In a Sane World – Religion, Race & Gender

 

Okay, this past week of incidents has gotten my dander up, too many crazy things going on in the world. In watching Rachel Maddow one night, I saw her talking about John McCain and what he said about Chelsea Clinton and Janet Reno during the 2008 Presidential campaign. After seeing that piece, I have lost complete respect for him, decorated POW or not, he of all highly educated people should know better. The segment was the one on Reno and Eric Holder being the only two non-white or non-white males out of 82 Attorneys-General in our history. What McCain did was, he made a very disparaging joke about Chelsea C and Janet Reno – I won’t repeat it here. Very, very sexist!

Then there was the ISIS beheading of the French individual who was kidnapped.

And then there was the shooting of a black guy in Ohio who was following a policeman’s request to show his drivers’ license and the poor guy wound up being shot (by a poor shooter).

 

So, let’s talk about freedoms that everyone on the planet should be observing, freedoms that allow each and every one of us to be happy.

Sure, everyone has an inalienable right to partake in any religion they desire. And yes, people can also be a bigot, or rather, an individual that believes they are more superior to others of a different color. And yep, you can also dislike the opposite sex as well.

But, here’s the kicker – you cannot take your religion, gender discriminations and racist leanings and do harm to others. That harm could take the form of mental, physical and/or emotional abuse. You just can’t.

 

Let’s take on religion first. Religious battle has been going on since time immemorial. Those battles have gone on for millennia, not just centuries where people of one religion fought with those of a different or no religion. Those battles have gone on far longer than the old saying of – ”earth was created 6,000 years ago.” And yes, there is a lot of fossilized proof to prove humans have been around for quite some time, you just need to do your own research. The reason why I say do your own research is because that is the only way you will learn anything. Just because someone else tells you a fact that in and of itself may not convince you, you need to dig into the info on your own.

We will never get anywhere if people continually throw religion into the mix of politics or society instead of using commonsense and respect for the other. Muslims are not going to follow Catholics. Those of Jewish descent are not going to follow Muslims. Baptists are not going to follow Catholics. That list goes on and on and on. Who is going to bend and simply recognize that people follow other religions because that is what they choose to do. No one can make another believe in their own religion or god. There are only a tiny proportion of religious individuals who do respect and follow those of another religion, as far as I know….?

We have seen time and time again, so many high level religious leaders with their hands in the cookie jar. The cookie jar could any of the following or more:

== Embezzlement

== With prostitutes

== Partaking of drugs and alcohol [WHILE railing those who do, during church sessions]

== Engaging in homosexual acts [WHILE railing against the act as being sinful] and/or

== Just not acting as a religious leader when they “think” no one is looking

So, many of the pious out there do not have a moral leg to stand or lean on…

And as for the extremist crazies around the world today, who in their right mind would willingly follow those folks?

In this piece, you may notice the use of lower case g’s throughout… It is not meant to be disrespectful; it is only personal disbelief towards any god.

What matters is that you, the individual, are respected as a person – pure and simple. It is not the religion which only makes up some of you (even though many will say that religion is all of their makeup – let’s just agree to disagree). YOU are what matters. That which makes up your character, your integrity – that is what matters for many of us. It is the person inside.

 

Now, let’s take a peek at racism next. Racism has gone on unchecked for, again, millennia and not centuries, around the globe. Too many people in the world are “STILL” worried and scared of others only because they look different, because the other has a different hue of skin color. Or that they have different facial features.

At this time, many people just do not follow the path of history and use “their own mind,” “their own brain” to do any research or logical thinking beyond their favorite radical radio show or favorite reality television show.

There seems to be no consideration, at least the way it appears, to what kind of conditions people have to live in, in their part of the world. And then of course there is not much consideration to how the ancestors of those people had to endure even harsher elements to survive. Have many people, in the 21st century, simply stopped thinking for their own sake and are relying on those with loud voices but few truths?

No one can subjugate a race of people and make them subservient or to stay in the status of less than second class people or some kind of lower caste system. That is, unless you wish to bring back an older and uglier time to the present…

What matters, again – is you and your character, your integrity! That is what matters for many of us, not the simple, ridiculously thin layer of upper epidermal skin color. It is the person inside.

 

And now, on gender, just because the other is a woman; what gives anyone else the right to harass her? What gives anyone the right to be a dictator over that woman, even if they are boyfriend/girlfriend or married? Who gives the right to say that a woman cannot be a CEO or President of a company or any country? A woman can also become a submarine captain if she is qualified and not be denied that position just because she is a woman.

Just because a woman has a uterus and a pair of breasts, why do so many continue to act as if she does not have a brain (sometimes a BETTER brain) than you do???

 

Does anyone, today in the 21st century, realistically believe that anyone can control another human being because of race, gender or religion? Why?

Why does anyone believe that they are far more superior, just because of race, gender or religion and for some reason has some inherent right to control others?

Could it be a case of “well, I’m bigger and stronger and I can beat your head in if you don’t listen and do as I say” – is that it?

Is it a case of “well, I’m of a different and better race (or caste), so of course I am far more superior to you” – really?

Or, is it a case where “well, MY god is the one true god and since we follow that god, we are more arrogant, sorry, superior to you because our god is the only god” – c’mon? Not everyone believes in superstition and mythical beings that have evolved since humans learned to walk and became clans with their shamans, or their witch doctors and then later on, priests and bishops. Just because some people believe in a god, it does not mean that everyone else has to believe – just because someone else says you should or must.

 

We now have a situation in Colorado where a school district (Jefferson County west of Denver) wants to “only teach positive and patriotic aspects about the U.S. and nothing negative” to students in the AP history classes [1, 2].

This truly is incredible that a schools’ educational system wants to: “only teach positive aspects” and maybe not talk about the Suffragist Movement, or how the Chinese were treated in building the U.S. railroad system or even slavery in this country…

Say it ain’t so – that we have another state that wants to foster censorship, in the schools no less. Has McCarthy arisen from the grave? Because censorship is what it boils down to, the students in that school district full well know and understand that it would be censorship.

