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.

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November 6, 2011 Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

You suck…NO, YOU suck…..

I need to write something, since I’ve not posted in a while . It’s not that I don’t have anything on my mind, although the meditation practice does seem to empty it a bit.  My problem is that I’m not sure that I really want to write what I’m thinking. Does that make sense?  I’ll give it a try and maybe some of you feel the way I do, but can’t quite verbalize it, either.

Here’s what’s been on my mind:  politics.  Ugh, right?  Hold on a minute before you click away to sunnier topics. It’s not politics from the policy, detail perspective; it’s politics from the aggressive, angry, “I don’t want to hear what you have to say or maintain our friendship, because we disagree” perspective.

I will be honest and declare that I am a longtime Republican.  Many of you just shifted your view of me. Be completely honest with yourself.  When you find out that someone that you generally like or respect is Republican or Democrat, you alter your view of them.  Be truthful; I’ve found myself making these generalizations.

Here’s the thing:  it’s okay.  It’s okay to wonder why someone holds a different viewpoint or philosophy than you. We are after all, a two party system and the two philosophies, along with checks and balances provided by the various branches of government and the media, are designed to make sure that everyone is heard and that one party or the federal government,  can’t become tyrannical.  Now, I’ll admit that there have been times in our history, perhaps you feel it’s now, when one side seems to be holding all of the power.  I’ve found in my personal observations that the pendulum tends to swing back the other way, if things get a little nutty.

Here’s what’s not okay:  to hear someone’s party affiliation and IMMEDIATELY jump to the conclusion that they are some parody of a person that’s been portrayed by talking heads of either side. That is what I see happening among friends, family, co-workers, etc. to the point where we can no longer discuss or debate politics without threatening these important relationships.  Blindly following the talking points and narrative of either party, results in the current climate of distrust, name-calling, anger and closed-minds.  Personally,  I’m sick of it.

Let me tell you a few things about me, Jane the Republican.  I don’t hate blacks, immigrants, gays, communists, or muslims.  I believe that it is our responsibility to care for those among us who cannot care for themselves, with a combination of private charity and government aid.  I believe that the military’s ‘don’t ask-don’t tell’ policy is antiquated, discriminatory and wrong and that gays should openly serve our country and I hope that policy is soon history.  I am cognizant of my own carbon footprint, but do not believe that the government should dictate what car I drive or what I eat.  I can make those decisions myself, based on my own economic, health and happiness factors.  Not to mention my common sense.

I am not a member of an evangelical movement, nor am I comfortable with the massive infusion of religion into politics.  Dogma on both sides is counter-productive, divisive and tends to deflect from the nuts and bolts act of leading and governing that is supposed to go on in Washington.  It seems to to me that many politicians have elevated ‘religion’ over ‘ethics’, in their quest to get elected.

I DO believe that a central government out of Washington D.C., can’t efficiently manage the wants, needs, desires, finances and health care for over 300 million people, living in diverse states and circumstances.  I also believe that this central government should be a bit more responsible in how they spend the precious tax dollars they collect and I think both parties are guilty of OPM syndrome.  (Other People’s Money–it’s always a little easier to spend it, no?)

So, there you go.  Scary, eh?  I’m sure that some of you have written me off and never proceeded past the 3rd paragraph where I declared my allegiance to the party of ‘right-wing nutjobs’.   I’m also aware that I may have turned off some of my own tribe as well with some of my ‘liberal’ views.  That’s okay, too.  My point is that very few of us fit the stereotype that is constantly drummed into us via the media (of which I am a longtime member, by the way. I used to host a conservative talk show, until it made me crazy and I had to look for a ‘normal’ radio job).

And here’s a little secret for those of you who worship at the alter of the various right-wing/left-wing pundits:  it’s pretty much about ratings, advertisers and money.  Not that there is ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT!  That’s how I’ve paid my mortgage for 25 years.  Just realize that sometimes things get a little, um…. exaggerated, for drama and effect.  I’m not saying they don’t have good intentions to inform you and agitate you, but a lot of it is closer to theater, than real information.

There, I’ve said what’s been on my mind.  And you?  Would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to hear your thoughts and comments. One request:  let’s have a rational, respectful discussion:)

April 10, 2010 Posted by | Musings | , | 23 Comments

   

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