Archive for the ‘Freedom’ Category

I avoid mirrors, I simply can’t handle seeing my own reflection. I naturally have a difficult time making eye contact with anyone, fearing they will see through my mask. The rare moments I make eye contact with the man in the Mirror I grow weary and this is what came out.

My faces of evil

Cleverly hidden 

My eyes…

The window into a voidless darkness…

Soulless 

Stare too long and he takes you away

“Grab my hand”

“I will take this pain away”

“Follow me into the shadows”

“Fear not of voided thoughts”

“Shed no tears”

“We have lived beyond our years”

“Trust in me”

“To take the pain away”

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What We Learn From Failed Relationships

Posted: May 27, 2014 in Absolute Truth, Abuse, Anxiety, Arguments, Blog, Blogging, Change, Childhood, Children, Coping, Crisis, Culture, Dating, Debates, Depression, Diary, Dilemma, Divorce, Dreams, Emotional Abuse, Ethics, Evil, Faith, Family, Fatherhood, Fear, Forgiveness, Freedom, Fun, Greed, Grief, Growing up in abusive homes, Health, Humor, Inside My Mind, Journal, Kids, Learning, Lies and broken promises, Life, Lists, Living Your Dream, Logic, Love, Lust, Marriage, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Misc, miscellaneous, Moral Theories, Morals, Motivation, Mourning, NA, Opinion, Pain, Parent, Parenting, Personal, Philosophy, Poems, Poetry, Published Author, Quotes, Random, Random Thoughts, Rants, Rejection, Relationship Issues, Relationships, Sadness, Self-esteem, Self-Help, Self-image, Social Anxiety, Social Debates, Society, Sorrow, Spirituality, Stress, Suffering, The Invention of Lying, The Philosophy of Lyrics, The Philosophy of Quotes, Things That Give Me Anxiety, Thoughts, Top Ten Lists, Uncategorized, Unity, Verbal Abuse, Writing
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I would first like to start off by thanking all of my readers and subscribers. I learned today; I have readers from 61 different countries. I think that’s pretty bad ass. I am aware that my readership grew from the topics of philosophy, theology, and madness. So bear with me as I stray a bit from those topics. Today I would like to release that which has been permeating in my mind. I would like ponder for a moment the importance of learning from our mistakes in a failed relationship. Through all of this I am trying to maintain a positive attitude and outlook. So here we go.

The one thing I can say with out a doubt is I am far from sainthood. I have made my more than my fair share of mistakes, and bad decisions which played a role in the overall destruction of my marriage. I am ashamed and consumed with intense guilt because of this. This combined with my wife’s lies, and infidelity has allowed me to see the light. I am sure I could write a 200 page paper on this topic, but I will try to keep this short and sweet.

There are 10 main things I have learned in my failed marriage. Now mind you there are far more than 10, but as I said this is not a 200 page dissertation on my failed marriage. I will do my best to not place blame, because it doesn’t do anyone any good. Some things on this list will undoubtedly overlap, even though this is the case I feel each one deserves to be mentioned. Without further ado here is my list of 10 things I learned from my failed marriage.