If we censor history, then our descendants will most definitely repeat the sins of the fathers – as it was nearly all men who fostered most of the atrocities in our near and distant past. The originator(s) of the school district proposal may have had their hearts in the right place but were completely misguided in even thinking about ‘removing the negative aspects of our history’ because that is what it is if you start deliberately whitewashing, sorry, if one starts leaving out chunks of history.

This is akin to what Japan of old attempted to do with the Nanking, China situation. The Japanese leaders wanted to alter the history books in Japan so no one would learn about the atrocities that took place in Nanking decades ago. As if the rest of the world would forget about it…

Or, it could be similar to Kansas in how they want to, ahhh, remove evolution from their history books… On this one, there is no reference added, please, do yourself a favor and research this and come to your own conclusion. There is plenty of lucid and accurate content out there on Kansas and their ongoing struggle between evolution and creationism and what to teach their children (I would not suggest to any family to move to Kansas).

 

Have people lost their minds? No one can sugar coat the past. No one can control others in what they believe in. If a group of people want to believe in a god that is up to those people. But those people cannot force it on others.

Listen, if no one wants to talk about the problems that exist, they just won’t magically go away – now will they? We have to communicate with other in reaching compromises. That is how we coexist.

But with religious extremists, now that is a whole ‘nuther cup of noodles. It seems that communication does not work with that group. The only thing that works is if you convert to their religion and their way of life, simple as that. Oh wait, if you do not, well, they kill you.

People around the globe have got to become better educated, learn to communicate and try to see through the eyes of the other. In doing so – that is the only way we are all going to survive as a race of people. It will not matter if you are male or female, black or white or green, religious or non-religious – communication and compromise will be the only solutions to the survival of the human race.

To prove how much better you are than others, you only have to show it in the good things you do – that’s it.

 

Folks, we all share the same basic DNA and that will never change, not in the next couple of decades anyway. The genetic difference between individuals is something like 0.1% and of that, skin color differentiation is even more miniscule than that… Many people will simply refuse to believe the differences between the different races are so tiny. Yet, we do. As well, many people would be shocked to learn that they are not as pure as they believe themselves to be. Some will be shocked into learning that they might have the same racial traits as others of a different race, thanks to their long ago ancestors.

So, people, come together and enjoy life instead of trying to destroy the lives of others. Please.

 

References

1 – Hundreds of Colorado students stage protest over history curriculum, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/24/denver-students-walkout-protest-history-school-board, 24 Sept. 2014, retrieved 25 Sept 2014

2 – Colorado students walk out to protest proposed curriculum changes, http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-colorado-student-protests-story.html, 24 Sept. 2014, retrieved 25 Sept 2014

 

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Our Society… Our People… Our Country… Our World… Are We Doomed or are we treading on thin, dirty ice…?

Even though I am an eternal optimist, I am nevertheless heartbroken and wearily saddened of so many things unjust and wrong in our society, here in the “United” States and around the world. Also, this piece is for those who want to read a somewhat serious discourse on various topics.

The few things (of ever so many) that I write about here are nothing new. Many thousands and tens of thousands of others have written and are writing about some or all of the same things. I only want to add my voice and hope that maybe just one person will read this and hear, clearly, what I say. Maybe that one person will be an even better carrier to spread the message, the message of equality and fairness and respect to and of others.

It is not just up to leaders to provide guidance and direction but it is also the individuals in our society who can lend their voices to reflect winning words of: forward thinking, encouragement, equality, respect, collaborations and moving in the right direction. With all the many, many voices out there – some of which have very little meaningful things to say, while there actually are others out there who ‘do’ have good, strong and constructive things to say but are drowned out by the mean, snidely sarcastic and ill-meaning people all around the country.

It is up to someone who is magnetic, energetic and has enough of an audience to concentrate all the good messages into a good platform.  

Are we becoming a stagnant group of people, heading in the direction of the Romans, towards a failing society? No, not in the way of being decadent but rather in the way of just, well, dissolving into a meaningless group – wait, no, into meaningless ‘bunches’ of groups of people scrabbling over things that really should not cause the conflict, ignorance and suffering we are going through as a nation.  

Yes, I will say it, I am a bleeding heart and at times I do wear it on my sleeve. At the same time, I am an eternal optimist and have been for many years. As well, I am a pessimistic pragmatist at times and because of that it causes a conundrum for some people are going to say “You can’t be all of those at the same time!” But therein lies some of the ignorance of some people – you actually can be those, it just takes some judicial balancing at various points in time.  

Look around; you don’t need me to give you specific examples of where we are failing many in this country or where things are just flat out wrong. You just need to open your eyes in your neighborhood, your workplace, your gym. You can see these things in your daily lives – if you would only remove your blinders and open your eyes and your mind.

Look at folks in wheel chairs or those who need to use crutches – those devices do not diminish their mental abilities. Some of these folks also have brilliant minds but so many firms will not hire them. This makes me angry to no end that so many handicapped (or disabled) individuals are simply blocked out of being hired. 

I am saddened that so many women are being treated as less than equal:

  • In earning less than their male counterparts in doing the same job
  • Not being as readily considered for leadership as their male counterparts who have the same experience
  • Because they have breasts and nothing dangling between their legs
  • Not being allowed to drive and/or obtain a job and/or education because they are women
  • AND being raped, around the world, while large numbers of men do not place much emphasis on this as being morally, physically and legally wrong (in some parts of the world, men believe the women deserved it…) – women are NOT chattel nor cattle
  • Or the coordinated moves against abortion, where many men are attempting to make decisions for pregnant women that is arduous enough as it is and for sure will drive many women to their deaths as they attempt self-abortions or those infamous ‘back alley’ abortions of years past.

Basically it is about the lack of respect that so many women should be receiving… 

I am saddened that people of different races are being treated as less than equal, solely because of the color of their skin.

