Monday, October 3, 2016

Why do we have Racial Unrest today? (#2 of 3)

It is essential to understand three things, before looking at the root cause of today's challenges:

First, having a reason...even a valid reason...for doing something does NOT eliminate the consequences for what is done.  When civil disobedience was first used, the actions taken were against the law.  Those who broke the law fully expected to be arrested and jailed; they understood (unlike so many today) that in order to bring attention to their position that the laws were unjust, they would be put into jail.  They accepted that that would happen but were convinced that by so doing they would bring more publicity and more support to change laws they were convinced were unjust, unfair and just wrong.  They understood and accepted the concept of "consequences."

The riots, looting, injuring and killing people in response to perceived injustice are wrong.  While in varying degrees the response is understood, it is NOT excusable and those who so act should be arrested, prosecuted and jailed for their crimes...and they ARE crimes.

Second, those in the minority community who talk about hating whites are NOT racists.  They have had experiences that have taught them that most whites with whom they have interacted are not nice people, that they disrespect and mistreat...and cheat...them.  Their attitudes are the result of experience, not of un-supported assumptions.

Third, the majority community (usually white) that interact with the minority (usually black) community are NOT racists either.  Their experience has been that they are disrespected, called names and have things thrown at them and are lied to by the minority community.  Their attitude is experience-based, not the result of un-supported assumptions.

So...could we all stop with the accusations of Racism or being Racist?  It is wrong and it is not productive.

With all that in mind, what is at the root of today's challenges?

I would suggest that there are two main causes: Failure of Education, and Failure of Government.

Education in this country is based on the Prussian model, designed to create good citizens.  "Good" citizens was defined as those with sufficient educational skills (writing, math, spelling, ability to read, and an appreciation for a nation's "rightness" in history) and the training to obey basic laws and orders from the "powers that be."  It was, as best I can estimate, about 50% education and 50% indoctrination.  When established in America, initially the indoctrination part of the equation did not work; students went home to a family life that required hard work, independent thinking to survive, and parents that had no problem at all in dismissing anything they deemed "faulty" in the teaching...and in dismissing any teacher that didn't teach as the "families" (making up the school) wanted.  So that period of education worked for as long as the family unit remained the prime trainer of children.

This all changed after the Great Depression and World War II.  "Modern" parenting became permissive (and parents wanted to avoid their children suffering from the depredations that they suffered during the depression) and absent as the march to acquire "stuff" and the movement toward "women's equality" saw many mothers now working outside the family home.  Children no longer experienced their parents checking not only their homework, but what they were being taught each day.  Teachers' Unions came into existence and parents no longer controlled what their children were taught...of even if the were being taught.  Today's parents who care about such things often find themselves banned from even entering their children's' schools, much less determining what they are taught.Today's schools seem to be 90% indoctrination, with failure to pass in the remaining teaching elements no obstacle to being given a High School Diploma.

This failure is clear throughout the United States, but is particularly disabling to young, poor, minority youth in our inner cities.  Even those with a H.S.Diploma find it hard to find a job.  And most are the product of broken homes where there is often only one parent, and that parent has to work multiple jobs to survive, even as they get some benefit from so-called "safety-net" social programs.

The first generation to suffer this kind of existence is embarrassed by it and want desperately to get out of the dependency.  The second generation is less embarrassed and less motivated.  By the advent of the third generation, the dependent life-style has become the norm and they know nothing else.  However...all people who are "given" stuff, eventually come to hate and despise the givers because the very dependency on "unearned" anything is disrespectful.  So they grow angry and simmer...until some action becomes the "hair that brakes the camel's back" and all of that resentment explodes in violence...violence that hurts themselves, their neighbors and friends more than it moves toward a correction or solution to the underlying causes.

Government, of course, serves those who contribute the money.  That means that government want the peace kept.  Instead of identifying the educational needs of the poor and the minority citizenry, the government simply works to wall-up the poor.  Then, they give enough money to keep the poor from starving in an effort to keep them quiet.  Even those who claim to want to improve the plight of the poor only do enough to secure the votes of the poor so those elected officials can stay in office, often speaking disrespectfully of those of their own race in the privacy of their offices.

So...what, if any, are the solutions?  We'll look at that in my next (and last) entry.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Why do we have racial unrest today? (#1 of 3)

I watch sports to get away from the concerns I have with the world, country and my life.  For me, sports has always been about performance, not personalities or beliefs.  Yes, that is an artificial and protected view of life, but it provides a certain solace for a period, after which I have to go back to living life.

