“Present!”

It’s no wonder that throughout history, people have dreamed of a Messiah who would be a great political and military leader who would straighten out all the problems with nations, governments, politics, etc. Those of you who are Christian know that such is not the way it works.

Vote tally: How senators voted on GOP health care motion ...

In the current situation in Washington, DC, the expectation is that political expediency (aka–how do I get re-elected?) easily trumps honesty, ethics, or even self respect. Regardless of anything else, it is virtually guaranteed that there will be an acquittal of your president. Any Republican who votes for impeachment will suffer greatly; they will end up without the prestige and power to which they have become accustomed and be forced to find–and work at–a real job.

However, will their constituents see things the same way? If the Senate allows neither witnesses nor evidence, what will the outcome be next election? Here are several issues to consider:

  • How many voters in the last presidential election voted AGAINST Hillary Clinton as opposed to FOR Donald Trump?
  • While there are vocal supporters of Donald Trump and some for other candidates, given how contentious politics have become, many people do not speak about their views–it’s too socially risky. What will they do in the voting booth?
  • It has been posited that if the Senate’s vote was by secret ballot, the outcome would be very different from what is generally expected. What does this mean?

I suggest a radical response.

If a Senator fears retribution, but whose honest assessment of the testimony calls for breaking with the party, vote “PRESENT”. If challenged, that senator can explain that neither side presented an overwhelming preponderance of guilt or innocence.

Suggest that to your elected officials. They’ll ignore it, of course, but recommend it anyway.

Honesty

Honesty was once valued.

Abraham Lincoln was known as Honest Abe. While the story of young George Washington chopping down the cherry tree is not believed to be true, his admission of guilt because “I cannot tell a lie!” was demonstrative of the value of honesty.

Today, it would be appropriate to relegate Washington and Lincoln to the dustbin of history. Perhaps in their stead we could use Warren G. Harding as an inspiration.

Warren G. Harding by Margaret Lindsay Williams
Oil on canvas, 1923 
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

The Power of Hate and Fear

Throughout history, one of the most popular–and effective methods for gaining power and influence has been to use hate and fear. People will unite against a threat better and faster than uniting in support of an ideal. Oftentimes the hate was aimed at a minority with claims that “they” were controlling wealth. “They” were a threat to everyday people. “They” would soon take over.

One group who were cast as “they” were the Jews, and not just by Hitler in the twentieth century. The middle ages are rife with similar examples. In the aftermath of the Civil War, the Ku Klux Klan not only targeted Blacks, but also Jews and Catholics. “They” were different and if “they” gained power, “they” would upset the status quo.

Are the Jews being targeted again, today?

This isn’t fear of a group as much as it is fear of change. People often say, “The only constant is change.” Their mouths say those words, but neither their minds nor their hearts accept it. Their stance is, “You can have my perception of reality when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers.” The more warped the perception, the more fiercely they defend it.

In the meantime, they happily suspend reality and hold on to false beliefs–beliefs based on unfounded fear and undeserved hate. People defend their egos from bruising by lying to themselves. They use whatever means necessary, including, murder, theft, lies, and the other tools of hate.

If there is one person one should be honest with, it is one’s self.

 

 

No Place Like Home

diogenes_04

 

If you ever read about me you know that history claims that I lived in either a sewer or a large pot. Trust me, it was a sewer. If you live in a large pot, before too long, it becomes a sewer.

However, that was my choice. After all, I was a legitimate and, in fact, esteemed philosopher. I am credited with being a major force in developing the philosophical discipline known as cynicism. Me, being a cynic, suspect that you don’t believe that.

Observing events in your time, I must admit it adds great credence to the importance of the cynical philosophy. In fact, while every age needs a certain amount of healthy cynicism, your age will never be cynical enough.

But I digress.

I was thinking, after seeing political, social, and religious interactions over the past decade, how I am perfectly adapted to live in this time. If I had lived in your here and now, I would have readily eschewed my desire to find an honest man. It was a fool’s errand in my time, and today, um, well . . . .

Today, it is often not the person with a powerful title who has power; the power is frequently wielded by those who whisper in the leader’s ear–those once called the powers behind the throne.And, indeed, a throne it is.

If I lived in this day and age I could . . . .

No. Never mind.

I miss my sewer.

Great Thoughts

In business, there is the Peter Principle, which states that people in an organization will be promoted until they reach their level of incompetence, after which they will neither be promoted nor demoted. A good clerk, for example, might be promoted to team leader. If successful as a team leader, the next step is supervisor. If less than successful as a supervisor, that former clerk will stay a supervisor. In other words, the cream rises until it sours.

Kings, lords, emperors, and other high personages seem somehow to reach incompetence whether appointed, anointed, or elected without bothering with the intermediate steps. However, the Huns and the Visigoths were interesting, the Borgias intriguing, and the Japanese Shoguns fascinating.

Unfortunately, the current crop seems not to include any exceptional people. No style. No grace. No culture. Almost all of them are cut from the same bolt of cloth.

I can’t adequately describe their approach, but a great philosopher sums it up well:

“I didn’t do it. No one saw me do it. You can’t prove anything.

 – Bart Simpson

Double Standard

Diogenes lived about 3 centuries before the beginning of our modern calendar. He was a philosopher—one of the founders of cynicism. Apparently he was quite off-putting; he slept in a ceramic vessel, although it may have been a sewer. He’s reported to have traveled through town, during the day, with a lighted lamp, claiming to be “Searching for an honest man,” which was one of his more civilized activities.

A new congresswoman resigned because revenge-porn nude pictures of her spread through the internet.

Compare this to the current president bragging about grabbing women by their genitalia. And his wife du jour has explicit professionally produced nude photos on the internet. In fairness to her, she was a model and many believe the pictures were taken as a way for The Donald to show he has a hot wife (and believes that you don’t).

The congresswoman resigns.

The President digs in as the Republicans draw their wagons into a circle around him.

Will somebody please explain?

Souls for Sale

 

soulsell

Over the past few millenia, I’ve seen many souls sold to the devil. Most–if not all–people made a terrible deal, selling their soul for pennies when it’s worth a king’s ransom. It should be evident to anyone what a soul is worth.

Christians, who sometimes need to be told things clearly (small words, short sentences, or parables) lest they misunderstand, should at least have a clue. If you believe that the Son of God died to redeem you, then what do you think your soul is worth?

I’ll wait while you find a calculator.

In any case, the current soul trade is definitely a buyer’s market. People are lining up to sell their souls. Buyers are only offering a smidge of a pittance. No one seems to care. If anything, the line of sellers keeps growing.

Now for the bad news–most people will have to wait until all of the politicians’ sales have been processed before they can even list their souls. Don’t expect too much, but–hey–its only your soul.