This is a topic I could really go to town on because racism is still alive and well. It may not be as noticeable (overt) as it once was, it is just more covert today. But here is a tidbit on racism for some of you; many people do know they actually are racist because it is likely at their subconscious level just below their conscious awareness of how they interact with and treat others of different races. I’m not only talking about blacks and whites but all races.

Many people, not just in this country but around the globe, believe that ‘some’ races are inferior and should never have a voice in anything and are only worthwhile as cheap labor.

When a people (pick one from the past couple of centuries) are suppressed, kept ignorant (uneducated in school, politics and society) and not paid (adequately) for what they do – for what they are worth, then we should never be surprised that people of those ‘other’ races do not do as well as others who have been privileged to gain a) better educations, b) better jobs along with c) much better pay.

Massive discrimination is one result… Simmering resentment is another result…

Skin color is only skin deep. Just because your skin color and the skin color of your closest peers are the same – it does not make you and your peers the better person(s).

As well, good looks or less than good looks are only skin deep. Just because you look better than someone else, it does not make you the better person we would necessarily want to stand side by side with in moments of stress and hard times. We all sweat and bleed the same.

Repression and/or suppression of others, just to retain your place in life or your power is not the way it should be. That is wrong in all aspects.

I am saddened that people of various religious faiths treat those of different religions as somehow being inferior to them OR treating people of no religion as being flat out wrong in their view of a godless life. And yes, there are many of those kinds of persons in the different religious faiths – you know that. And yes, I do recognize that there are many in the various faiths who ‘do’ look at others as equals, so don’t get me wrong, I am not chastising all religious individuals.

Buddhists, Muslims, Catholics, Baptists, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witness’, etc… MANY in each of these groups believe their god to be the ‘one’ true god. And the more extremely religious groups/individuals wholeheartedly believe that if you disrespect or ridicule or profane or disbelieve their god (you pick the religion here) – then you deserve to be ostracized (or killed) for failing to follow their faith.

Then too, many individuals of these same extremely strong religious treat women as secondhand, as chattel, fit only to work in the kitchen and in the bedroom, all the while remaining subservient to the men, even to boys. Some (many?) religions do not allow women any positions of equality or authority within their particular band of religion – because their bible, in so many words, states it as being wrong (I don’t get that)…

Discrimination… Stupidity… Ignorance… Education…

Backward thinking

Look, here’s another sample of backward thinking, gays and gay marriage. Are people just ill-informed or undereducated and are not aware that homosexuality and bisexuality has been going on for thousands and tens of thousands of years around the world – in Africa, in Asia and in Europe, long before the U.S. became a country.

Being gay is nothing new and nothing to be afraid of. If you’re not gay, then you’re not gay but don’t try to force those people who are gay that they are wrong in believing in that lifestyle and for feeling that way. Your hatred ‘and’ fear is of your own making and of your own possible feelings of inadequacies and insecurity or whatever other label you might wish to give to that.

I am willing to bet that you likely know a neighbor / co-worker close to you whom you believe to be straight, is actually gay. And on top of that, I am also willing to bet that you believe that that person is a “great” person to boot…

Why do so, so many people in this country (and around the world), here and now in the 21st century continue to live in the past or want to go backwards to days of unjustness, such as:

  • Witch burning
  • Exorcisms (because someone is epileptic)
  • Crucifixion
  • Separation of the races (because it is heresy for them to mix)

to name but a few…

Why aren’t more people stepping up and becoming forward thinking individuals? Is it because our education system is failing us? Is it because our political system is allowing religion to creep in where it should not and actual science be damned?

Are more people content to remain isolated in their own small self-filtered world, head ‘constantly’ down, peering into their smart phone or tablet with their earpieces inserted instead of looking up and around at those nearby?

The old ways of life are gone.

Our society and jobs

Because of the economy and confused state of employment, we need to pull together – in a much better fashion than the current state of bickering in political circles… Thanks to outsourcing and offshoring, which really started ramping up in the late 80s, it kind of took the wind out of our American sails. And so, because of that, the availability of lower cost labor in other parts of the world, we saw our jobs and old American way of life taper off, or disappear.

But today, as labor costs around the world continue to increase, as well as transportation costs, some jobs have come back to the U.S. but not nearly enough. Many have written on this topic(i.e. www.economist.com/news/special-report/21569574-offshoring-has-brought-huge-economic-benefits-heavy-political-price-story-so The story so far – Offshoring has brought huge economic benefits, but at a heavy political price Jan 19th 2013)

On top of that, automation, sophisticated computing and now robotics are taking away additional jobs, forcing more people to acquire to obtain more than high school education. And advanced education is no longer inexpensive.

I include this segment on the economy and society because this planet is becoming ever smaller every year due to some better living standards and access to traveling anywhere at any time. We need to be better. We need to treat each other better. We need to act better. 

Forward thinking

When are ‘more’ American’s, and others around the globe, going to wake up and start judging others by the character and content of that person’s heart rather than going by anyone’s superficial outward appearance (skin color, handicap, speech)???

YOU have to look at the whole individual and value the individual in that light. YOU cannot simply judge others by their outward appearance and/or by the way they talk. You have to take into consideration the totality of that person to judge that person and of course that means you will need to get to know that person to discover that, rather than making uneducated or baseless flip / snap judgments of others. Malcolm Gladwell talks about some of this in his 2007 book “Blink,” a book in which I recommend others read. You do not need to read the whole book to gain better insights, but I would recommend that you do. But be sure to read the part discussing “unconscious prejudices.”

You should strive, in your moments of snap thinking (or “slice thinking” ala – M. Gladwell), to do a better job when thinking of others and what you think about them. Go beyond superficiality – look beneath the surface, look at the sum of the person, not at the individual component of a person’s life.

Go deeper!