  1. Never Lie: I did a lot of research after I found out about what my wife did. I learned that in humans our first response when we know we have done something wrong, that will ultimately lead to a negative outcome our immediate response is to lie. We do this for two reasons one we want to avoid conflict, and two we don’t want to get in trouble. Since I am a proponent of the tabula rasa theory (mind being born as a blank slate.) I feel this is a trait we learn as children, which carries over into adulthood. Lying to your partner no matter how small is a terrible idea. We can overcome this childish trait, by knowing our partner as well as ourselves, focus on understanding and know that mistakes are actually learning opportunities.
  2. Never Cheat: I think this one doesn’t need further explanation. It’s a painful and shitty thing to do to those we love. Even if (insert some attractive famous person) wanted to be with you, nothing is worth hurting the one you love.
  3. Trust: it should go without saying that if the two things listed above are followed then trust shouldn’t be an issue. Unfortunately we all carry the baggage of past hurt, what we need to realize is who ever we are with now is not the person who caused us hurt in the past. I would imagine it would be a good idea to be open and honest about these past hurts. A relationship that is not built on trust is like trying to build a house of cards on a windy day, neither of these two examples will be successful. The perfect advice one can give in fostering trust in a relationship is this; if you would not say or do something if your partner was there with you, then you definitely shouldn’t do it.
  4. Accept and Love Each Other For All Their Good Qualities, As Well As Their Flaws: let’s admit it people, no one is perfect, and those who claim to be are probably the most screwed up of them all. Initially I am sure that we all fall in love with our mates good qualities. During the “courting” or “honeymoon” phase of a relationship, it is kind of like interviewing for a job, you really are not being completely honest your just trying to get the “job.” As the relationship progresses and begins to become serious is usually when we start to notice each others flaws. The important thing is that we learn to love that person regardless of their flaws. In fact I believe our flaws can become the most exciting part of a relationship. When you love the good qualities along with the flaws you know you have found true love; when everything seems to fit like a glove.
  5. Never Put Your Partner Down and Break Their Will: this topic has a lot to do with item number four. There are just two things I would like to add. The first is from an article by John Gottman, PhD in an article titled “4 Signs of A Troubled Marriage” Here is the link.http://affiliatedpsychologicalservices.com/4-signs-of-a-troubled-marriage/ Gottman talks about “The Four Horsemen of The Apocalypse” which are clear signs you are headed for a divorce. The first two he brings up is “Criticism” and “Contempt.” If anyone out there grew up in an abusive home where as a child you were faced with these two horsemen, having to deal with such things in a marriage is a key ingredient in a divorce. If you tell someone something negative about them enough times, with the right amount of nastiness it is only natural the other party will believe what they are being told, and inevitable this is who they will see when they look into the mirror. I don’t think people are aware of how serious the long term damage can be. My second point comes from a line from the song “Weight of The World” by Blue October. “Don’t bother changing things that won’t give into changing.” It is one thing to help your partner grow and become the best person they can be, but in the process don’t try to change who they are inside. If you are hell bent on trying to force someone to change, there is always medication. If this is your goal please take to heart one of my quotes “Medication is to fix the people we don’t like.” If you feel you need to medicate your partner, it’s time to call it quits.
  6. Freedom: As your relationship grows, it is imperative that you do not take away your partners freedom. When I say freedom I am not referring to allowing your partner to go out all the time neglecting the relationship, and engaging in behaviors which fall into the first three categories I listed. When I say freedom, I say that it is clearly healthy to share and be with each other, but it is also healthy to have a respectful life outside of the relationship. I have made this deadly mistake in one of my relationships, and I have now been on the receiving end of how damaging smothering and isolating your partner can be. If your relationship is built on a strong foundation of trust and respect this should be something you encourage each other to do. I have always admired the relationship between my best friend of 26 years and his lovely wife. I will not mention names, but I truly hope one day I can figure out whatever their secret is, and apply it to my future relationships. I am going to encourage them to write a book.
  7. Support Their Dreams: There is nothing more precious and sacred than some ones hopes and dreams. For some our dreams appear to us when we are young, others do not fully realize their dreams until they discover who they are. When I was young I had the normal boyhood dreams to become a professional football or baseball player, unfortunately like normal boys those dreams were not meant to be. Beyond those two options, I really didn’t have anything else that drove or inspired me, until the 5th grade. Long story short I ended up doing many writing assignments and I remember my teacher signing my year book, saying she could one day see something I have written being published. I was not a very well behaved child, so positive reinforcement from the teachers I tormented was rare, but from that moment my dream changed. I wanted to become a professional writer. As I grew older I held onto this dream, and wrote in private. I never thought anything I would write would be read let alone published. Again long story short one of my poetry books was published, I started this blog, wrote two children’s books, and two other poetry books. Needless to say this was the greatest I had ever felt about myself, because I accomplished something I never thought I could… my dream. I did not receive support from my partner, and in fact was highly put down and discouraged from continuing to write, until finally I had no option but to stop writing. The details behind this are not important at this moment.
  8. Open & Honest Communication: You would think this is a no brainier, but for my marriage and I would imagine many others this proved to be too challenging to overcome and sowed the seeds to our divorce. I feel if you have all seven of these things listed above then number eight would be a given, but if you take out one or two of the above it makes communication a challenge. I avoided and ran away from open and honest communication. I could make a laundry list for why, but this is already becoming too long of a post. Mainly I was afraid to honestly look in the mirror, I was scared I was going to receive an unhealthy dose of items four and five. Regardless of those reasons it is on me for failing in this aspect of our marriage. I need to take ownership for this, and like everything listed learn to not make the same mistakes. It is very difficult and challenging for me to be social, and communicate even with those closest to me. I know this is something I need to work on, but what always ends up playing over and over in my mind is the Pink Floyd lyrics from the song “The Final Cut” which I will add at the end.
  9. Be A Selfless Lover: This is actually one area where I have and feel the most accomplished. I felt I needed to add this, because in my experience men in general put their intimacy needs, or the final “outcome” before their partners. I will not go into detail in case my mom is reading this, but as men our primary focus and goal when it comes to being intimate is placing our partners needs before ourselves. Any man can do his business and be on his way, but this is a man who has failed. When it comes to intimacy your only goal and desire should be the feelings and ultimate “outcome” of your partners needs. Everything else should be secondary.
  10. Find Your Genuine Light: Tomorrow I am going to post a quick poem describing the meaning behind this comment. I do not believe in soul mates. I do not believe there is only one true love for everyone. I believe for everyone, there exists many individuals who could be considered your genuine light. I believe they are rare, but they are out there. My advice is if you feel you are holding your genuine light, don’t let them slip away because you cannot be certain another one will come around to light up your life.

