Thankful

I wrote this years ago, and I share it at Thanksgiving as a reminder of what I’m thankful for.

A Heathens Perspective

What I’m Thankful For…

In the hustle and the bustle of the season, with all of the distractions and obligations we find ourselves beset by, it is incredibly easy to lose sight of what we have to be Thankful for. Religious or secular, there is plenty to give thanks for in our lives, and I’ve always believed that setting aside a day to be thankful is a fantastic thing to do. It could even be something that we consider in our everyday lives.

For me as a student and a fan of history, I find myself more pondering the spirit if the Holiday in the scope of our past; of what has come before and established the profoundly solid base we find ourselves standing on, with little thought to even the most incredible yet commonplace things we otherwise take for granted in our day to day routine.

With that in…

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Embrace Your Adversity

Be Thankful for it.

Look, we get it.

Life is hard. It’s not easy to deal with adversity, or think that the world at large is in chaos and things can get ugly- and that they often do. It’s not easy to see why people do things that you don’t think make any sense, and you want everything to be easy and nice.

But it isn’t. Life is hard and you make the best of it that you can. There are bad things that happen to people of all stripes, and there are bad people who have no concern for what your pretty little life has in store for you. Still, you take what you have and you do what you can, where you are to make your little corner of your world even just a little better. If enough people did that, life for everyone could be so much more amazing!

And life is hard for a reason. If we didn’t have to surmount adversity, conquer our fears, reach out and help others, or fight for what we think is right we would never grow, never become more than we are. We would stagnate in the unchanging swamp of utopia, dying off one by one, un-noticed by our peers who refuse to deal with the unpleasantness of death and unremembered for accomplishments we never had the chance to undertake.

Denying the realities of life so that you can feel better about the pretty little garden of make believe that you have built up around yourself not only helps no one, but it’s selfishly self-serving and not very smart to do. Calling people names and denigrating people who do not think as you only serves to exacerbate the problems you worry so much about and disclaim with such righteous passion!

Embrace Life. Embrace the fears, the challenges and the people with whom you disagree. They are part of the world that shapes you, that molds you and that breathes vitality into your endeavors; where you earn your unique character and beauty.

They are part of what gives us a reason to be Thankful.

Nations, Tribes, Groups, and Meme’s

In a world that runs on headlines and soundbites, ‘humorous’ memes are at the heart of an all-pervasive disinformation movement.

The Thanksgiving Holiday is almost here again, and again we’ll be seeing the same sort of meme storm that we see so often when this holiday arrives or the subject of immigration comes up. You know the one; it’s usually a depiction of a Native American or a Native American and a pilgrim with some sort of stupid comment about refusing the ‘immigrant’ pilgrim permission to enter the country.

This meme and so many like it always irritate me. If I had seen it once or twice as a joke, maybe it wouldn’t bother me so much, but it’s so all pervasive and it so misleading.

I hardly ever mention this because I don’t want to be one of those people that harp on their Native American heritage, but I am speaking as a person with a mix of Penobscot and Sioux/Nez Pierce heritage. There was no consolidated Nation here at the time and not a single ‘nation’ that existed had laws that had anything to do with immigration. On top of that, many of the tribes were killing each other in raids and wars for dominance and resources. They did horrendous things to each other.

Also, there are indications that white Europeans have been here for 30,000 years or more. They traveled across the Atlantic in much the same way that Samoans and Chinese travelled across the Pacific. So who were the originals? It doesn’t matter.

What does matter is the tribe that won out in the end. In the end, it was the European tribes that came here as all others came here over the long course of time and it was they who consolidated and organized a culture and a civilization that survived.

After the battles for supremacy were over, it was the most recent influx of people- groups and tribes if you will (Europeans and others)- who coalesced into a nation that stopped the constant warring and killing and enslavement that had been going on here for thousands of years.

Sure, there were great civilizations of Native Americans, but they didn’t survive. They disappeared or disbanded- we don’t know why in so many cases, but they did not have the fortitude to be a thriving society when the latest batch of Europeans arrived, so like in the past, they adapted or they faded away into the annals of history.