Earlier I mentioned that there are some great folks in wheel chairs or on crutches, here I expand on it. There are many phenomenal people who come from multiple diverse backgrounds, whether it is with a silver spoon or from the depths of poverty. There are many strong and amazing people today who can make a difference, regardless of their gender or race or upbringing, look at past people (and a few of the present) of influence:

Women – Rosa Parks, Ida B. Wells, Harriet Tubman, Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma, Golda Mier of Israel, Joan of Arc and the young Pakistani – Malala Yousafzai

Men – Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King Jr., Mandela, Gandhi, Galileo, Booker T. Washington, Ralph Nader and Lincoln

These women and men refused to give up, they stood their ground and of course this is an incomplete list… I only hope if confronted with a difficult situation, you and I can be like them and stand our ground. And no, I do not mean like the stupidly written Florida ‘Stand Your Ground’ nonsense.  

Then too, there are the older senior citizens and the youngest amongst us – don’t just cast them off and push them to the side just because ‘you’ think they are too old or too young to offer any fulfilling and informative thoughts and/or solutions to problems and issues of the day. They have valuable input too, sometimes they do not but don’t just discount them right off the bat. Listen to them, process their info and THEN make a “conscious” decision on whether to use or not use their information.

Remember, you do not know everything. Only those who think they know everything believe that, while those around them may disagree…

Our society, the infrastructure to the air we breathe…

As it stands, some people in our country (and around the world) want to have clean air, clean water, access to better living conditions, access to better medical care and access to vastly improved transportation. But we have so many in authority (or not) who seem not to care as much. Some of these people believe that it should only be their way that should be the norm (vouchers for medical care and education is a joke, even to me).

Some of these people in authority (or not) believe that the poor or unemployed should not have as much help financially as they are (or were) receiving and hence – their support should be cut.

Some of these people in authority (or not) believe that there should be more voting restrictions (and even more rigid gerrymandering – pick your group here, I’m not singling out any one group) in order to knock out any votes that could strip them of their position.

We should be conducting free and fair elections in every city, in every state – not reducing the days of voting, or the locations of voting, or even the requirement to show birth certificates or passports to prove citizenship (which of late is popping up in some states) because the threat of voter fraud is so worrisome.

Our society and humanity and fairness

So, why does it take disasters to bring us together, albeit for a brief time? That is probably the most disheartening of all in that it takes something of such an extraordinary measure for us to come together…

You know, when Rodney King stated “Why can’t we all just get along?” – many people derided that statement then and still do to this day. But, that is a very valid statement!  

What is happening to us? For many years, I have continued on in my life trying to improve myself and becoming a worthy role model for others to emulate. As we know, you cannot make anyone follow you and what you do. You can only show them the way and hope they pick up on the good that you are doing, whether it is in the work you do, the way you handle yourself in your social life or in the way you treat others.

The way you treat others shows a great deal about what kind of person you are – and many of you know it. Do you treat a poor, undereducated person as less than your equal and become patronizing or condescending to them?

How do you actually know that person is not your equal, do you really know that person? That person may have a masters’ degree, or even a doctorate from where they came from but due to bad luck, or the U.S. not recognizing that person’s advanced degree – you ‘might’ feel that person is not of “good” caliber or breeding. Is it because:

  • Of the way the ‘other’ talks?
  • That person has an accent that you are not used to?
  • That person just never had ample opportunities to learn better diction or oratorical skills?
  • Even better, is it because that ‘other’ is not as good looking as some are fortunate to have been in life?

These are all superficial things, what about the person inside – that is what counts. Does that ‘other’ have great integrity, ethics, kindness and/or generosity that YOU do not have and are jealous of having a lack of?  

There are far too many people among us who do not really care about others around them. All they seem to concern themselves with is the lining of pockets, primarily their own. And yes, some of these individuals make noise as if they ‘really do’ care about others but covertly, they just want to keep on lining their pockets, in any manner or fashion – even if it turns out to be illegal and the rest of us can just fuggidaboutit…

Note: You can watch a piece on the CBS Sunday Morning with Nancy Giles talking about TIPS where she is talking to the cab driver on that topic. The cabbie told her of a recent fare of two guys in the back with one on his cell phone as they are leaving the airport. The guy on the phone ends his call, tells his passenger buddy “I just made $6 million.” But after arriving at the passengers’ destination, the cabbie only receives a $1 tip… [www.cbsnews.com/videos/tipping-points-when-and-when-not-to-pay-extra/ Tipping points: When and when not to pay extra (Sunday Mar 23, 2014)]

We have too many people in power and leadership positions who want to retain power, by any method possible with complete disdain and disregard for those with a less fuller and rich life. And this is inclusive of people in public firms, private corporations and in government.  

People, we/you, need to get out more and talk to others. You need to talk to others WHO ARE NOT LIKE you so you can see and understand the differences amongst all of us and what makes this country what it is today. Maybe then, we can start making progress of building up all of us and making America the leading country of the planet again and not be the schizophrenic, indecisive, squabbling country that we seemed to have become.

There are many people who have something to say but do not say it because of so many others who instead of offering serious debate, discussion and/or constructive responses, they want to shoot the other person down with snide, sarcastic, rude, insensitive, offensive and threatening language.  

Are we doomed to become a stagnant and dying society, of Americans, of humans? Or are we going to continue growing, once we lift up everyone in getting everyone the chance to get an education and access to better health care? People can no longer seek out enclaves where they can live and be with others who look like and act like them, free of any real diversity.

Diversity is what is going to make our country, our world grow. Not religious growth. Not racial exclusion. Not gender bias. Diversity, collaboration and treating each other with respect and fairness are the answers to a bright and growing future.

Otherwise, we are doomed…

Freedom of Religion – LGBT, Atheists, Humanists, Equality & Commonsense

Hmmmm, it appears that some people in this country want freedom of religion so they can in turn be free to discriminate against others, believing they are just in their beliefs.  Somewhat odd wouldn’t you agree?

I had believed we were moving forward in our humanity to overcome short-sightedness and inequalities, was I wrong in my beliefs…?