 

“And if I show you my dark side
Will you still hold me tonight?
And if I open my heart to you
And show you my weak side
What would you do?
Would you sell your story to Rolling Stone?
Would you take the children away
And leave me alone?
And smile in reassurance
As you whisper down the phone?
Would you send me packing?
Or would you take me home?”

Pink Floyd

These lyrics describe perfectly why it is so difficult for me to open up to people, which hinders my ability to effectively communicate.

I cannot recall a single state in our union, which is not deep in debt. Because of this debt, states are forced to cut vital funding such as education, social services, law enforcement, nursing homes, and many other crucial state and federal programs.  As a country, we are so deep in debt to China, if they demanded to collect what is owed to them; the value of the dollar would crash, resulting in serious issues for America. I can think of two ways to catch up on this debt, while at the same time putting money back into vital funding throughout the government, such as the examples I just gave, as well as rebuilding our infrastructure. If we are able to fund these extra programs we would create millions upon millions of jobs, and cut taxes resulting in stimulating the economy. My solution, to this problem is the legalization of drugs, and opening state run casinos. The positive ripple affect these changes would have on our society would be far reaching.

I did a “My Solution” post last year, about how to fix our prison system. One of my suggestions was the legalization of drugs. The amount of money we spend a year on federal prisoners is over 60 billion dollars. In our federal prison system 53% are convicted on drug charges. Imagine if we were able to cut 53% of the prisoners in federal custody. This would save us 31.8 billion dollars a year. These numbers do not include the individuals incarcerated in state prisons, and the dollar amounts to house them. Many of these “criminals” are incarcerated for marijuana. One example, of a sentencing guideline involving pot, is no less than ten years in prison, and no longer than life, if you were caught with 1,000 marijuana plants. Nothing less than ten years for growing dope?! 

These dollar amounts are shocking, but what they do not show, is the unavoidable revolving doors, of our prison system. There is a high amount of repeat offenders, which come in and out of our prison systems. I am sure there are many theoretical reasons for this, but one such reason, is that felons have a hard time living on the outside, because their options for going straight, are limited due to the felonies they have on their records. They discover the harsh reality that if they want to make a living, their only option inevitably leads them back to a life of crime.

Another advantage, of legalizing drugs, is the systematic elimination of gangs, cartels, and organized crime. I am not saying we would completely stamp out these organizations, but if you take the drugs away, then just like that you have crippled their organizations. The legalization of narcotics would create jobs and bring much needed revenue to our government. The illegal drug trade in America is a trillion dollar a year business. Imagine being able to eliminate a trillion dollars a year of our debt; without raising taxes. In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with using drugs, as long as you are a productive member of society. Who am I, or anyone else for that matter, to judge this person?

Some may say, if we were to legalize drugs, then addiction would skyrocket. I disagree with this. It is not as if it is hard to score drugs in our society. The concept of the war on drugs is suspect and laughable. In 1973 Nixon created the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA,) and ever since our government has been fighting a war they will never win. If drugs were legalized, we could eliminate this repressive agency saving us around 30 billion dollars a year. This dollar amount is just the money saved from the elimination of the DEA, this does not include the money spent by local police, FBI, ATF, and CIA to aide in fighting this war. With more and more prisons becoming privatized by corporations the chance that drugs will ever be legalized is slim to none. There is just simply too much money involved in incarcerating nonviolent drug offenders.  

The person, who becomes addicted in an illegal system, is the same person who would be addicted if drugs were legalized. It all comes down to honest and realistic prevention education. If kids are told the real truth about marijuana, then they are more apt to believe what they are taught about other drugs such as meth. Kids are told all these horrible things about pot, and when they finally try it, and see they were lied to, they think they were lied to about other drugs. I hope in my lifetime, at least the legalization of marijuana will become a reality. If you were to compare the downfalls of drinking, to the downfall of smoking pot, you would see they don’t even compare. I have yet to hear about someone smoking themselves to death.

Another way to increase state revenues would be the legalization of casinos, and sports gambling. In the state of Minnesota, we have a few Native American run casinos, and these casinos, rake in an enormous amount of money a day, and an even more shocking amount of money a year. Mystic Lake Casino, for example does not open its books to the public, but it is estimated they pull in around a billion dollars a year in profits. There have been talks in the past, of opening up a state run casino, but once that reservation money lined the pockets of our officials, the idea was quickly scraped. Opening a casino, would create more jobs, assisting in stimulating our economy, and could be used to fund state run programs. There is already legalized gambling on the reservations, and I feel it is time we start cashing in and benefiting. I also mentioned sports betting. Organized crime and offshore online betting websites bring in billions upon billions of dollars a year. People are going to gamble, whether it is legal or not, so why wouldn’t we take advantage of these operations, and make them legal. This, like drugs, is taking money away from the criminals and offshore businesses, and putting that money back into our communities.