Suddenly, that solace has been taken from me.  And my reaction has been anger.  All my life I have dealt with people of all races, colors, and creeds on the basis of their performance and character; do they do what they promised, and are they truthful...these are the rules in business.  In my personal life I gravitated to people with the same moral outlook and conversational interests.  In listing business associates and acquaintances, I would have to think twice or three times to even try to identify the race, color or creed of those I know...those considerations are unimportant and unworthy of notice.

But all of a sudden I have strangers accusing me of being a racist and being responsible for someone else's happiness, well-being and/or "feelings."  Hogwash!  No one cares about my feelings either, but that doesn't mean that anyone is doing or intending  me ill.  That is not their responsibility.

So,...fine, I can dismiss the whole thing as being the creation of a group of narcissists who want "someone else" to be responsible.

Except, maybe that is not the intelligent thing to do.

The people demonstrating and rioting, clamoring for "something" while damaging property and hurting people, are clearly motivated.  Yes, some of them are criminals and others are just looking for "free" stuff.  But others clearly perceive themselves to have valid grievances and want something done.  And that kind of emotional response doesn't come overnight or from just one or two incidents.

Certainly I don't know about the quality of life about which they are complaining.  I have been stopped by police over the years for traffic incidents; I have always been conscious of their concerns about my being a potential danger, and have been extremely careful about obeying their instructions exactly, and asking permission for any movement I would like to make.  I have had some interaction with officers who "had an attitude" but simply put it down to their having a bad cay and dealt with the situation by being formally polite.  But some of the more logical lucid observations by some demonstrators indicate that their experiences have been different...even to the point of disrespect (an often overused term, these days).  They want that stopped...particularly in light of their seeing such an attitude leading to unnecessary deaths from civilian/police interactions.

I know that, if all this is true, I am not to blame.  But...then, who IS to blame?

Clearly, the things that the demonstrators complain about didn't just start in the immediate past; it takes time for frustration with a situation to develop to the point that any group will be large enough and angry enough to destroy property of their neighbors and friends, loot stores, attack and kill police. and why did this situation come about?

Perhaps if we investigate (to solve, not avoid or postpone) we can get insight sufficient to point us toward solutions rather than cover-up.

                                                (To be continued)

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

This Fall's election doesn't really matter...

It can be argued that this Fall's election is either the last chance to save America or that it is already too late.  These two possibilities have absolutely nothing to do with ideology.  They are based on simple financial considerations.

Consider that neither candidate likely to be elected in the Fall has spoken much, if at all, about the need to get our budget under control and to reduce the national deficit.  Consider that no party, no campaign group and no significant organized group of citizens have spoken of spending as a problem.  Note that no media outlet of any sort has mentioned anything about a need to get our finances under control.

All that one reads, hears or watches has to do with control and contributing more in the way of funds or benefits to those in our country...legally or otherwise.

One hears nothing about the constant flow of lies coming out of Washington, the clear failure of Justice to apply to those in power, and the lack of accountability of those in the Federal Government.  You can even hear a reporter suggesting, in the form of a question to an elected official, if honesty is overrated in government.

One argument suggests that the last clear chance to save our nation in the form that it holds today was in the 2012 election.  It was clear by then that our finances were out of control, that our government's elected officials were lying to its citizens, that the economy was not recovering at a pace that would provide needed jobs and that the upper echelons of government were failing to fulfill their administrative and oath of office duties.

In 2012 the citizens of the United States chose more "free" stuff over taking for themselves and demanding of their elected officials the taking of responsibility to balance the budget and start down a path of fiscal responsibility.  At that time they saw an out-of-control spending that was most of the way to the present almost 20 Trillion Dollars.  All but several trillion was created in those first 4 years from 2008 to 2012...and much of that first one and a half trillion had been voted for by the person holding the office of President.  Nonetheless, the voters approved another 4 years of more of the same fiscal insanity and lying and inept administration.

Certainly should Ms. Clinton be elected in November, it is unlikely that the nation will survive past 2020.  Why?  Well, interest rates cannot stay close to zero forever.  As the National Debt rises toward 25 Trillion Dollars and interest rates also rise, the cost of the debt will meet or exceed the amount of tax revenue. leaving no money to actually run the government.  Seniors will find their checks either not being honored or just not arriving.  As payments to police, firemen and soldiers are first delayed and then not issued at all, public safety will cease to exist.  If SCOTUS has approved laws allowing the confiscation of firearms in private ownership, there will be few, if any, to attempt to enforce those laws...and with the proof of the government's failure becoming so obvious, there will be actual revolt throughout the country...and those who will be positioned to be in power will be those who possess firearms, have planned for such a disaster and who have little respect for those who for decades have been belittling and insulting them.  It will not be pretty.