For decades, being the ever eternal optimist that I am, I continually and truly believed we would leave our children and grand-children a much better legacy to grow up in. Misguided naiveté on my part…?

While I am not gay or bi-sexual, nor have any interest or curiosity in that area – I DO NOT discriminate against folks who are part of the LBGT lifestyle – they are people too and they deserve the respect and dignity that everyone else is entitled to receive!!! People really should be free to choose who they want to love, not be dictated as to who they should love because some others believe in a religious book.

On the other hand, people should be able to enjoy the religion they believe in, as long as it does not harm others.

Atheists/Humanists should respect those who follow religious beliefs. Religious individuals should respect the non-religious.  And yes, the non-gay should respect folks of the LGBT community. Everyone should attempt to have better levels of ethics and personal behavior.

Just because someone is gay, it doesn’t mean you don’t talk to and with them, or not associate with them as one would with everyone else. You shake hands with them, give the occasional hug at the appropriate time but DO NOT ignore the them, or push them away just because they are enjoying a different lifestyle. And make no mistake about it, this lifestyle IS NOTHING NEW!!! There has been homosexual liaisons for thousands of years, please do your own research. There have been various people of different cultures in the mid-east, Africa and Asia who partook in this lifestyle, it is not new.

What is wrong with people on our planet? We are supposed to be gaining new insights into life, supposedly leading the world in our march forward but at times it seems as if we are truculently marching backwards in spite of it all.

We, Americans, are supposed to be  one of the leaders of the free world and setting the example! Or are we starting to stick our heads in the sand, yet again… 

Religion, yes, people can enjoy their religion in their own skin, within their homes and within the group(s) of other like-minded individuals. But that does not give license to discriminate just because they do not like the lifestyle of others.

Who said that the lifestyle of LGBTs is wrong? A book that was written a couple of thousand years ago and constantly re-written since that time…

 

Jeezzz, while in high school, I did not think I would be writing on something like this later in life. The first 20 years of my life growing up in the south and in the north here in America, I was constantly bombarded with “the earth was created 6,000 years ago in 7 days.” As a child, I was forced to go to Sunday school and to church, to listen to church music and preaching’s every single morning, church on many Wednesday nights and to read the animated children’s version of the bible.

As a child, you have no say in the matter, you have to go – you have to do it and follow along because it is what the parents want you to do because it is what they believe.

 

The whole time though, it all seemed wrong to me, even as a child. And as I grew and started learning more things, like science (yes, that area that is supposedly not real according to some in politics) – I was constantly amazed at the dichotomy of what the various churches were teaching and spouting and what science and real life (what you see with your own eyeballs) actually showed and presented to anyone who took the time to think about it. If people use their own noggins and think about how everything takes place in life, they may come to a different and/or better conclusion.

You do not have to be an Atheist or Humanist to use your brain. You should be able to use your own brain to make your own best informed decisions after doing at least some minor research.

For instance, I remember as a child hearing about the earth only being 6,000 years old and then reading about how scientists performed carbon dating to discover the age of stones and metals dating back millions of years, MILLIONS of years. And then too, the dinosaurs (which oddly enough a few groups actually believe humans domesticated dinosaurs as beasts of burden) – dating back hundreds of million years ago… How do you reconcile that as a child, it is not like you can tell people in the church, who are deeply, deeply and devoutly embedded in their religion – that it does not make sense about this discrepancy of time frames.

One person, another adult friend of mine in the 80s, actually told me his answer for that. Wait for it… he told me that each of those 7 days were millions of years in a different time scale… That kind of had me scratching my head and I did give it some consideration out of respect but really….

 

As children, parents continue the ever self-inflicted cycle on their children of believing in deities (pick one, from Shiva, to Buddha to whomever else) and the religion surrounding that deity. So as a result children become brain washed through their formative years into believing what they are taught in and around the church because they see their parents talking about it.  And the parents learned it growing up because their own parents did it.  And those parents, well you get the gist of this. 

Yes, I use the term brain-washed because when one is force fed something, which is what is happening, then guess what – one does become brain washed, or rather – they have their realities adjusted to a different thought process.

(And sadly, this is also how some parents continue the everlasting cycle of racism, within the confines of their homes, saying that “that person of a different color is wrong and bad, so don’t associate with them…”)

This is akin to the madrasas in the mid-east and in parts of Africa (with some even here in the U.S.) where children – well, maybe the boys only since the girls are supposedly not worthy of learning to read, said tongue in cheek… – are forced to read via their Koran their version of religion.

Or maybe, I should say, some groups learning the perverted teachings of the Koran taught by zealots who want to impose Sharia law to curtail many things in their society – from women being completely controlled to what foods are allowed to be eaten. And attempt to impose that law on others, like us who are supposed infidels of the west and are evil and do not know the way.

And no, not all people who follow Sharia are looking to impose draconian measures on others around them in all parts of the world. Personally, I do not want to be part of any Sharia law, not in the U.S. at any rate…

I do not tell anyone of religion they are wrong. I do not tell people of religion that maybe they should re-think their religion and their version of science.

I let people come to their own conclusions while I continue to do the best job I can do to be the best moral and ethical person around – while trying to set the example by being a great role model in the hopes that some will want to emulate others like me, or even me. People should enjoy their own version of whatever religion they want to cherish and enjoy – that is up to those people.

 

Do we, as a society, want to continue going down the pig headed path of letting some people in some states have ‘freedom of religion’ to discriminate against others? That will be a slippery slope.

We went through this during the 1700s to the 1960s where many people in society thought it was okay to make people of a different color out as less than human – whether their skin was black, brown or yellow. Sadly, we still have some small minded people who think that way today, if not overtly, then covertly (which I can attest to due to a negative experience of my own).

Think back to the ‘good ole’ witch hunting days and the discrimination that ensued.

Then think back to all the various Christian Crusades (yep, there were multiple Crusades) where many people were killed because of the ahhh, ‘difference of opinion’ on religion (and politics).