It is sad, that the powers that be do not see the long reaching benefits of these ideas. What is it we are so afraid of with the legalization of drugs? Why hold back, on cashing in on gambling, or prostitution for that matter? Crime would decrease, our prison population would decrease, and our deficit would decrease. The best part about this is we would be creating an endless amount of jobs, and we can do these things without having to raise taxes a single cent. All these positive things can happen, and improve this country, unfortunately in doing this; you are taking money away from the ruling class, and putting it into the hands of those who need it most. Just like anything else in this country, the ruling class would never allow such a thing.

“I believe there is something out there watching us. Unfortunately, it’s the government.”
Woody Allen

How much do you think our government monitors our daily lives? How much power do you feel our government should have over us? When the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 (USA PATRIOT ACT) was passed many people were freaking out because this new bill allowed police to search your home or car without your consent, wire tap your phone, go through your financial records, and monitor e-mails all without a warrant. In the few cases which required a warrant the authorities could obtain a warrant from any judge in any state, thus authorities can cherry pick judges they know will make decisions in their favor. This means that if I live in Minnesota and the authorities want to begin monitoring me they can obtain a warrant from South Carolina and in order for me to fight this I would have to appear in a South Carolina court! Many people believed this act is pushing our society closer to a “big brother” state. I suffer from paranoia from time-to-time so naturally I am not in favor of this act, but the rational side of me says “if I am not doing anything wrong then who cares?”

The following is my paranoid point of view: I believe the government orchestrated the September 11th attacks to allow the government to gain more control over our daily lives, and create justifications to invade Iraq and Afghanistan. The people in power had everything to gain if we went to war, and these people made billions of dollars off government contracts. A perfect example of this is Halliburton, which made billions off such contracts, and as we all know Dick Cheney is CEO of this company. They were so crooked many of the contracts they received were listed as no-bid contracts. The United States has transformed into a tyrannical government, and this bill allows them to monitor all citizens to ensure we are staying in line.

In the beginning our country was based on the people having the majority of the power then the state, and finally the federal government. Over time there has been a shift where the federal government now holds supreme power over its states and citizens. Having the ability to monitor everything a person does is in direct violation of our fourth amendment. I do not like the idea of my personal life being violated by anyone, let alone the American government. It is my opinion that the government holds way too much power over the people, and this act just gives them more power.

The following is my rational side: The September 11th attacks were perpetrated by a large organized terrorist unit aimed at shaking our country into panic, thus showing us we are not safe in our own boarders. The government in response to this terrible attack realized they needed to keep a closer eye on what is going on in this country to prevent another attack. The PATRIOT ACT was not put into place to monitor normal citizens just those who the government perceives as a possible threat to national security. This act also gives local authorities the ability to fight crime in a better way. This act was put into place to protect us, not to spy on us.

So there are my two view points. There are some days I am paranoid and some days I am rational. Even on my rational days I still feel like this whole thing was perpetrated by our government. I am not a huge fan of the PATRIOT ACT. I think it gives the government more liberties to invade on our privacy. The Act dramatically reduced restrictions on law enforcement agencies’ ability to search telephone, e-mail communications, medical, financial, and other records. I think if the authorities charged to protect our country are on point they can stop any future attacks, without needing this act. It is my understanding the ball was dropped on the September 11th attacks. Intel was ignored causing the attack to be carried out.

I brought up in this piece that I think the government was behind the September 11th attacks. Even if our government was not directly involved in the attacks I believe they knew the attack was going to happen, but ignored the Intel so the attacks could be carried out. I go back and forth on this conspiracy theory. I know the Bush administration wanted to go to war, but could not gain public support. Even after the attacks not many were in favor of a war without proof this country was directly involved in the attack, because of this the Bush administration lied about weapons of mass destruction to deliver fear into our hearts, thus making war more appealing. I know there was a shit load of money to be made if we went to war, and those in power benefited greatly from this war. I think our government is as devious as they come, and I am prone to think there is an alterative motive behind most things they do. I would really not put anything past them, and I do believe they are capable of doing such a thing. I think this is just another step towards supreme rule over our country. Whether we transform into a socialist or communist state is up for debate, but mark my words either in my life time or my children’s life time our country will change so dramatically it will be a shell of its former self.

