Saturday, August 11, 2012

Why Paul Ryan would be a bad leader

Two Paths: Ayn Rand's Legacy

Before the American public there were two paths that could be taken. One was open to all, accepting of all and sought to help all along their way. The other path only allowed those who were willing to leave their friends, family and all of humanity behind to travel upon it. Though anyone was free to choose which path they would take, only one allowed for an increasing number of travellers. The other narrowed until there were but a few individuals who could maintain their footing and even that number dwindled as the capacity of this path decreased. Though the two paths were so different in the demographics that followed them, they were plainly viewed by all: Those on the growing path noticed the diminishing numbers of people who chose the one which shrank. They were close enough to call out to them, or so they thought, but for some reason, the people on the other path couldn’t hear them. It could have been that they were simply ignoring what they considered lower class citizens, but it could also have been the fact that all of their focus had to be on every step they took. The reason for this requirement was that, not only did the trail become more treacherous, but the few on this crooked path had a tendency to bump one another off. It was like a perverted game of “King of the Mountain”, except the mountain was a small winding road that allowed only the most ruthless of players to advance. And even worse than the threat of other players and shrinking landscape, was that at some point there was no return. Along the trail individuals not deemed strong enough were weeded out, by either falling off the trail or by crossing over one of infrequent connecting bridges that appeared from time to time. These bridges allowed for the selfish to cast off their illicit ways and gave them the opportunity to change their course. It provided them with a chance to share in the common good, to succeed together and move forward the agenda that best suited the group. These bridges flowed both ways, but only those who became misguided ever chose to go from the path of many to the path of the few, because they were fraught with peril and of those who attempted crossing them, most fell to their doom. Other than these connecting bridges, the paths simply ran parallel to one another. If one were to look over the edges of the growing path, they might see nothing at all. They might be faced with the uncertainty of just how far the drop might be. They might even find that they had lost their balance looking into this abyss, but there was always someone there to assist them, to provide a stability that they might not have had otherwise. And on several occasions, the uncertainty they saw looking over the edge was lifted like a fog, as explanations were provided and fears were alleviated. Whether this insight was forth-coming or not, the support one received was enough to get an individual’s focus back on the goals ahead. This however, was not so of the other path, the one that shrank as one progressed: There was no support to keep one from falling upon the jagged rocks below. The only comfort that anyone could gain while walking this lonely path had to come from one’s self. Any reassurance was possible only by what one could muster up from within, which made the journey that much more dangerous, as every step could proof to be their last. Compiling any fears that might cause hesitation was the fact that, at some point there was no going back. Inevitably, there was no way to turn around and walking backwards usually led to one outcome. There were of course those who had walked the more dangerous of the two paths and eventually found a place in which they could lay down and rest for as long as they chose. At this last stop, there always seemed to be a vast, open meadow, as lush and beautiful as one could imagine. Beside the greenest grass that one could imagine, there was food of all varieties available with a mere thought. No matter what one’s palette desired it could be seen as the weary traveller entered this wide open space. As for any other needs that anyone could have at this point, they were all met before the words could be formed. Whether one’s desire was the fanciest ‘this’ or the sharpest ‘that’ all needs wants and desires were fulfilled in this final utopian setting, but none who had made it this far had ever found peace in this magically deceiving place. More often than not, those who lay in the grass found it quite course as the serrated edges scratched their skin. Those who did not know of the harsh feel of the grass had simply not taken the time to relax: They had come to a point where they should have been able to let their guard down and enjoy the fruits of their labor, but even the fruit tasted sour as one by one they would taste every apple, pear, orange, steak, cake, or whatever food they cherished the most, only to toss it aside in disgust. In due time, every one of these individuals realized that what they desired most in life could not be enjoyed by one’s self. What was the point of reaching this point in their lives, if there was no one to talk to about the perfect meal before them or the miraculous sunset that just ushered on another temperate night. Nothing looked as good or tasted as good or felt as good as it would have looked, tasted or felt had it been shared with someone important. The only thing that someone who found themselves in this position could take pride in was the fact that had they been as ruthless as possible, someone would remember them: Had they knocked off enough competitors or committed as many atrocious acts as they could, they would live on in infamy in someone’s mind and to be respected or feared was an accomplishment in itself. Had they questioned this belief however, they would have realized that those who had chosen the other path would be remembered by far more people and those memories would be fond and they would be passed down from one generation to the next. Had they taken the time to listen to those who travelled on the other path, they would have realized that it is better to be loved by many than despised by few. And as was the case more often than not, as they lay their heads down in the irritating sawgrass.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Why Our Leaders Represent Those Who Support Them

As a follow up to my previous posts "Common Sense and Complacency Parts 1 & 2", I thought I would offer my personal feelings as to why the American public does not get the representation they expect.  Besides all of the normal reasons; low voter turnout, misleading political ads, etc. I would put forth one more idea:  After being ignored by so much of the population, especially on the state, regional and local levels, candidates might find it difficult relating to the very same public they are supposed to represent.

