#FPQ: comment address

I wrote a response to Fandango’s Provocative Question which was a clip of Don Lemon referencing and showing clips of the president’s evolutionary response to the virus. My post was regarding Trump’s behavior in general more than specifically regarding this virus. A reader, whom I consider a friend and who also happens to be a supporter of the president, commented on my post. I realized from his comment that I had used a broad stroke brush with my post and I wasn’t clear that my own opinions – as that is what they are – were more about the current leader’s character in general while using this prompt as an anchor or example.

I really appreciated the comment, first and foremost, because it was reasonable and worded diplomatically. There was nothing in the comment that was not true (except that, historian, I am not, we’ve had pandemics before so government guidelines (should) exist but every pandemic is unique, so I’ll give that). It also made me think on it…long after I read it.

I have heart felt empathy toward my friend. He supports the current president; I can’t say more than that because I don’t know more. When I submerge into my emotions about a ‘sensitive subject’ to me and envision that “subject” being ridiculed, dragged over the coals, mocked, demoralized and victimized, my blood pressure rises. I can feel myself getting angry and defensive. When I delve deeper into the layers of social problems, using my subject, when I look at areas where there is plausibility, areas that I cannot conscientiously ‘justify’ or ‘overlook’ or ‘excuse’, this is the area where the “opposition starts to make sense” or, in other words, they have a point. That’s the gray area where compromise can and should be made; this area where both parties are a little right and a little wrong. If only people were not so staunchly for or against as if all matters were black and white.

I believe President Trump is doing the best he can and that was, albeit opaque, my point about his character; blaming, deflecting, rationalizing, conflating and, yes, lying. That is who the man is…that is who he is because his whole life has been outside of the ‘norm’ and that is all he knows…and, it’s worked out well for him. Trump is not a lawyer nor a “professional” politician (he is and always was a politician at heart) so, no, he does not know what he is doing – nor should any of us have expected him to know what to do as the “leader of the free world.”

Many elected him explicitly because he was not a professional politician and the expectation was that he would disrupt the whole game in Washington and this would send a message to those still taking up seats in government. Well, that has happened. But what no one saw coming was that he would be embraced by the very swamp monsters that EVERYONE is sick of, not just Trumps fan-base, and these parasites would then use this novice politician for their own selfish purposes. Therefore, the man that rose above all others in the political game is now the scapegoat for all that is ‘wrong in America.’

I’m not giving a pass to Trump himself. He has faults galore that many of us, if we exhibited these same traits, would not have jobs, likely not many friends either. Recently I read something about our ability to judge people (judge as in being able to quickly determine if we should trust) and what it boils down to, as I understood, the more we are exposed to and get to know someone, the more unable we are to judge them correctly. That’s seems obvious because the more we know someone – more to the point, the more we know someone as they want us to know them (the ‘face’ you allow others to see) – the more we share in common, the more we like them, the less open we are to their faults, the less we trust our own instincts when something isn’t quite right.

This, I feel, is one explanation of Trump supporters; people who are good people, people who want the same things we all want, people who are tired of being marginalized, ignored, overlooked and, politically speaking, victimized by our government in whom we expect to have our best interests in mind when they make choices that effect all of us. The choice was made and the more the president speaks about how he is going to make America great again, the more rallies he holds where he speaks directly to (his) people, the more they want to believe that he speaks the truth.

We all default to where our sympathies lie and, therefore, we don’t see the cumulative ‘evidence’ to the contrary until the tipping point is reached, the point where the change is going to require more effort and time than we have to give. At this point it’s easier to choose our reality than face it. The more attacked we are for our choice, the more we dig in to defend it, the less likely anyone is going to be receptive to open-minded exchange.

The pandemic isn’t Trump’s fault nor the Chinese. It’s one of many, many problems we share in this world and, I will challenge, there are many more to come. We’ve become divided and self-serving, intolerant and defensive, indifferent to how each of us effects others and the earth. We don’t handle doing things or sacrificing for the greater good over our own personal gain and comfort. I’m not a doomsday person but I feel that we are going to experience more and greater global catastrophes until we either learn our mistakes or perish. Death is the common denominator: it can come earlier or later, but it’s coming.