“We often give our enemies the means for our own destruction.”
Aesop

When I hear this quote I think of our involvement in the Middle East and in South Korea; just to name a few. Our involvement in these regions affairs causes tension throughout the globe. This involvement paints America into the self-righteous parenting role, those whose side we approve of calls us heroes; those we disapprove of call us villains. We sit atop our throne of democracy and condemn every single other nation for doing things in ways that we do not “approve” of. This type of pompous positioning is why we are not favored throughout the world. If we deem something to be a problem we stick our noses in where it doesn’t belong. It is this meddling that actually creates more enemies for our nation.

They see us as their enemies because of our involvement in various disputes throughout the world. The radical groups are able to recruit new members based off the propaganda spread by their organizations. They sell America as the evil step-father who is out there oppressing them while in America we live so great. Because we are aligned with their enemies, we then become the enemy. My thing is if we were never involved then there would be no radical groups spreading hatred because we would just be chillin’ at home eating pizza and watching some television.

The North hates America because we are backing the South. If we had zero troops in the South, and just allowed the two to work it out themselves then we would not be breeding a nation of people raised and programmed to hate everything America stands for and every American within it. If we had no involvement in this war then what ammunition would the North have to hate us? The fact is if we were not involved they wouldn’t hate us as much. Not only are we aligned with the South; their greatest enemies we are directly involved in sanctions levied against the North. I understand the leadership in the North is filled with insanity, but that should be all the more reason to stay as far away from this situation as possible. What are we gaining from being involved with this civil war? What is the worst that could happen if you just let the two work it out for themselves? There may be a war and many would die, but should this really be our concern? I say no.

Now let’s take a look at the Middle East. I think the main reason the Muslim nations hate us is because we back Israel their most hated enemy. This is the vocal point for anti-American sentiments, and is a great recruiting tool for new members. There is a deep hatred over there in the Middle East towards Israel, and Israel is one of our greatest allies. This allegiance we formed with Israel is why the Middle East hates us so much. If we would have just stuck to our own borders perhaps 9/11 would have never happened. We are adding fuel to the fire everyday we stand tall with Israel.

I think it is time we step up to the podium and say “all right look you guys we are pulling out and will let you figure this whole thing out yourselves.” I can guarantee you if we were able to do that we would stop giving the extremists reasons to hate us, because we would just become another country in a far off place. The Muslim extremists don’t seem to hate Russia or China. The reason for this is simple they are not meddling in their affairs. I would be willing to gamble that all planned and executed terrorist attacks have probably been against those countries who are involved in the Middle Eastern countries affairs. I think the only time we should consider sending troops out is if there is a full blown world war.

We need to live by example, and the example should be that of peace and harmony within our own borders. We need to become a nation which is admired throughout the world, not for our military might, but for our peaceful society. We should pull everyone of our troops off foreign soul, and bring them home. I am in no way saying abandon our armed forces. We should continue to build our military to become the mightiest army in the world, not because we plan on using it, but because protecting our boarders should always be a priority.  

We need to rid our government of crooked politicians, and become a nation for the people by the people. If we become admired and respected then perhaps when we speak out against something it may carry more weight throughout the world. If we were to funnel all the money we currently use for war, and occupation we would have enough funds to create programs in this country aimed at bettering our society. We can still be the parents of the world except this time we can lead by example instead of waving our fingers in disapproval.    

Aesop or Esop (620-564 BC), known for the genre of fables ascribed to him, was by tradition born a slave and was a contemporary of Croesus and Solon in the mid-sixth century BC in ancient Greece. Aesop’s existence remains uncertain, and no writings by Aesop survive, but numerous fables attributed to him were gathered and set down in writing across the centuries and in many languages in a storytelling tradition that continues to this day; various collections under the rubric Aesop’s Fables are currently available. In these stories animals speak and have human characteristics; see for example the Tortoise and the Hare or the Ant and the Grasshopper.

*****I have a question and need feedback from my readers. “The Philosophy of Quotes” is an ongoing series of posts. I have like in this post added a short bio of the author of the quote, and times I have not. Do you enjoy reading a short bio or should I just leave it out?*****

I wonder how much money our government makes off our taxes. I also wonder how much money our government makes off of us in things like renewing tabs and what have you. These taxes we pay are supposed to go towards things to better our society. Over the last many years our taxes have gone towards funding a war we cannot win. A war many of us oppose. I am hard pressed to believe that the majority of tax payers would be in favor of knowing their money is going towards the death of our children. There are many examples of lost tax money, but one that stands out to me is our privately owned summer camps for criminals. We pump in billions of dollars keeping this system a float.  

I think back to the famous stance the colonies here in America took on the taxes the parliament put on the colonies. Their motto was no taxation without representation. I wonder if this same stance can be made today. Technically we have elected officials in the house who ultimately choose what to do about taxes. I am a firm believer that our elected officials are not a positive representative to the people; therefore I ask you are we being taxed without proper representation? I am not to knowledgably when it comes to these affairs, but I assume when new taxes are passed they are just passed without the say of the people. It goes through the house and imposed by the representatives’ we have elected. I think the statement taxation without representation stands true today because those in the house have alternative agendas that do not include the betterment of their constituents. If this is the case well then something is truly wrong with this situation. Could the people today stand up and use the same war cry our forefathers did? Can the people ever take our country back from the tyranny of our current government?