Exactly the way it has been throughout all of human history all over the globe.

The Meaning of Passion

Quite thought provoking, and interesting.

Social Health

Passion

Passion means sacrificial suffering as well as strong sexual desire. Referring to both sex and death, passion encompasses the cycle of life in one word. The Latin origin of passion is “pati,” meaning “suffer,” and the word gained popularity in Christian theology referring to the sacrificial suffering of martyrs. In the sixteenth century, passion began to refer to sexual love and a sense of strong liking or enthusiasm, seemingly the opposite of its original use. Although passion can still refer to pain and suffering – as seen in The Passion of the Christ – today, the word mainly conjures up strong connotations of pleasure and desire.

I argue that although seemingly contradictory, the paradoxical nature of passion needs to be understood before we can apply it to the vocational realm discussed in my previous post which examined the popular career advice to “follow your passion.” The word has lost its…

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Bigotry, Tolerance, and Heroism

The most stupid-ass thing popped up in my social networking timeline. It’s a picture of five men from the University of Virginia swim team posing together with one holding a sign that says “Two of us are gay and the other three don’t care.”

Does no on else see the contradiction inherent in the picture itself?

First of all, not only do you not care, but neither does anyone else in America! And if you actually Don’t care, why are you holding up a sign that says anything at all?

Second of all, is that supposed to make you some kind of hero? That you supposedly are posing with a couple of gay men when the truth is that anyone who matters never really cared what people do in their bedroom to start with? Oh, You golden, tolerant bunch of college kids! The rest of the country is so proud of you!

Shullbit. People like this are full of crap. Stop making an issue out of it either way! Being tolerant doesn’t make anyone morally superior or some kind of social justice hero warrior, it makes you a good person. And bragging about being such a tolerant person because you have gay teammates, actually makes you an intolerant bigot to begin with, eager to be able to look down on everyone else because of your self-perceived superiority that you are somehow better than everyone because you are so tolerant of of others being gay.

That is bigotry, You self serving, egotistical, >censored<!!!

News Flash: If you find yourself needing to be tolerant of something, that means you had a problem with it to begin with.

Of Riots and Rights

In the aftermath of the Ferguson affair.

Here’s my thing…

I want to try and make one last point with regards to Ferguson and then I want to get away from it as the subject of the rioters is kind of played out; and that point is that is I am by NO means against protesting. It is a Right. We need it in our culture. It’s how change can be effected.

In Ferguson and many other towns we have a large group, many of them protesters exercising their first amendment rights. But we have an unfortunate subgroup, the rioters. Ditto Looters. And another unfortunate subgroup, the zealotry driven protesters who think that they have some twisted right to shove their protest in everyone else’s face, blocking traffic and ruining business owners capacity to do a profitable business by shutting them down through sit-ins.

How does any of that further a needed discussion? The conversation that actually needs to happen is being overshadowed by animals like Brown’s step dad calling to “Burn this m***** f***** down”; by people looting stores and destroying the property of local business leaders; by leaders ::cough cough:: implying that it’s all excusable by saying that they can ‘understand’ the anger, thereby condoning the behavior without actually condoning it.

Then you have ‘news’ outlets that throw opinionated commentary out into the world thinly veiled as news. Their round tables are often one sided and indictments are thrown out onto the table without the benefit of a so-called ‘news’ person moderating ridiculous statements accusing, in this case, Officer Wilson of being a murderer without the benefit of a trial on a national news program (I’m looking at You, Wolf Blitzer).

Additionally, any kind of news that might give perspective is left out. Again, in the case of Ferguson, how many cops have been killed since the year 2000 by ‘unarmed’ suspects? How many White men are shot by cops every year? Those figures are available, and shocking!

But I digress. I am all for everyone being able to express their first amendment rights, I am all for peaceful protest. Regardless of if I agree with the protesters, everyone has a right to speak out, it is a foundation of the greatness of what was once the greatness of America. That is actually what is good about our right to protest. It’s in the crucible of critical attention and debate that pares your point of view down to necessities, where you, if you are able to deal with it, find out what it is you really believe and maybe even why you believe it.