 

Do we want some states  to take us and set us back hundreds of years?   (Arizona, Georgia, Hawaii, Alaska & several others that want to or wanted to pass freedom of religion laws –  http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/states-push-anti-gay-bills-will-they-pass/)

 Just because you, yourself, do not believe in the LGBT lifestyle does not mean it should not take place.

Just because your religion is opposed to that lifestyle does not mean it should not occur. 

Who are we to tell someone else who they can love and enjoy the company of…? 

Those who are Atheists or Humanists do not come out and say your religion is full of blind and deaf crackpots, do they?  If they do, they should not – they should let you enjoy your religion as you want – but you should not cast your religious beliefs on others who do not want to partake of it. 

But, if you run a business in America, it means you are open for business to all… 

Whatever happened to equality? And love? And kindness?

Are we losing our humanity and looking towards isolationism within our own borders, having separate communities where one might fear to tread?

Are we going to let the many deaths of those who fought for our various freedoms over the past few centuries have died for naught?

When College Students Lose The Right To Vote

Originally posted Aug 1, 2013 at & moved from: http://patrick642.wordpress.com/
Change. Improve. Innovate. Be better.
~ Pressing issues, from cyber security, to strategy, to innovation, to improvements (self, others, organizations)

Montravius King – congratulations on your winning that unnecessary N.C. state Board of Election (BoE) gathering and voting last night (Tues Sept 3).

You should not have had to go through that as N.C. put in these unrealistic NEW laws which are illegal. They do not supersede federal laws. As students, you all have the right to vote.

When you were first introduced on The Rachel Maddow Show and I saw what was going on with “a certain” group of students of college campuses across N.C., I had thought this would be quickly done away with and you all would continue to vote as the law allows. Little did I know how painful the BoE would make things….

Keep on pushing, keep on winning. The way you’re going, you’re likely to be the next Martin Luther King Jr. (coincidence you having the same last name….). We need someone like him yet again, maybe it is you. You are a brave sole and you had a very uphill fight and you were right to keep your resolve.

Keep going Montravius, keep going. Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Fairness… Equality… Respect…

Originally posted Aug 1, 2013 at & moved from: http://patrick642.wordpress.com/
Change. Improve. Innovate. Be better.
~ Pressing issues, from cyber security, to strategy, to innovation, to improvements (self, others, organizations)

This piece is long, it was meant to be long due to this grouping of topics being so deeply and greatly fundamental to me.

Will we ever get to a point of more equitable fairness, in our lifetimes, for anything? Will we ever see respect accorded to each other, on a massive basis, as we go through our daily lives? What about equality, do you believe we will see that truly happen in our lifetimes?

Oh and when I say lifetime, I don’t mean in the next four or five years, I mean in the next 10 – 20 or even 30 years. Because at the rate we’re moving along, it appears these things will not be easily gained in a more equitable timeframe, will it…? Women and their right to vote (Suffragette movement) – how long ago was this? Blacks got the right to vote (emancipation / civil rights act / voting rights act) – how long ago did all these take place? After decades of fighting for and winning the right to do anything, it should mean things become easier, not more difficult. And it for sure does not mean we go backwards as we witness what is occurring in N. Carolina (the new massively restrictive voting rights issues taking place – check out The Rachel Maddow Show site (http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/) for more info, or better yet, check out the NAACP site (http://www.naacp.org) as they are squarely in the middle of it).

I was raised in the north and the south so I have a pretty good perspective of how things are for both sides of the track. I went to black grade schools (in the south & the north); then in junior high, I went to a black school but also attended a Jewish junior high (over two years) as part of an exchange program (that is before Nixon cancelled the program, for whatever reason, maybe budgetary) and then to a predominantly white high school, in the south.

All my life, and I do mean from the very earliest years (don’t ask me how I knew what I did but I did) I had high expectations of things becoming better, much better for everyone to live together – not just in America but around the world. We would all become better citizens of the planet. Effusive? Schmaltzy? Maudlin? To you maybe it is. But, it is my effusiveness and I believe it is worthy. I could never understand the hatred, on both sides, until later in life. I could not fathom why people cannot just learn to be better around each other, until later in life. Maybe I was naïve for years but it was my dream and still is, to see more harmony amongst more people – especially as the world becomes ever smaller and resources (jobs, water, etc.) start to become more difficult to obtain. Are we going to revert to an even more selfish society as jobs dry up? As clean water dries up? Are we going to see more squabbling, in our own country, as the air becomes more polluted and deadlier from all the pollutants clogging the atmosphere (name it – methane, CO2, and on and on…).

Yep, call me maudlin for wanting a better society for all to live in. One where you actually can walk down the street without hearing car doors lock. One where you see people talking to each other as they pass each other on the streets, instead of having their heads buried in their cell phones or smartphones.

Yep, call me schmaltzy for wanting to see the day when one does not patronize or cast aspersions or judge others by the color of the others’ skin or by the: a) Way others talk, b) Partner one is with, c) Gender of the partner they are with, d) Religion others believe in – or do not believe in, e) Job they hold, even if they are a sanitation worker, a mail clerk or a mom.

Yep, call me effusive for my dream, for my promised land – not in any biblical scene but one rooted in the physical, tangible world. My promised land is one where all people, men, women, boys and girls, of all races, of all religions or no religion, of all shapes and sizes, of any sexual preference can freely live their lives. One where they can: — Go to school without fear of having acid thrown in their faces or being shot. — Drive a car without having a male relative present. — Walk in public and have a good time without fear of discrimination or be shot for it. — Work and earn a good living and work their way up the company ladder and earn the same pay as all others in the company, regardless of gender.

If we continue to have persecution, suppression and discrimination – now, in the 21st century, did, we as a people, not learn anything over the past 148 years (slavery)? Or for that matter, over the last several thousand years (Christian crusade and religious tyranny / regional & global war – domination by suppression and genocide). Why does it take disasters and calamities to bring us closer together? Why can’t we be closer every day, everywhere? Are people afraid of others doing better than they are? If so, people have to work on being/doing better themselves, to move ahead. Because ultimately, it will mean some sacrifice to become better – many of us have done so.