I am not saying all taxes are bad. They are a necessity to the betterment of our nation. I just question where these taxes are spent, and are these taxes imposed on the people justified. Are we being properly represented? I write a lot about the injustices I see in this country. I am by no means an educated man, and I am sure if I dedicated my time to learn all the in’s and out’s of our system I would probably find so much more to bitch about. Taxes are just one of those things we have no control over. Taxes are taken regardless of anything, and I feel the money is not being spent in the proper places. I am 100% against the war or any other form of occupation. I am 100% against our revolving door prison system, and its piss poor penalties. I am against these things yet the government will take my money and use it for such things. It just gives me such a feeling of yuk knowing I am so powerless, and I have zero confidence that our elected officials will do the right thing.

“The only reason I’m coming out here tomorrow is the schedule says I have to.”
Sparky Anderson

You could say this statement can be true for most people in America today. I would imagine the percentage is pretty high where people go to work not because they love their job, but because we have no other choice. We are so self-dependent on the all mighty dollar we are often times chained to our jobs. We do not go there because we enjoy ourselves we go there because we have no choice. Think about that for a second….Well? I personally think this is a fucked up situation. I know there is no way to live in a world without money, so there is nothing anyone can do about this situation. We need to live in and accept the society we have created until it can no longer sustain itself and crumbles. I believe America is the only country which places such high demand on its workers. We carry heavy burdens to live, provide, and survive.  If I could have it my way I would move my family to Tibet and live like monks; free of any stress or cares, but this is an unlikely scenario.

I am sure my readers are aware I often times sit and think about life and this society we live in. I am also sure my readers know I despise the system we live in.  We spend more of our lives working than we do with our friends and family. Our work defines and shapes our lives more than I think people realize; our job ultimately defines who we are and what we do. We are slaves to our paychecks; the very same paychecks we get immediately goes back to the corporations which pay our shitty wages. I know this is the life blood of what makes capitalism flow, but something still seems unfair about this societal relationship. The situation is we work our asses off to pay our bills and provide for our families. This gets harder and harder as time passes. Our wages seem to stay the same or in cases decrease, but the products we need to survive continue to increase. This is yet another way corporations can use to keep their foot on our throats. We now need our wages even more, and in many cases need to get a second or third job just to keep our heads above water. I find it sad that the people on the bottom work themselves to death so those on top can fly in private jets. I look at this country and where we are and compare it to communist Russia. On paper communism seems like a reasonable form of government, but failed terribly because mans greed had to fuck it up. In this communist state it was all about the haves and the have not’s. There was the wealthy and powerful then the poor and the powerless. This country is slowly going down this road. Soon the middle class will be pushed out by lower pay and higher overhead all in the name of a few more dollars.

The tricky part in this scenario is there are many people out there who worked their asses off to get where they are, and in my opinion deserves higher pay. I do not think everyone should be paid the same wages, because then what would motivate those to spend an extra eight years in school to become a doctor. This is where my opinions are sort of contradictory. I think our system would be great if the people slaving away to make the company they work for prosper got better compensation. I am not just saying in dollar wise although I think that is a good start. I think we need more compensation via free time. Working 40-60 hours a week is utterly insane and frankly just wrong. How many people take the time to analyze this situation? We are only awarded one life; one chance to live, and we are forced to spend this life slaving away at our careers. The employee has no choice but to fall in line or risk losing their  job. I don’t know how many people are aware of how precious time is. Each minute or hour that passes is minutes or hours we can never have back. They are lost, and I believe they are lost in the wrong areas. We need more time for our families. We need more time for ourselves. It is a sad waste of a life to be dependent on a system set out to screw you around every turn. This is one example of how we are corporate slaves.

My solution is easy and fair to the people. Companies should only hire part-time employees but pay them just and fair full-time wages. This would give everyone the time to not only work and contribute to society, but we would then be afforded the time to enjoy our lives. Hiring only part-time employees would most certainly cure our unemployment problem. Now some may say “this is crazy companies would lose millions!” But is this true? I am but a simple man with limited knowledge, but I would think with more people working then that would create more consumers and in turn create profits for the companies which may offset the higher wages given to employees. I am an idealist not a realist, so I am pretty sure there is no way to actually make this work; with that being said I also do not believe this ideal life is impossible to achieve. The same problem in communist Russia exists today in American capitalism, and that is our thirst for wealth and power.  This thirst blinds us of our main responsibility which is the betterment of our fellow man. This has and always will corrupt us.  

