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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50 years later & SCOTUS – We’ve Failed…

Really? Really!!!

Okay, 50 years later and SCOTUS (supreme court of the US) has apparently failed people of the U.S., those who are morally inclined for doing the right thing for the many and not just the vocal. 

Religion, as I know it, is a private affair and as such should never play a part in local, state or federal government. Yet, it does.

Yes, when this country was formed, people knew less about science but they knew more about racism, bigotry, suppression, oppression, sexism, discrimination – well, should I continue on…?

My point is, is that this country has changed over a couple of centuries – at least a little bit – and the world has changed. It is supposed to be for the better, not in taking strides to go backwards. 

Yet, this is what the SCOTUS is doing, with their latest decision for Hobby Lobby and contraception, causing us to go backwards in our nations’ progress. That decision was a slippery slope (Justice Ginsburg and Hillary Clinton both stated that). That decision is going to open up a Pandora’s Box of more discrimination across the country – no service for gays, attempts to do away with minimum wage, etc., etc., etc.

Nia-Malika Henderson wrote a great piece on this topic: How Justice Ginsburg’s Hobby Lobby dissent helps shape the debate about reproductive vs. religious rightswww.washingtonpost.com/blogs/she-the-people/wp/2014/07/01/how-justice-ginsburgs-hobby-lobby-dissent-helps-shape-the-debate-about-reproductive-and-religious-rights/ Jul 1, 2014

 

Religion as I understand it, and no disrespect, is that if individuals want to practice any religion, they are free to do so, as long as they are not forcing others to see it or be an unwilling participant. For example, those of us who may be atheist or agnostic – are forced to handle currency with “In God We Trust” or to see it in courtrooms and/or other public governmental institutions.

If one wants to practice their religion – don’t make everyone around you be unwilling (or unwitting) participants. Hobby Lobby, in its zeal wants to implement their religious belief on their thousands of employees and not all of them are religious, just because they work at Hobby Lobby. For those of you who say ‘maybe those employees who don’t like it should get another job elsewhere,’ – what do you know of the plight of those workers? Do you know how easy or difficult it will be for the Hobby Lobby employee to ‘easily’ move on to another job, one that is as good paying (hopefully) as the one they are leaving?

Why are people trying to force religious beliefs on others? Why aren’t the religious, those that are trying to spread religion, letting the non-religious go about their business in peace? Not allowing the non-religious (or even the willing religious) to partake of something like contraception is somewhat abysmal and akin to Sharia Law. Yep, I did say Sharia Law because that what it boils down to when one wants to put their religious stamp on others who do not want to participate.

If one is religious that is fine, you can believe the world was created 6,000 years ago that is quite up to you. There are even those who believe that mankind domesticated dinosaurs but there are no dinosaur fossils (T-Rex, Stegosaurus, Brontosaurus, etc.) as young as 6,000 years old.

But for some people, they believe in the science of the world being created hundreds of millions of years ago (and more) with the human race evolving over the past several million years, with fossils to prove it (Australopithecus, homo habilis, homo erectus, neanderthals, homo sapien, etc.) – that is, if one believes in carbon dating as many do.

We have got to separate and remove religion from politics and government, we have to.

 

The Supreme Court has been making decisions they believed were helping but in fact are actually hindering and causing us to become a have and have not country.

A case in point, the Citizens United decision, where more money can be dumped into politics – that is simply bad but many people seem to believe it is a good idea. It is not.

If those with the most money influences (and dictates behind the scenes) political events and issues because of that vast wealth being sent in at fire hose torrent speeds, the less wealthy will feel the effects and suffer accordingly. This is akin to going back to the robber baron days where the rich were the one’s setting the rules and regulations, the poor “be damned!”

Now of course, not all rich are as maliciously inclined to gobble up all they want with scant disregard to the ‘little people’ or the ’47 percent.’ There are many altruistic wealthy folks, just not enough to overcome the non-altruistic…

 

And the voting rights issue, it is bad enough that we have the problem of political gerrymandering compounding every single problem facing us. Because the SCOTUS knocked down sections of the VRA, we are at this cliff drop off of states making sweeping changes to hinder and impede the votes of certain people. And using the fear of voting fraud in certain conversations keep cropping up, yet, there is very little fraud…

Please do your own wide research on this, “do not” just go to one news outlet and read content there – READ & RESEARCH FROM MULTIPLE, VARIED SOURCES!” Otherwise, you will doom your own knowledge and filter only on what you want to read rather than other varying opinions, which ‘may’ help you to form newer, better and more knowledgeable opinions.