But one thing will be for certain:  who is President and who controls Congress or SCOTUS will no longer matter.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

"Words"...or "actions"

Children aren't taught this anymore, but I grew up to the mantra, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me."  And it was a factual comment.  As I grew up, I learned to listen to words for understanding, learning and as an indicator of the the nature of the person speaking the words.  For anyone who wants to learn, words and the manner of speaking reveals a lot.  Words contain promise as well as threat.  Words provide nuance that is available for the listener who wants to hear it.

Actions, however, provide no choice.  They simply "are" and the results cannot be changed.  Actions can hurt as well as provide pleasure.  Of the two, actions are the most immediately dangerous.  Words, if used to deceive or misdirect, are just as dangerous...sometimes more actions because they, unlike actions, can seem to promise even as they deceive.

A person who lies lacks both honor and character and is to be avoided.  Above all, such a person should never be allowed to have power or authority over you.  But such a person, provided that they are aware of their lying, is not the most dangerous.

The most dangerous of people is that individual who not only lies successfully to others, but who also lies so successfully to themselves that they no longer are aware of their own dishonesty.  Why is such a person so dangerous?  Because they actually exude a sense of belief in their lies that can be very effective in convincing or conning the listener...they come across as believing what they say and there is little defense against such a presentation other than research and verification.

Today children and young adults, particularly those who attend College or University, seem to be indoctrinated with the concept that they should never be challenged by words or ideas which they have been taught or either wrong or hurtful.  They have absolutely no emotional callouses; they are ill prepared to evaluate or research ideas, much less challenge them.

But even more concerning is that these young people seem now to consider the "nicety" of words and ideas to be more important that honesty and actions; they are less insulted by those who lie to them and fail to fulfill promises (provided that the lies are phrased nicely and in a complimentary way) than those who speak bluntly and are not "politically correct" (which is clearly an oxymoron).  For those who know the "Music Man" play and movie, they would honor the smooth talking liar for his ability to talk and accept the lack of honesty...and then consider themselves superior for so doing.

How can we, as a nation, accept such perverting of our values?  How can we allow our children to grow to an age when they must become self-reliant while we allow a government that we elect to spend our children and grandchildren into financial ruin?  By what reasoning do we allow our children to be indoctrinated to value "group think" and "avoidance of (or even absence of) consequences" while we fail to teach them that any person or government that is strong or big enough to give them anything is also big and strong enough to take everything away?

One of my own grandchildren has become a victim of this American failure.  I am embarrassed that I was not aware and did nothing to attempt to provide some counter instruction.  I am embarrassed for all of us who assumed a dedication by our educational and political systems on the part of those who educated and who have and continue to rule us.  Our cost of our negligence will be visited upon our descendants and, if justice is served, we will be reviled by those who come after as narcissistic cowards who failed our offspring.  I would apologize, but those would just be words...I have already allowed others to throw the sticks and stones.

Monday, July 25, 2016

What should be the criteria for being "President of the United States?"

It is the election season.  Actually, it feels as if it has been the elections season forever already!  But we still have over 3 months during which we will be bombarded with reasons to favor one candidate over another and why one of the candidates is just the worst example of humanity ever.

Already we hear and read arguments that center on race, gender and ideology...and, strangely enough, honesty.  That last one often confuses me because I have always expected that those elected to high office would be, for the most part, honest and truthful.  But the other day I watched in amazement as an interviewer asked our current President of the United States if "honesty was overrated!"

Can you believe that such a question would even be asked?  I was astounded.  Has our country, that once presumed honesty on the part of each of us and, when it was found wanting would exile the liar from any contact with our children or ourselves, sunk so low that we now accept dishonesty and lack of trustworthiness and truthfulness in our politicians and elect them knowing that they possess those traits?

As to the other elements being raised, I find them superfluous.  Competence should always be the criteria for holding the office of the Presidency: competence and trustworthiness also.  In the upcoming election, my examination of the performance record of Ms. Clinton in public office reveals a lack of both.  She has lied.  She has failed to protect her people from danger as Sec./State.  She has failed to protect secret information properly, knowing that she was putting information at risk.

The performance record of Ms. Clinton disqualifies her as a trustworthy, competent candidate for the office of the Presidency for anyone who examines her record with an objective mind.