 

 

 

 

 

#FPQ based on a 12 min. CNN news segment

The 12 minute news clip with Don Lemon at CNN breaks down from January until last week various commentary from Trump claiming that the CoronaVirus is a hoax and less deadly than the flu and that it will one day soon just disappear then later we have it under control and finally I’ve known it was a pandemic even before they said it was a pandemic.

There is nothing new here except Don Lemon states that the president is “gaslighting” everyone. I had to look that word up: “manipulate (someone) by psychological means into questioning their own sanity.” I am not sure about other people but I don’t think any intelligent, grounded reasonable human is second guessing their own sanity. I know many are wondering what the hell these other government representatives are doing following Trump’s lead.

There is nothing new here folks. NO ONE who has even only average intelligence should be surprised by Trump’s behavior or statements: he is doing what he ALWAYS does; deflect, blame others, minimize, take credit for any thing that is ‘good’ — basically out right lies. I don’t believe he does this on purpose. I believe he is a psychopath and a pathological liar. His history of histrionic personality disorder goes back to his early years in the rich & famous circles and spotlight. He hasn’t changed during these four years of assumed ‘responsibility for running the country’ and he is not going to change if/when hundreds of thousands of American citizens die from this virus; it’s just a numbers game to him and he probably hopes that most of those will be liberals and democrats and any one who most likely wouldn’t vote for him AND he’s just ignorant and self-serving enough to actually even state this at some point in the future at one of his rallies.

I appreciate Don Lemon and CNN for their sober televised announcement but it is nothing we haven’t already deduced.

#FPQ: 61

#FPQ 59

What does it mean to you in the 21st century to be well educated?

I’m not “well educated” nor am I an educator so this will be simple.

  1. Kindergarten for all five year olds that focus on exploration, curiosity, imagination, manual dexterity and the basics like counting, colors, shapes, manners, cooperation, following directions, socializing…all good things that are the foundation to future learning.
  2. Get rid of the over-simplifying education as if we are training dogs to do tricks. Humans vary in how they learn, what/how they see and interpret, speed of learning, etc. It’s understandable that we all should know how to count and recognize letters (not that anyone writes any more) but this ‘check the box’ style of teaching is not working.
  3. If a child isn’t grasping something then adaptation is needed on behalf of teachers and our educational system. There is much more involved with young people who are unable to grasp learning things such as poor home environment, poor diet, insufficient sleep, learning disabilities, mental/emotional (disorders) situations, etc. My children were grown before the whole “no child left behind” mantra so I’m not real familiar except the complaints I hear from others but that seems to have caused more problems than solutions. I’m also not holding our education system accountable for family issues, health issues, etc. but, since every child goes to school (or should) it’s a great filter for what is going on in our communities and could be addressed, if we really cared about education.
  4. Again, I’m not an educator but I am sure curious about how and what other first-world countries are doing that they supercede us in education. Why are we so afraid of taking some cues from countries that out-perform us? Oh, wait…that’s right, I forgot …we’re the best and greatest and strongest and richest country in the world.
  5. And finally – once we can get a handle on how to educate properly and thoroughly and adequately – we should definitely be pro-higher education and I’m going to include trade schools here also because I like to be able to find a plumber, electrician, carpenter, mechanic, etc. when I need one; a good one.

When we start believing that knowledge is power and an education is the way to get there – for most – a way to improve our whole society, then we’ll be willing to invest in our educational system.

Okay, this was longer than I intended but this is a sore spot with me: we don’t value knowledge as much as we value celebrity, sports, power, entertainment, wealth, and status. We don’t truly appreciate a well-rounded education because it’s been an avenue mostly for the elite and fortunate – not EVERYONE. The desire to learn and explore are not part of our early education so ‘school’ is just something to ‘get through’ before they start their real life…..

Okay…this post is basically garbage but I’m publishing it because I’ve spent time writing it.

 

 

 

#FPQ: 58

What is something you’ve long believed to be true, but you now realize is not true?

fpqI’ve been sitting here thinking about this for several minutes…read a post or two, come back to it..think some more whilst staring out the window. I can’t really think of anything that I’ve long believed to be true that now I realize is not. I think the skeptic in me has always seen everything with smoke-colored glasses…and a big question mark hanging over it. I suppose if I’m to stretch, reach for something it would be that ‘truth wins out’ or something to that effect. Maybe even now I still have some lingering idealization that – eventually – truth does prevail but…

it doesn’t really, does it?