As a simple example, imagine trying to become friends with as many people as you can, but only finding acceptance from a small sampling of those you try to befriend.  What would you do?  Would you continue to try to promote yourself or would you concentrate more on those individuals who at least seem receptive to your attempts?  Don't answer that.  We all know how human nature works.

Now, let's consider someone on the National Stage:  This person has had to move up through the ranks; running for local, then state offices and eventually making it to the office of U.S. Representative, U.S. Senator or POTUS (God forbid).  Along this journey, this imaginary candidate has had to campaign, schmooze, cajole and convince a myriad of people who could possibly stand behind their bid for higher office.

If the only demographic that is paying attention, in this scenario are the wealthy, then those are the people to whom our candidate will pander.  If, those with fewer resources, ie. the middle class and the poor pay little or no attention, fail to support the candidate in the only manner at their disposal (sheer numbers), why would any candidate pay them any mind?  Even if that candidate's intentions are or were to fight for the people, disillusionment could and most likely would get the best of his or her desires, goals, necessities.

What America needs to keep our leaders from turning to the Dark Side is to support them in all phases of their careers.  From the local dog catcher (if an elected position) to the Commander in Chief, these public servants, as do all people, need to know that their efforts are appreciated, lest they decide they're hard work entitles them to the gifts offered by their most generous donors.

For myself, I can only imagine that more than one public figure has made or thought the following:

"If I'm going to work so hard to get elected and the public is, for the most part ignoring me, then I deserve all of the perks from those who do support me."

- Imaginary Candidate, Anytown, USA

Thursday, August 9, 2012

For those who don’t think the Republican Party is the party for racists and homophobes. THINK AGAIN

While, I will not go as far as to say that the Republican Party itself is racist, I will say that there must be some aspect of the G.O.P. that attracts individuals who believe themselves part of “the one and true” race created by GOD.  And this is why I am puzzled by Sheldon Adelson’s desire to promote the right-wing agenda.
Oh, I understand the greedy, vulture-like aspect of his support for Mitt Romney now and Newt Gingrich previously.  I fail however, to comprehend the fact that, tied to the financial gains he might feel entitled to and the expedience with which his legal troubles might disappear if a “new management” is placed in the White House in 2013 is White Supremacy.  Maybe Mr. Adelson feels that his wealth entitles him to be accepted as a member of the Arian Brotherhood.  I tend to think that the opposite would be true however and his fortune might tie him more closely to the stereotypical view the Arian Brotherhood reserve for Jewish people.
Again, I am not saying that the Republican Party itself is racist, but it seems a stretch to clam that a portion of its membership isn’t.  When there are so many instances of race baiting from those who sought the Presidency and just as many instances of those racist comments getting the biggest applause during the Republican Primary Race, it’s hard to believe otherwise.
It seems to me that, what Mr. Adelson and Harold Simmons (another billionaire supporting any GOP presidential candidate) fail to realize is that when people lose hope, they grasp at anything and anyone to blame for their plight:  All a charismatic speaker need do is find an incendiary source to ignite the fire.  In today’s divisive political environment, all of the Tea Party jokes about black people being lazy and a drain on our economy and gay people being a scourge opposed to “American Values” sounds a lot like the rhetoric of Adolf Hitler.
Perhaps the two gentlemen referenced above and any other Jewish billionaires pushing for a Republican-led America are okay with these types of attacks, because they are not levelled at Jews   Maybe they believe that they’ll escape unjust scrutiny for their success even if the racist underpinnings of the GOP were to leave the realm of the written or spoken word.  Ultimately however, racism is racism and hatred is hatred and given a foothold, both will infect, evolve and spread.
How this truly relates to the Republican Party, I could not fully say:  Perhaps there is some study that provides statistics, but a simple survey of the Internet or television (both right and left leaning) would provide a real world sampling of which political party draws out the most, hate-filled rhetoric. Whether it’s Gingrich calling Obama the first food stamp president or Rick Santorum saying he wants black people to learn to rely on themselves instead of the Government, or Michelle Bachmann’s allegations of a Muslim infiltration, there seems to be far more examples of racism in the G.O.P. than in the D.N.C. these days.*
One final point I might add is this:  Before World War II, Humanity did not have the example Hitler gave it.  I’m not saying that genocide, racism, slavery and a plethora of other inhumane acts didn’t exist before the Nazis.  I’m saying that Hitler left the supreme example of what could be accomplished through hatred and he did it all with words.