George Lee “Sparky” Anderson (February 22, 1934 – November 4, 2010) was a Major League Baseball manager. He managed the National League’s Cincinnati Reds to the 1975 and 1976 championships, and then added a third title in 1984 with the Detroit Tigers of the American League. He was the first manager to win the World Series in both leagues. His 2,194 career wins are the sixth most for a manager in Major League history. He was named American League Manager of the Year in 1984 and 1987. Anderson was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000. I was shocked to hear Anderson’s age when he passed away at the age of 76. I remember watching him coach against the Twins when I was younger, and I always thought he was around 70 back then.

“A drink a day keeps the shrink away.”
Edward Abbey

I am not a big drinker by any means. The very few times I do drink I feel a deep sense of relaxation, and often times I am less shy. I would envision if I had one or two drinks a night, I am sure it would help many of my issues. I would be less stressed, feel good, and have a laugh. The problem with this is you risk the possibility of addiction. I have an addictive personality, and if I were to drink daily it would lead me down a dangerous path. Since I only drink a handful of times a year I get buzzed and relaxed after only two drinks. If I were to continue this pattern, soon I would require three drinks, then four and so it goes. This pattern induces unhealthy self medication, leading to addiction. 

A more appropriate quote would be “a joint a day keeps the shrink away.” I am all for the legalization of marijuana, and I am devastated proposition 19 did not pass.  It is by far safer than alcohol, and would create a stable money source for our government. Life is stressful as it is; people need an escape from reality from time-to-time. Smoking weed can be self medicating, which is not as horrible as alcohol, and the medication drug companies’ produce. This medication eases our maladies, but come with side effects. These side effects can sometimes be worse than the problems they are supposed to cure. In some cases we become physically and mentally addicted to our prescription medication. I look at some of the prescription drugs out there and think to myself marijuana would cure that problem, and is far less destructive to our bodies and mind.

We as a society have become dependent on some sort of unnatural drug to cure this or that. The drug companies would lose billions of dollars a year if people medicated themselves, or if marijuana was used to treat certain issues. This is a huge road block to the cause of legalization. If we all smoked a joint or two a day our society would improve; people would be chill, less tense, and happier. We would have less people in prison; eliminate crime caused by the selling and distribution of weed, and decreasing the money source for illegal operations. The government would make billions of dollars which could then go back into the community. This is a win-win type of situation, the only people who would lose are drug companies, and I believe it was the drug companies that killed proposition 19.

I am not able to see into the future which is why this is an opinion piece. I believe that anything in excess is a bad thing, whether it be alcohol or marijuana.  I have a friend who does nothing but smoke dope from the moment he wakes up to the moment he falls asleep. Although he is a high functioning user I am still able to see the negative outcome his use has had on his life. It is my opinion that the good outweighs the bad in the legalization debate.  I feel the legalization of marijuana would cure some of our society’s maladies.

In the end it is important for people to sit back relax, and enjoy the moment, but don’t forget to pass it along.

Edward Paul Abbey: (January 29, 1927 – March 14, 1989) was an author and essayist noted for his love and protection of our environment. He spoke out against big government and some accused him of being an anarchist. His novel The Monkey Wrench Gang, which has been cited as an inspiration by radical environmental groups, and was a how-to-guide for non-violent ecotage. He was born in Pennsylvania, but felt compelled to head west. In his travels he felt a connection with the land and fought hard to preserve its beauty. I find many of his quotes inspirational.

“The greatest power is not money power, but political power.”
Walter Annenberg

Personally I do not agree this statement to be true. The power today is in who has the most money, and who is paying our politicians. It is the money infiltrating our elected officials which fuels the machine we call democracy. I wrote a piece months back asking the question if we are Plutocracy. I believe we are. I think when Annenberg first took over his fathers publishing business in 1942 this may have been a true statement. In today’s world money supersedes political power. I would guess most if not all of our politicians are in the pockets of corporations and special interest groups. This my friends is a sad state of affairs. I feel sick to my stomach knowing decisions are being made not in the people’s best interests, but in the best interests of those who possess the most money. I feel appalled that the people of this country have just sat back and allowed this monstrosity to occur. 

I have no idea when this trend changed. I know the change occurred prior to my birth in 1979. If I were to make a guess I would say things started to change and the rich started to seize our country during Nixon’s presidency. I have no concrete proof of this it is just a hunch. If you look at Annenberg’s bio you will see in 1966 he used his media business to sabotage a political campaign. If it were not for his media outlets reporting untrue negative things about Milton Shapp he most likely would have won the election. The reasons Annenberg started this early example of a smear campaign was because Shapp was opposing the merger between Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central. His reasons were not known until after his death when it was revealed that Annenberg was the biggest individual stockholder in Pennsylvania Railroad.