Her gender and race are immaterial.  Currently there are 106 women holding elective office with a record that invites consideration for holding the office of the President of the United States (6 Governors, 20 Senators, and 81 members of the U.S. House of Representatives), plus others holding positions as CEOs in private industry.  While it is foolish to place gender as the top tier requisite for holding any office, elected or not, no one can convince me that one or more of these women would not be the equal of any man currently showing interest in holding office of President.

I have worked for women who were not only the equal of, but superior to, most of the men for whom I have I know there are qualified women who should be considered and ultimately elected.  But not one the basis that "I have waited and now its my turn," but rather, "I have a proven track record that reveals the competency, the honesty and the trustworthiness needed to perform the duties of President of the United States, and I invite an examination of my record.

It is competence, honesty and trustworthiness that should be foremost.  Placing any other criteria above these simply invites the presumption of corruption of purpose.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Blame the "Protectors" but not the "Doers?"

It often appears as if the so-called civilized world has lost its mind.  One of the recent news articles said that those who erroneously allowed the truck driver in Nice onto the road where he killed so many people were being least in part...for the deaths.  The anger in France...or in any country where terrorists act out...should be focused on the terrorist(s), not those who do their level best to protect others.  The French are not alone in their apparent desire to ignore the actual "doer" of the atrocity in favor of attacking those who were trying to prevent such occurrences.

In America, I have seen minorities "cop and attitude" with police when approached for almost anything.  In an era where minorities have ambushed and assassinated police, those who serve as police are logically on alert.  When they approach someone and issue an order (such as "don't move your hands" or "keep you hands where I can see them") and that order is not obeyed, I know of no logical person who wouldn't react as if there were a developing threat and react accordingly.  But in the aftermath of these events, even our President accuses police of "overreacting" ...or even of discrimination.

Today, in America it is not hard to get a cop fired.  This administration will virtually require local police departments to punish and/or fire any officer who is complained of by any minority.  The logical action, then, would be to behave very quietly when approached by any member of the law enforcement community and then bring it to the attention of the police department and the Justice Department.  Instead, some just insist on not obeying commands and/or mouthing off as they move their hands in ways that could constitute a threat.

Who is blamed?  Why, the law enforcement officer(s) of course.

Over the years, I have been approached by police nine or ten times.  Each time, I responded as I would have to any person with authority: directly and politely.  Was I uneasy? some cases I wasn't sure what I had done wrong, in others I had been speeding and was chagrined that I had been "caught."  Another time there had been a "hit and run" and I was questioned if I had seen a particular color and make vehicle.  And one time, coming home from school, I had a brake light that wasn't working.  Big Deal?  Not really.  Life goes on around us and sometimes we're the hammer and other times we are the nail.

What I don't understand is why the human race seems bent on allowing those who initiate behavior that results in consequences feel that it is appropriate to deflect consequences on the responder instead of the "doer" who's actions began the whole thing.  I can understand how the people involved would like to accomplish that...but not society as a whole, each member of which should know better.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Why the protest against Patriotism?

Our schools and many of our politicians today want to do away with patriotism.  Even the courts seem to agree.  Schools no longer start the day with the Pledge of Allegiance or singing the National Anthom, something that use to be the norm.  Why?

I know of no other country on earth that provides the combination of opportunity and the lack of a "class" attitude that prevents individuals from working to accomplish great things.  Many of our largest, most profitable, most generous, and most innovative companies were started by people who came from low or middle class backgrounds and who accomplished much without even completing a college degree.  It was their effort and accomplishment that was rewarded.

And it was rewarded by the United States of America and its economy.  No other nation state provides the opportunities for individual success that does America.

Yet there are apparently a sizable, if not a majority, of those who control education in America that deem America a "bad" entity; who take every opportunity to focus on her faults and ignore her strengths.  Not satisfied with that, they work to cease teaching our children to value the good that exists in America; they often extol the belief and economic systems in other countries, arguing that America is bad because it doesn't proved equality of accomplishment and pay to every person who resides (note that citizenship is not a factor) in the country...or even visits.

These individuals and groups ignore that no other country provides the opportunities that are available to every citizen of America.

More important, they ignore that many countries and ideologies in the world seek to destroy the entity that we know as America.


If they know of another governing entity that is better, why not extol it factually, providing the basis for all citizens to evaluate their point of view.  Why do they use subterfuge and flawed emotional arguments to eliminate competition in schools, rewards for excellence and diminution of accomplishment as a basis for grades...and even arguing that grades or performance is "hurtful."

These people seek only to destroy the United States as a shining example of individual achievement when given individual freedom.

Why do we allow them to hold office, positions of power, and honor them with acceptance?