We should not be looking at and judging others by the color of their skin (and cast that unfair aspersion on an entire race) or what gender they are! 2013 and we still have discrimination against others, for no real reason, other than to suppress and dominate the other.

We SHOULD be looking at the integrity and character of others and judging them on who they are.

But most of all, I continue to wonder who the next Martin Luther King, or Rosa Parks, or Mahatma Ghandi or even an Abraham Lincoln will be. Who will be the one to step into those kinds of shoes…?

Society: Bigotry, Gender discrimination & Stupidity

Originally posted Aug 15, 2013 at & moved from: http://patrick642.wordpress.com/
Change. Improve. Innovate. Be better.
~ Pressing issues, from cyber security, to strategy, to innovation, to improvements (self, others, organizations)

Society What is happening to us? Are we losing our minds around the world or what? And no, this will not be a diatribe; it is a soliloquy of frustration at what is happening in the world. This was somewhat long but it is a big deal to me, all of the following.

We have so many people who only want things their way and no one else’s. We cannot do that, not anywhere in the world. The world’s population is growing and it ‘ain’t’ gonna stop, not in our lifetimes and as such, we cannot afford to say, okay, this part of the world, we’re only going to have Sharia law where women are 2nd class (or less) and girls cannot go to school. Here, in this part of the world, it is only for the white race and no gays. Are you serious? ARE YOU BONKERS!!!! We have men and women; we have blacks, whites, Chinese, Arabs, Latinos; we have atheists and Christians and Muslims; we have gays and lesbians and heterosexuals; we have older and younger; and on and on and on. We have got to stop treating people like they are not welcome in any part of the world. But in order to do so, we have to get more people to realize that their way is not the only way – and I mean this for those religious groups who have one way of life or for those who believe that their race (skin color) is the superior race…

America What is happening to us? We, here in America, are supposed to be the leaders of the free world and we STILL have all these racial, religious, class issues here in this country. We cannot lead the world if we cannot first learn to live and work together!!! Yes, conservatives have their say, just as liberals and other parties have their say or thought process. But whatever happened to helping each other? We need to help each other up even if it means getting our own soft hands a bit dirty to ensure everyone is being pulled up. However, when you become polarized and antagonistic towards other different groups JUST because they are different – then you slow down or even halt progress. Just because you, hypothetical you in this case, grew up in a nice neighborhood and your family had a decent income to live off of, it does not mean that others who did not have that same luxury are beneath you. They, these lower class individuals whom you look down on (if you even notice them), just never had the same opportunities as you did. And on top of that, if you continue to suppress them, errr, deny them opportunities to grow – they will remain in that economic miasma. What are you afraid of, the other person’s skin color? Religion or lack of? Gender? Sexual preference? Dearth of education? Why?

Sacrifice Many people have to go through sacrifice to get to where they are today. It may mean breaking a glass ceiling for women. It might mean someone of a different skin color going through agonizing periods of time to attain a spot in society that means middle class or better. It might mean someone hiding their homosexuality in work environments that are strictly homophobic – for years! All of these people have to suffer through the same bloody things. To become equals in society, they have to endure emotional humiliation and even physical pain every day. They have to endure stupidity from those around them and these individuals spewing stupidity may not be the best and the brightest our society has to offer – even though, sometimes it is our best and brightest (who years later may say that they do not recall ever doing horrible things to others). For many of us, sacrificing multiple things in our lives for a period of time to reach a milestone is a fulfilling thing. However, many people should ‘not’ have to suffer needlessly and foolishly to achieve any goal – but really, NO ONE SHOULD HAVE TO SUFFER needlessly and foolishly to grow in their lives. We all will need to sacrifice something in order for the world to grow as one.

Commonsense Just because you believe in one thing and only act in one manner, you are not on this planet alone. You are amongst hundreds of millions of people who want a better way of life. Or who just want to live a peaceful life, one where you can walk the streets without people locking their car doors as you approach. It might be a world where you can be a woman without every single guy in the world hitting on you just because you smiled back out of niceness. Some want a world where they do not care if you practice a different religion from them but that you allow them to practice their religion in peace without being castigated for it. Each and every single one of us has to look out for the others, especially the weaker. We have to protect those who have a difficult time protecting themselves or cannot. We have to get past the notion that skin color means something. It does not really and I mean that respectfully. It only means your ancestors were born in a different part of the world at a very, very different and difficult time. And I’m not talking about the religious 6,000 years ago when the world was created. I am talking about the scientifically recognized time of millions of years ago as humans evolved and developed (if you disagree, I am sorry and that is your right). Many people today who believe they are of a pure race would be shocked to discover (if they underwent a DNA genetics test) that they are not as pure as they believed. When are we, as a collective race of people, going to start recognizing as a whole that we should not be letting skin color separate us, marking us as totally different? Or in the case of some misguided groups, that skin color or religion marks you a lower class individual (Hitler and the Jews, KKK and blacks, etc.) When are ‘more’ of us going to start recognizing that mixed race marriages or relationships are going to continue to grow and there is nothing wrong with that? Is it wrong in your eyes?

Today! Personally, I’ve been waiting for decades for the world, but America specifically, to grow and appreciate the possibilities of synergy of mixed races and to get past stupid and meaningless racism. I continue to believe that we are getting better but watching the news seeing some individual in Norway (2011) blow up a building and shoot up an island summer camp because of racism – it makes me saddened. Then you read about some nut jobs who want to join some group but need to track and target gays or blacks and kill them, just because they are different and as part of the groups’ initiation process. I cry when I see these kinds of stories in 2013, I cry because I still have that little bit of optimism in me that says we will get better, we will be better. What is happening to us, are we devolving to lesser peoples, only concerned with little old me?