I think this example shows how powerful media outlets are, and who owns our media outlets? Corporations do. During election time we are bombarded with positive and negative things about the candidates many of which are not true on either side. I remember during the healthcare deal. The media (probably paid by insurance companies) aired many commercials against Obama’s healthcare reform bill. These smear commercials greatly affected how the people felt about this bill. I think the meer mention of socialism really killed the momentum Obama built during his campaign. Then you look at those who cast the votes and you can be guaranteed they are making decisions based off of who is paying them the most money; sadly it isn’t the people. The heartbreaking part is people do not take the time to try to find the truth they just believe what they are told by their televisions. We missed out on something that would have help millions upon millions of struggling Americans get affordable healthcare. Now it looks like the current bill may actually cause problems, instead of correcting them, unfortunately these problems favor the insurance companies not the American people. Isn’t it amazing what money can do?   

Walter Hubert Annenberg (March 13, 1908 – October 1, 2002) was an American publisher, philanthropist, and diplomat. He owned several publications such as TV Guide, Seventeen, The Philadelphia Inquirer. In 1966, Annenberg used the pages of The Inquirer to cast doubt on the candidacy of Democrat Milton Shapp, for governor of Pennsylvania. Shapp was highly critical of the proposed merger of the Pennsylvania Railroad with the New York Central and was pushing the U.S. Interstate Commerce Commission to stop it. Walter Annenberg, who according to his New York Times obituary, was the biggest individual stockholder of the Pennsylvania Railroad, wanted to see the merger go through and was frustrated with Shapp’s opposition. During a press conference, an Inquirer reporter asked Shapp if he had ever been a patient in a mental hospital. Having never been in one, Shapp simply said “no”. The next day, a five-column front page Inquirer headline read, “Shapp Denies Mental Institution Stay.” Shapp and others have attributed his loss of the election to Annenberg’s newspaper.

American exceptionalism is an American theory that the United States occupies a special role among the nations of the world in terms of its national ethos, political and religious institutions, and it’s being built by immigrants. Even though its origins date back to the 1600’s the concept still lives on today. This mode of thinking is what has damaged our reputation throughout the world. The concept that we are better than all other nations because as Alexis de Tocqueville, argued; the United States held a special place among nations because it was the first working representative democracy. We may have been the first but we were not the last. I am sure there are some out there who could have a valid argument how a later form of democracy trumps ours. Belief in American exceptionalism is more characteristic of conservatives than liberals. Which being liberal to me makes the idea seem even worse.

Parts of American exceptionalism can be traced to American puritan roots who believed in divine providence. They believed God had made a covenant with their people and had chosen them to lead the other nations of the world. The scary thing is; there are those republicans out there who still believe such a thing.  If we take a look at the Latin phrase on the back of the great seal and our one dollar bill it reads “novus ordo seclorum” which translates as “New Order of the Ages.” I think our republican leaders at that time and still to today would want nothing more than to spread their form of “order” to the entire world, and become the nation God has chosen to lead the world.  

Proponents of American exceptionalism argue that the United States is exceptional in that it was founded on a set of republican ideals, rather than on a common heritage, ethnicity, or ruling elite. In the formulation of President Abraham Lincoln in his Gettysburg Address, America is a nation “conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal”. In this view, America is inextricably connected with liberty and equality. We may be connected with liberty (although this may be up for debate) and equality (also up for debate.) The notion of republican ideals against the ruling elite? Isn’t that a bit oxymoronic?

The United States’ policies have been characterized since their inception by a system of federalism and checks and balances, which were designed to prevent any person, faction, region, or government organ from becoming too powerful. Some Proponents of the theory of American exceptionalism argue that this system and the accompanying distrust of concentrated power prevent the United States from suffering a “tyranny of the majority.” What I find interesting is we are protected from the “tyranny” of the majority, but we do nothing to protect us from the “tyranny” of the minority.

All countries probably believe they are exceptional in their own right. Britain at the height of the British Empire, Nazi Germany, as well as the communist state Russia, and France in the wake of the French revolution all demonstrated exceptionalism in terms of systematically engaging in what they considered benevolent enterprises. I believe although broken America is one of the greatest nations in the world. Do I believe we should feel superior over all other nations because we are what we are? No. We are not the judges and jury’s to the world. The belief and ideals we have are fantastic, but are these ideals better than say Norway’s? We could look at Norway or Iceland and say they are exceptional over us because of their low crime rates and penchant for staying away from wars. Does this make them better than us? In my eyes it does, but I cannot speak for a nation of people, nor should anybody else. It is fantastic to have pride in your country, but this pride should not stir up supremacism. I have always believed America should keep to herself. Trying to find nations we believe should be a democracy then enforce said beliefs by military force is wrong anyway you look at it. This concept that America is exceptional above all other nations is the exact way of thinking that caused other nations to hate us.