If some of the states wanting to implement some of the draconian voting laws, why not make it easier for the people? Why not put into effect, mobile voter registration vehicles where the vehicle can go to different communities on a rotating basis to let those folks register? This would alleviate the commuting people for many of these folks… right…?

The SCOTUS, in their great wisdom, in cutting out parts of the VRA allowed many states to modify and cripple voting for quite a few citizens.

Overall, the SCOTUS has failed. They have failed, more than likely, in using their personal values rather than logical and contemplative reasoning to decide momentous decisions that spread far and deep into the future.

So ultimately, we, the people of the U.S. have failed along with the Supreme Court. Why? Because we get who we vote for in the political arena. If one votes for a vitriolic individual who refuses to compromise, poo-poos any real science and looking to establish extreme measures to resolve some problem – that is who goes onward doing things many people dislike. 

Subsequently, these individuals in office, they are the ones who go on to decide in some form or fashion the types of people who serve on boards, committees and institutions like the Supreme Court. People like members of the SCOTUS make decisions, which extrapolated out into the future, can cause chagrin, harm and little progress.

We failed because too many people are too short-sighted and use things like gender discrimination or religion, a hugely personal belief, in attempting to brand everyone around them with the same philosophy or belief – whether others want it or not.

SIDEBAR: On the topic of gerrymandering, we have to stop it and stop it now or else we will just see, for the long haul, political parties no longer having truly competitive races with continual gridlock at every turn. We need an independent organization that is bi-partisan to create new district lines in every state, a system that is fair and equitable and not one where we have: “okay, this group here is fine, they will vote for democrats at every election” and “this group over there is fine, they are all one race and wealthy, they will only vote for one party forever.”

Why can’t we stop this gerrymandering nonsense, it is at the heart of political gridlock….!!!??? Or are we doomed to having one party or the other, because of gridlock, blocking commonsense changes and progress for everyone…?

NOTEABLES: To obtain medical supplies dependent on your employer’s beliefs and desires, who in Hades and/or in their right mind would want to do that?

To allow the rich to dictate (again) the direction of politics and societal norms (if we have any left) – who in their right mind would want that?

To allow states to hobble the voting activities of many of their citizens because it would make the voting more slanted towards one party, well, that is just so disingenuous…

Maybe the worst of all, having men decide what is right and best for women and their productive organs (their bodies) – that is simply unbelievable of the utmost magnitude.

Solutions for inequities, religious superiority (anywhere in the world) and other discriminations:

Many of us are as stumped as anyone else, successful and resourceful answers are difficult and difficult to implement once found. There are too many people who are too dogmatic in their beliefs and refuse to modify their beliefs – even if you put illuminative and very verifiable evidence on their plate in front of them, served up with a heaping bounty of ‘no guilt’ and complete lack of finger pointing.

We just do not seem to have enough people in this country (or around the world) who are looking past their own nose, their own short-sightedness and looking down the road to the future as to what will be best for society overall… Too many people (and businesses) are looking at short-term gains and goals and not the long game.

We need ‘more’ people in this country that are willing to:

  • Open their eyes and their minds to become better educated and to broaden their mental and moral horizons
    • Read or watch or talk about topics that stretch your own internal compass
  • Stop the self-filtering habit of continuous conversations with the ‘same’ people discussing the ‘same’ topics free of differing, open and diverse viewpoints
  • Stop the self-filtering habit of only listening to the ‘same’ radio stations (radio or online) and/or to the ‘same’ TV news channels all the time – instead, more people should watch different TV/radio programs
    • Watch PBS, BBC, AlJazeera America, FOX, CNN, Bloomberg and/or CNBC to gain a grasp of other opinions from differing viewpoints, from other perspectives – to see what is going on in other parts of the country (and the world)
    • Stop listening only to individuals who rail and rant about limited topics that make little sense in the short term – such as stopping change, things like renewable energy and gender equality (at everything, as much as is possible but most certainly in pay and power) – go outside of your comfort zones and hear/see multiple other aspects of life and the economy – many people around the country have different thoughts than you – you do not control what others should be thinking or seeing or doing
  • Help educate other people in their communities to broaden their minds and stop thinking and acting as if we were still in America of 1800, or 1880, or even 1955
    • People HAVE GOT to start thinking of those long term goals that was mentioned previously, 10, 20, 50 and 100 years into the future – yes, there may be pain now, the initial cost and the mental disequilibrium, which is sure to arise
  • Help the less advantaged people rise up and become better, where in the end, the entire society prospers and not just the few who had it handed to them from their ancestors – those who simply took what was available while oppressing and suppressing others

None of this can be accomplished without many more people ‘stretchingtheir minds to learn newer things, accept more ways of thinking and certainly not least – becoming more adaptive to the ever changing world of the future. And being old, young, religious, straight, gay, white, brown, black, blue or green – none of that excuses anyone from changing for the better and bringing EVERYONE forward with them.