#FPQ

Are humans better at creating or destroying?

#FPQ

We are great at both but it seems whenever (we) create something that is for ‘good’ someone comes along and figures out how to use it for ‘bad’.

Splitting the atom

social media

capitalism

tracking devices (phones, cars, etc)

opioids

and on and on….

It doesn’t matter what it is…someone will find a way to profit from it or use it to gain power and control.

That’s what we are best at….create to destroy.

#FPQ: would you want to know?

That’s so random and wide open, naturally most of us will immediately reply, it depends on what it is. To know something in/from the past that I don’t know now? To know something about the future? To know everything; omniscience? And would the knowing change anything or not? If I were omniscient I’d know that.

My initial reaction is; super-power! Yes, I’d want to know, then I can prepare. So I ask myself questions to test my answer: if I was going to win the lottery sometime in the future, would my knowledge make a difference? No. If I were to have foreknowledge that I’d lose my job in the future, would that change my actions? Yes; I’d save more money, I’d diversify my skill set (because which job in the future will I lose?) and I’d be mentally prepared. Would I want to know if I were going to become disabled? Again, yes. Would knowing that there’s going to be a famine in the future? Yep. What about WWIII? Sure, why not?

Preparedness, emotional if nothing else, would be key for psychological survival/health. I can’t think of anything that I would not want to know (and I’ve thought of some things that I don’t want to put in black and white). It’s the preparedness, the using time more wisely, maybe even the attempt to thwart ‘fate’ with that knowledge. I guess I’m so pragmatic now that I feel I can deal with anything and being forewarned is being forearmed.

fpq
To know or not know?

#FPQ.3: morality/#FOWC: forever

“Is morality objective or is it subjective? If you believe it’s objective, what is its source? If you believe it’s subjective, how do you know whose concept of morality is correct?”

Before I launch, I want to define some verbiage here:

  1. Morality: principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior; a particular system of values and principles of conduct, especially one held by a specified person or society.
  2. Values: Your values are the things that you believe are important in the way you live and work. They (should) determine your priorities, and, deep down, they’re probably the measures you use to tell if your life is turning out the way you want it to.
  3. Principles: a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning (i.e. “Christian principles”)

If the fundamental [USA] proposition is ‘freedom’ (expression, religion, liberty, property, the pursuit of happiness, justice, equality of opportunity, diversity), it would follow that values and morality become individual…based on, perhaps, religion or ethnicity or diversity (sexual preference/gender theory), etc. What is immoral to one is a fundamental truth/authenticity for someone else.

I clipped/pasted (one) definition of morality above because lines are blurring as, not only what is right or wrong, but what is morality? Lying used to be ‘wrong’ but no more; now there’s a spectrum for lying and it’s so ubiquitous that you’d be hard pressed to find someone who believes lying is morally wrong – any lying. Cheating (sexual affairs) on a spouse/girl/boyfriend is no longer morally wrong – it’s just a matter of breaching trust. Gossip & slander was considered wrong at one time and kept to whispers; if the offender was caught, they were embarrassed and often suffered consequences from friends and/or family for the transgression. Not now…no one is careful about what they say about other people and if truth is brought to light, it’s met with a shrug – no big deal.

The problem with all these “small” examples of moral decay is that it has become the fabric of our lives, no longer the exception. Without values, a society has nothing left to build on – there is no longer any reason to be honest or trustworthy or reliable because it’s become irrelevant. The irony is that people have become judgmental of other people for the very things that most, if not all, of us do; the conversation is now about who is, for example, more of a liar or cheat or unreliable – who is pushing the boundaries to more extremes.

If morality is objective, no one cares any more. If it’s subjective then we’ll always have something to judge and fight about because we lack the ability to allow others the freedom that we all believe we are ‘entitled’ to have for ourselves.

BTW: I’ve been trying to get this written and posted forever…well, all damn day anyway.

#FOWC: forever

#FPQ.3