn’t.  Be proactive and pragmatic. Figure out what’s working and what isn’t. Start with my two p’s and see where you end up.


November 6, 2011 - Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , ,


  1. There’s nothing pragmatic about the Republican party. It’s a cult.

    Comment by Ben Hoffman | November 6, 2011 | Reply

  2. Yes, both sides of the aisle are out of control. And there seems no way to hold this growing, monstrous machine in DC accountable for its irresponsible behaviors much less reign it in. Both ruling parties have sailed us very far away from Founding Principles such as limited government, personal responsibility and free markets. There are millions of us from both sides and of all races and faiths and sexual orientations as well as the independent “middle” who are standing up together and shouting “ENOUGH”. But The Liberty Initiatives may be our last gasp. It may be too little, too late. This Constitutional Republic is pretty much up for grabs at this point. And I’m not feeling very optimistic that we are even able to recover. These are such harrowing times for this nation. And it is depressing as hell.

    Comment by Greg | November 6, 2011 | Reply

  3. When Reagan said government was the problem and we need across the board deregulation, he was wrong and we are paying for it today. We’ve gone through an era of deregulation and how has that worked out? We need regulations … to prevent some businesses from polluting air and water, to keep us safe from Wall Street’s greed, to protect our civil rights. We need affordable health care, safe roads, food inspections, protection from criminals and to control the influence that a very few, the top 1%, have on the rest of us. See the movie “Inside Job” ….

    Comment by Mike | November 6, 2011 | Reply

  4. OMG, you are a Republican?! ? As if I couldn’t figure that out from hearing you on radio. And I agree with Mike, see “Inside Job”, it is along the lines of movie “What Happened to the Electric Car?”, just makes you boil. But it is just a movie, slanted from some person’s own perspective, so take it with a grain of salt?

    Comment by Jessi | November 18, 2011 | Reply

    • You say that like it means I’m an axe murderer. Actually, we never talk politics on our radio show, so I’m not sure what you mean:) And you’re right about all of the various films; they all have a certain perspective and narrative, but that’s okay, too. It’s what makes us human, right?

      Comment by janelondon | November 18, 2011 | Reply

      • If you’re a Republican, you’re a murderer by proxy.

        Comment by Ben Hoffman | November 18, 2011

      • You may not explicitly talk about politics but it’s pretty clear which way you lean. 🙂 Nothing wrong with it …

        Comment by AJ | November 21, 2011

  5. Both parties have lost sight of why they exist. They have lost sight of “the will of the people,” that they are elected to serve their constituents as their voice in Washington.
    They are not there to have their own philosophical “pissing contests”. Shutting down the government, which effects more than John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi because they can’t agree is not the answer. Neither party is doing the job they were elected to do in D.C. And yet, they get a pay raise when the rest of the country is struggling–and refused to extend unemployment benefits when people really needed them.
    It bothers me to see how low we have sunk as a nation. It seems like we are at war with each other. There is police brutality against many groups but there is also citizen brutality against police. The situation in Ferguson is disheartening– that the military has to be called out to make sure the peace is kept for an event that hasn’t taken place yet. And no matter the decision, do they have to worry about the reaction?
    Finally, the violence on school and college campuses. WHY? What has driven people to react this way, to hurt, kill and maim people, they don’t know, in many cases? When I was growing up, we never settled anything this way. What has turned society
    And, even the world, into savages?

    Comment by Marcia | November 23, 2014 | Reply

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