But the sad fact about the entire thing is that the conversation that actually does need to happen never will, because it is overshadowed by the violence and complete ridiculousness of a bunch of people that are acting like children, like feral animals that have no concept or regard for rights, much less the responsibilities that go along with those rights.

As a result we end up talking and endlessly arguing about the validity of the issues because a proportionately small number of people don’t really care about anything except the opportunity to grab a new pair of sneakers through the broken window at their local shoe store and watching the world burn. We end up categorizing the people with a legitimate gripe, pigeon-holing them with the looters and destroyers. Ironic that the people, the individuals, and the groups with legitimate concerns and issues actually seem to see the looters and the destroyers as on their side! It’s astonishing!

We need stop. Then we need to reset. We need to deal with the looters and destroyers the way we have been dealing with that type of person or group for all of living memory. They need to be shut down and put away without fear of political correctness reprisals or that the people with legitimate concerns won’t start pulling out the race card or see a chance to farther divide us by pointing fingers and calling names.

Then maybe the real discussion can begin. When we start to maybe take a good long look at ourselves and our assumptions, when we cease to jump to the defensive immediately and instead try to see where the other side is coming from. We need to take a good long look at the people who have made a living off of pimping poverty and racism and really question all of the ‘information’ that is being fed to us by people who have a vested interest in keeping the pot boiling and roiled up, and I’m talking about both sides.

We are too married to party. We are too married to the preconceptions we carry around like security blankets. People are too afraid to maybe discover that they might have elements to what they have been spoon fed with regards to information or opinion that might be wrong.

We got too lost in the minutia, the side arguments, like that dog in the movie ‘UP’ who kept getting distracted by the squirrels; and both sides, knowing that, use that to their advantage in order to ‘win’ the debate rather than further the conversation or actually accomplish anything meaningful; endlessly scattering shiny little pieces of subject bait all over the pathway of the argument, polluting the conversation beyond any hope of redemption or closure.

Someone has to say ‘to hell with pride’ and be willing to make a genuine effort at having the conversation honestly, without inflated or manipulated statistics, without false preconception and free of adherence to the party line. And it needs to be done in a civil and dignified manner.

Is that possible? I don’t know. I fear we may regressed too far as a culture, that there aren’t enough people willing and able to slog their way through that route. I fear that we have retreated too far into the false comfort of our respective paradigms to consider anything else. But it is said, ‘where there is life, there is hope’.

I would love to be able to believe that.

Why Can’t We All…

I find myself mired in sadness this morning. Not so much anger or anything else. Mostly sadness mixed with empathy for the innocent bystanders that we’ve become a country that has a large contingent of people who react like unruly, unrestrained, petulant children when something doesn’t go their way by throwing childish, immature, insane temper tantrums. Wrecking everything and doing to innocents around them what they assert has been done to them, despite that fact that countless members of their own group and other groups have come here, worked themselves raw and succeeded wildly.

A conclusion by a Grand Jury has been reached, fairly and squarely, despite the fact that there were numerous attempts to lie about the event and twist the story by witnesses and even the national media. The Grand Jury in question was not a panel of white men, it was a panel of peers of all types.

And more sadness that we as a nation don’t deal squarely with the lawbreakers and rioters by shutting them down in kind, by dealing with them equally as they deal with their environment. But nobody wants to be another officer Wilson, whose life is forever changed simply by doing his job and defending his life from a dirt bag who deserves the dirt nap he got.

If we stay this course, we will eventually fail as a culture. Dedicated peace-nicks lament ‘why can’t we all just get along’. Well, this is why. Because there will always be petulant and childish people, closer to animals in nature who just want to see the world burn, who deal with not getting their way by committing violence and human rights abuses on those around them, and those people must be met with force. It’s the only thing they will understand.

Not trying to sound too cliche` here, but stop the world. I want to get off.