Now they’re just insulting the people…

October 20, 2018

Our American political system seems to be slipping ever deeper into the hyper-partisan hole of hate, bigotry and distrust into which it has dug itself. The campaign ads get more and more hateful and sleazy as voting day draws near. The gloves come off (if they were ever on) and the last vestiges of truthfulness and integrity are lost in the stampede to sling mud towards the opponents, no matter how outrageous or hurtful the messages ugly face.pngmay be. This is the ugly face of politics.

The politicians and their advisers think that they are “stirring up the base” by playing to the hate and fear messages that seem to resonate with the radical groups on either side. Rather than insulting the opposition, what these hate ads really do is insult the intelligence of the probable voters. They reduce the process to one of trying to pick out the least sleazy candidate to vote for in any election or the least likely to lead us into doom.

samuel Taylert ColeridgeI’m reminded of a quote that I saw in the Jack’s Winning Words blog – “Experience informs us that the first defense of weak minds is to recriminate.” (Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

I suspect that Coleridge would have found many weak minds among the slates of candidates in modern politics.

I will be glad again this year when we get by the election and can return to the more pleasant experience of the TV ads informing me over dinner about all sorts of medicines to help with gross bodily functions or diseases. Those are less likely to turn my stomach than the current crop of political attack ads. It is probably too late to save most of the politicians, but another piece of advice from the Jack’s Winning Words blog also comes to mind –

(Mark Twain) “Never lie to someone who trusts you, and never trust someone who lies to you.” Mark Twain

I wonder what Twain would write about our current political scene if he were alive today. I’ll bet it would be a fun read.

Heaven help us all to get through this mess we call an election.

 

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Beware the boomerang effect…

May 21, 2015

In Australia the native Aborigines developed a wonderful hunting weapon that would eitherboomerang hit and kill or disable the intended target (usually a small animal or bird) or it would fly back to the thrower, if it missed. I’m not sure what the Aborigines called it, but it was named the boomerang by someone. There are things in life that one can do, or attitudes that one can display, that almost always have what I call the boomerang effect…in other word s they come right back at you, most of the time with ill affect.

Examples include holding grudges, being spiteful or hateful, discriminating against others, bullying others, seeking revenge and more. I’m sure that each reader can probably think of a few more. They all have this in common; while they are actions or attitudes that are directed outward towards others they all reflect badly upon the person; thus they come back to cause harm to the originator. How? By making that person look like the ass that they are behaving like at the time.

hateful boomerangAll of the examples above and probably all that you can think of are negative things or behaviors and seldom does anything good come out of being negative. Secondly, they are all usually directed against someone or some group of people. They are meant to belittle or tear down those people or perhaps to cause them harm in retaliation for some perceived harm that they have caused. So you throw an insult out there or take an action designed to cause them some harm back. Beware the boomerang effect.

Sometimes life is like a sports event where the original infraction goes unnoticed by the refs, but the retaliation is seen by them and a penalty assessed against the person retaliating. One could look at that as being twice injured – once by the infraction and again because of thehockey penalty retaliation. Many time people have no idea what you might be responding to when you strike back in spite and retaliation against someone whom you feel has harmed you in some way. All that the innocent bystander sees is you being nasty to someone else. You come off as being an ass; and, to tell the truth, you are because you chose not to forgive and forget, but to try to get even. The boomerang effect has gotten you.

Life is not a zero-sum game, where there must always be a loser for every winner. One should not keep score in life of all of the perceived slights, or injuries or embarrassments that one suffers at the hands of others, be they real or imagined. Rather keep score of the number of times that you forgave that other person for their actions or hurtful remarks. Let them see that what they may have thrown at you missed the mark. Many times those things will boomerang back on them anyway, as others observe their behavior (and yours) and decide for themselves whether they want to be hateful and ugly or at peace with themselves and forgiving of others. Let them deal with their own boomerangs. Don’t add to the hate that already in the air by tossing your own boomerang out there, too.

I have found in life that nothing deflates the purveyors of hate and discontent more and faster than aiming their vitriol at someone who refuses to rise to the bait. Be the person who puts the flower into the barrel of the gun pointed at them, rather than pull your own gun and starting a battle. If you must fling boomerangs out there make them positive compliments to others and shows of affection towards others. Those tend to come back at you, too. Have a great day and watch what you throw out there.


Veto hate…give love a chance

April 3, 2015

From the blog Jack’s Winning Words comes this timely quote –

“We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.”  (Jonathan Swift)

I say timely because of the recent headlines about the hate that is being disguised as opinionatedreligious freedom in several states. There’s nothing that illustrates this little quote more than a bunch of good-ole, bible-thumping, conservative white guys in positions to create laws for the rest of us. They haven’t got enough love to really be called Christians, but they cloak themselves in that title anyway and then proceed to try to legislate life for those “who aren’t like us.”

Much of religion as practiced today by those of good-ole, bible-thumping, conservative white guys is highly hypocritical, espousing the moral high ground while occupying the lowlands of hate, discrimination and exclusion.  Leonard Pitts Jr. wrote a good editorial on the recent spate of so-called religious freedom laws that have been passed in several states lately by their good-ole white guys legislatures. You can read it at –  http://www.freep.com/story/opinion/contributors/2015/04/02/indiana-gay-rights/70830076/

His headline is Faith of force and exclusion not the only faith there is. He writes that there was even a law proposed by Sylvia Allen, a conservative female lawmaker out in Arizona, to require church attendance as a way, she thought, to reverse the moral decline that she see in America.