* - While, I do believe that racism exists in both political parties, I don’t seem to be able to find many from democratic leaders today.  I would appreciate links to examples of current, democratic leaders making statements that are or could be perceived as racist.  Just add the links to the comments section below.  Thank you

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Common Sense And Complacency Pt. 2

Though this video was posted in October of last year (2011), the problems it addressed still persist to this day, and have only festered and grown worse in that time period. Not only do people continue to complain about our government, but it seems that some have accepted the fact that most of us will never get the type of representation that our founding fathers fought for over two hundred years ago.

Speaking to a younger man who is in his thirties, which is the new twenties according to advertisers, but seems more like the new teens, in my opinion, he said one of the most disconcerting things I’d ever heard. When I asked him how he thought America would turn itself around and become a country that strives to improve the lives of more than just the wealthy, his response was baffling:

“I know that some of us are going to have to kiss the asses of others and I know that most of our lives are going to suck. I don’t worry about that shit. I’m just trying to have fun.”
- Orgy

His nickname made it apparent that he was living the life implied in his words. As for the impact his words had on me; they served as an example of life imitating art: In this case that art would be a movie called Idiocacy” (2006), in which humans have become so stupid that they water crops with a Gatorade like product and wonder why nothing grows.

Besides the young or semi-young not taking an interest in the future, it seems to me that the elderly have chosen to bury their heads in the proverbial sand as well, when it comes to politics these days. This, I could understand if our country was prospering as it had in the 1980s and 1990s, but why now? One suggestion that I would offer is that the person I was talking to in this instance is a die-hard Republican. I offer this as a reason, because I can only imagine how disillusioned republican voters have become when faced with the leaders of the GOP in recent times. Even while George W. Bush led America to default, elderly republican voters swore he was working in the best interest of the country. Now however, they don’t like to talk that much about politics, except to say Obama is the Devil. Whenever I ask whether they’re concerned about the future that their children and grandchildren will have to face, I get answers to the negative. I get answers such as the following:

“I will be dead in a few years and then I won’t care about these things at all. I’ll be dead”
- Stanch Republican Voter

In the truest sense this is correct, even if you go to Heaven; you probably aren’t looking back and wondering why there is so much suffering on Earth. After all, you’ve made it to the Promised Land . . . but wait, what is Ayn Rand doing up here? Sorry. I got a little sidetracked.

Getting back to my point; Americans have become disillusioned with our Government, as well they should. My feeling is that, instead of fading quietly into that dark knight, Americans should be taking to the streets, protesting the injustice that will eventually befall us all. Whether you’re poor, middle class, upper class, wealthy, black, white, Asian, Latino, gay, straight, bi-sexual or anyone other than the super wealthy, you should be outraged, because we all must live in the American Ghetto that these greedy bastards are creating. It’s time to wake up and understand that whether the current actions of the elite affect you directly or not, there is no logic in wanting to further stagnate the economy by giving more money to people who are not creating the jobs we pay them to create through tax breaks/refunds.

What people must understand is that there are less than six hundred (600) individuals who pass laws that have incarcerated more people than were enslaved in 1850, even though crime rates have not increased. They are the same people who send our soldiers to die in foreign lands based on the lie of weapons of mass destruction (Iraq War). They are the same people who allow billionaires like Harold Simmons to build nuclear waste facilities over the third largest crop irrigation aquifer in the United States (Ogallala). They are the same people who have allowed Climate Change deniers to misguide us to the point that not only is Climate Change real, but there is nothing we can do about it now, except adapt to it as best we can. They are the same individuals who have allowed corporations to outsource American jobs and hide their profits offshore so they could utilize tax loopholes to pad their profits on the backs of taxpayers. How can a corporation be considered loyal to its country of origin if its presence is greater in other countries and it drives the people in its native lands into poverty?

“Five Hundred and Forty Four (544) individuals did this” and are leading America to chaos; we can stop them by replacing them all with people who will represent our best interests. I’m not claiming to have all of the answers; I’m claiming to have more than the “Five Hundred and Forty Four” who are supposed to have them. I’m making the claim now, that nothing will change as long as we don’t change it.  Check out my Really? Rally page here, or go to the to see what you can do to be that change.
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