Harvey Fierstein was on “All in with Chris Hayes” (Wed., Aug 14, 2013) in regards to Russia and that country’s anti-gay laws. Harvey was fired up about this and equated it to Hitler and how the people of the time, over time, let the little things continue to go by until they became big things, and well, you know how that ended. Jews were massacred. Well, it is the same with gays this time, the Winter Olympics at Sochi 2014. How can an entire country, or most of the population still have such a difficult time moving forward into the future, here in 2013? How can so many people be so conservative that they allow gays to be beaten in the streets and arrested? How can this be? Iran is the same, recall Ahmadinejad stating that there are no gays in Iran. Something has to be done, around the world as a hold in getting countries to change their regressive ways of thinking and beliefs. And it means that the people of the world have to unite.

I recall, during the week of Martin L. King Jr.’s death, my being asked to give his “I have a dream” speech to the student body. I have held the same thoughts ever since, about his dream, but adding the inclusiveness of gays and people of all religions, or no religion. I still harbor these desires…

Lastly, it does not matter to me what your skin color is, how old/young you are, what your gender is, what religion you are nor your sexual preference. What matters to me is your character – your integrity and ethics, these are what matter to me. Can you reciprocate?

Change – the world, yourself and others around you

Originally posted July 29, 2013 @ http://patrick642.wordpress.com/ Change. Improve. Innovate. Be better.
~ Pressing issues, from cyber security, to strategy, to innovation, to improvements (self, others, organizations)

Today is the day that everyone needs to start changing their mindsets. There are too many problems in the world we need to focus on rather than ever so many individuals pointing to themselves and saying “look at me, I’m important – I’m the hottest thing going!”

There is health care, even if you are a 20something in super shape – are you prepared for an unknown catastrophic emergency that you cannot pay for? All because you believe you’re invulnerable. This is not about right now, but rather, it is down the road when you ‘will’ need health coverage. Are you willing to take that gamble of not paying for health care because you ‘believe’ you will not need it? Then when something happens, are you willing to grovel and beseech those around to give you a helping hand with health care….?

There is education, we have to improve education for all and ensure that the low end of the spectrum can access that education and catch up with others who were privileged from day 1 to have access to the best education.

We have low wage earnerswhen corporations are raking in profits fist over fist, to satisfy shareholders. Don’t get me wrong, shareholders should earn a profit for their investments. But don’t the workers also deserve to share in that bounty since it is their efforts that is making the business in question successful? It seems like we’re going back to the days of Henry Ford, when he had to look after his workers so they could afford to purchase what they were producing.

Fracking. Hydraulic Fracturing. It seems that natural gas drilling is spreading around the world. Now, I’m no expert but from everything I’ve been reading and viewing, we’re letting companies kill off communities and contaminate the ground water tables (from all the various chemicals being forced underground) and contaminating the air we breathe (escaping methane from well heads). At one point, I had believed that because the wells were being drilled so far underground that there would be no possibility of escaping chemicals. But, little did I know that the cement casings around the wells fail, and fail often, allowing chemicals to leak through at various depths. The oil and gas companies are forcing families and communities to sign NDAs (non-disclosure agreements) to keep a lid on the problems resulting from the leaking chemicals and gases. I don’t believe one needs to be an expert to see the dangers of this occurring around the world, all one has to do is look at the evidence. These companies are taking over vast acreages of our countryside to drill all these thousands of wells and bringing in water by truck to replenish families drinking water… Green land and tracts of trees are being destroyed so these companies can drill their wells. And we, the people of this country (or other countries) do not get to see a reduction in gas prices because they are shipping the gas outside the U.S. to other more profitable markets so they can increase their own profits (oh, and shareholders).

Cybersecurity– we have got to improve our country’s Internet security and those of our allies to stop cyber crime. How hard is it for ISPs (Internet Service Providers) to throttle or just kill off (drop in the bit bucket) traffic that should only remain within internal networks. That is, IPs with leading octet of 10. or 192. – any traffic beginning with that address range should remain within the internal network and should never cross the Internet at large. That would kill off massive amounts of spam and other malicious traffic. Having a national clearing house of malicious threats, in the cloud for everyone to pull from, would help everyone learn of malicious activity immediately and in turn allows for some smart individual(s) to get a fix and post it to the cloud to circumvent that malicious threat immediately. This is not  a pie in the sky fix. There has been talk of cloud cyber security for some years now, starting with talk from college research students using a Beowulf network set up. This is catching on somewhat with companies like McAfee and Immunet(sp?).

Equality– women and minorities. We have to get to the point of paying everyone what they are worth and that starts with equal pay. If two people are doing the same job, they should be getting the same pay, especially if they have similar educational backgrounds and experience. Just because someone is a different gender, race or even sexual preference – that should not stop them from receiving the same pay. The days of any ‘ole boys network’ is over. It really should be over….

Innovation. We have individuals like Bill Gates who is willing to give up money to save the lives of others around the world. Why can’t we innovate in this country to improve our infrastructure (roads, bridges, power plants), or to lower the cost of energy. Why can’t some wind turbine (wind mill) company (somewhere) combine solar cell technology with the wind mills? If the nacelles around the top of the wind mill could house some of the more super efficient solar cells on the market (flexible and efficacy) – the wind mill blades could provide power all day. When there is no wind, the solar cells could provide the necessary energy to power the blades. There is wind, the blades spin. How hard could this be? Of course the blades should have the super-efficient lubricant that is used in the LBT (Large Binocular Telescope) that allows one person to easily move the LBT. And then too, the wind mill should have super-efficient gearing to allow for better torque. To me, this seems a no-brainer but this has to start with some wind mill/turbine manufacturer, someone bold enough to innovate this tech.

We also have to be innovative in how we work, in how we travel, in how we communicate. There is a great deal in we can successfully do to innovate and improve our lots in life.

Race. Well, on this topic alone I could go on for a while but I’ve put enough here for now.  Suffice it to say, we have to move beyond race in our daily lives.