The hypocrisy does not stop at our own doorstep. Many of these same politicians puff themselves up and rail against the atrocities that they see being committed elsewhere in the world in the name of religion; while turning a blind eye to their own human rights
transgressions here at home. The simple fact is that all who trample on others or who promote hate, discrimination and intolerance in the name of their religion are wrong. They fail that simple little test that you see from time to time on those brightly-colored, WWJDrubber wrist bands that have WWJD on them.  If they really believe that Jesus would refuse to serve at a wedding because the couple being married are members of GLBT community then they have failed to understand the teachings of the very bible that they have been thumping all the while. BUT, they spit out in vile retort – “they’re not like us.” To which those on the receiving end might best reply – “thank God for that!”

Having been founded by people who fled to its shores to escape religious persecution, the drafters of America’s founding documents – the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution – went to great pains to craft an environment of principles, rights and laws that insured that religion would not again be used by government against its own exclusioncitizens. Government officials in several states seem to be trying to circumvent those founding intents. Many say that they are trying to return to “old values.” Perhaps they have overshot the mark a bit and returned all the way to the old values that were being imposed on those who sought refuge through escape to what became America. How ironic that they do not see the similarities in the discrimination that they are now trying to foist upon the citizens in the name of religion.

It is also telling about today’s America that economics seems to have a stronger role to play than the religious beliefs of those same legislators. Faced with economic boycotts over their new laws all are trying to backpedal on those laws as fast as they can, all the while defending their positions as defenders of the moral high ground. I’m reminded of the segregationist holdouts in the South during the civil rights movement, the face of Wallace buttonwhich was embodied in George Wallace standing on the steps of a school to deny entry to African-American children. Many of them thumped their bibles and claimed to have some moral right to discriminate against blacks. While most of those angry, good-ole, white guys have passed on; their progeny now stand on the steps of their own fortresses (apparently bakeries and flower shops, now) thumping their bibles and claiming the right to discriminate against a new group of people.

In two days we celebrate the defeat of death for us all by Jesus; perhaps sometime in our lifetimes we will gather to celebrate the defeat of exclusion and discrimination and the victory of love over hate. Maybe not this year; but, we can keep hope alive. WWJD? I think he would have vetoed those laws had he been the governor in any of those states. They certainly have no place in His world or His book. Celebrate the rise of the Son by embracing those around you who are different than us, rather than finding ways to hate them.


Don’t you just hate that…

August 5, 2014

“Anger or hatred is like a fisherman’s hook. It is very important for us to ensure that we are not caught by it.” – Dalai Lama

What is unsaid in the Dalai Lama’s statement is that the hook of anger or hatred is normally baited by things that entice us to bite. The danger is increased in both by the speed with which they normally come on. Road rage is a good example of anger that can instantly take over a normally docile person. Hatred, on the other hand, may take time to develop; although some people are prone to saying, “I hate that” at the drop of a hat.

blowhardOne piece of sage advice that you hear a lot to deal with anger is to stop and count to ten when something has happened that would make you angry. What’s at work in that little piece of advice is creating the time for your brain to allow reason or logic to kick in before your react to the incident. It gives you time to think, “so what, if that guy cut in front of me?” Does it really matter enough for you to get angry? What purpose will it serve for you to yell at that person or flip a gesture at them? What if that just made them angry too and now the whole incident has suddenly escalated? There is no win-win scenario that can come out of allowing escalating anger to take you over.

While anger is transient – flaring up quickly and then gone in the next instant – hatred can build over time, festering in the back of your mind. It usually take a while for something to progress from “I don’t like that” to “I hate that”; but not always. People do snap to a judgment of hate sometimes on non-personal things, or at least they use the phrase – “I hate that.” Whenever I hear someone use that phrase about an object, I generally interject, “Hate is such a strong emotionhate computer to waste on and inanimate object.” Sometimes that helps them see the error of their statement in the situation at hand; sometimes not. After all, in that moment, they are filled with hate.

Hate is a very strong emotion and is usually directed at someone, sometimes because of some perceived wrong that they have done to us. Hate is an ugly emotion that probably causes much more harm to the person harboring it that to the target of the feeling. Both hate and anger have been shown to have negative health effects on the people carrying them around, usually to do with elevated blood pressure levels. Hate can be a powerful driver. Hate can also push out logic and reason from our minds and drive behavior that defies either. That is angry couplewhy so many hate crimes are so hard to believe or understand. A normal person can’t imagine what would drive someone to commit them. There seems to be absolutely no redeeming qualities about hate at all, so working to keep it out of your life is a good thing.

So, let us all take the Dalai Lama’s advice and avoid the hooks of hate or anger in our lives as much as possible. Take the time to stop and count to ten (to twenty, if you need to) and let your brain regain control over the emotions that have welled up and tried to take you over. Be in control and be calm; or as the British say KCCO. You will feel much better for it.