There is no excuse for being unwilling to change! We are moving further into the 21st century, all of us must change…

 

 

 

C’mon, Really – “It’s always been that way ‘historically’”…. Racism

Really? Really!!!

It’s always been that way historically…. a statement purportedly made by Donald Sterling to his girlfriend V. Stiviano who is a woman of mixed race, which races are not important, at least to myself and many others around the globe.

Why should it matter? Why should anyone care at this point in our history as to what color someone else is? “NO ONE” should care what color or race someone else is, here in the 21st century – we should be moving on to a better and more enlightened future.

 

Yes, Sterling (purportedly) hit it on the nail head that it has been that way historically but do we need to continue on with any bigots, racists, racism or anyone who believes in racial supremacy? There are those who believe we need to get rid of affirmative action because the time is right (Supreme Court amongst others). Yet we have individuals like Sterling and Cliven Bundy (Nevada rancher who believes in a sovereign state but not the U.S.) who open their mouths and make it blatantly known how they truly feel, to the world.

 

These two individuals are not isolated cases of racism; there are many, many more incidents of racism in America and around the world – it is only more covert and insidious. These individuals and some of them will tell you to your face they are not racist, thrive in restaurants, in your workplace, at your gym, at your local bar, etc.

There are many people who can recount multiple painful situations (I know I can) where they were either an outright victim of racism or were a victim of more insidious racism – i.e. on the job receiving unequal pay or less favorable jobs (same as in gender discrimination).

Along the lines of covert racism, there are so many fraudulent people out there who will joke with the person of a different (“inferior”) skin color, slap them on the back out of camaraderie and even have drinks together – but it is all a front. It is a front because, behind closed doors with ‘others of their kind,’ the frauds will let their inner thoughts come out and ring true as they trash talk and belittle the person(s) of a different color. They may not be members of the KKK but it may as well be the same thing, the frauds act as if they are superior.

If you have experienced this, you will know what I mean. For those that do not or doubt it, let me point you in the direction of two recent points of reference:

==> Exhibit ACliven Bundy & Exhibit BDonald Sterling

 

We still have ‘good old boy’ networks thriving everywhere; the problem is in proving it. One cannot know or find out unless the racist(s) in question lets it slip accidentally or someone in the know blows the whistle. We have vast numbers of racism occurring everywhere, at a time when it should not matter what color a person’s skin is or what race they belong to.

— Why does race matter?  Why should race matter!!! —

 

And as to affirmative action I mentioned previously, unfortunately, we do still need it for a bit longer in order to continue to level the playing field for many who would not move upwards without it. Examples, okay, how about this one – schools that receive more funding or better *you name it* than schools in disadvantaged areas.

 

Back to race issues though, some people look at the skin color of another and automatically stigmatize that person with having the “wrong” or “different” skin color. Some of these people who act racist do it intentionally, while others do it sub-consciously because of years of growing up and being brain-washed with it (similar to growing up in a religious family where every single day, all you hear and see is religion with no countervailing arguments or viewpoints).

 

Why is it that people who do have racist issues continue having those issues in the 21st century?

 

Is it out of fear that the person of a different color might do a better job or be a better person? Are people still afraid of – “becoming tainted” from being around someone of another color? Do so many people ‘still’ believe they will become contaminated from interacting with others of another race?

 

Why aren’t even more people starting to look beyond the skin color of another and put value on the person within that skin? Why don’t more people realize that interacting with many more others will allow for more growth, more sharing and a better society?

 

 

It is what is inside and under the skin that makes the person. It is the person’s integrity, character, ethics, heart and thoughts that make the true individual – not just the outer layer of skin of whatever color.

Everyone needs to become educated that skin color is ONLY skin deep and that the person beneath that outer layer of skin – wants and desires the same things you want and desire.

 

It is a flat out shame that we still have to continue working on racism at this time. Many years ago some of us (and then many more years ago for those who came before us) were so optimistic that in the future, race would no longer be a problem. We thought, acted and talked in a manner of inclusiveness, hoping that others who did not act/think that way would pick up on our cues – and that it would accelerate over time, growing in an ever expanding curve upwards.

We were wrong. We were very, very wrong…

But we still continue to have hope that one day, most racism will actually die out (and groups like the KKK along with it).

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…