Political Labels: How ya gonna live up to them?

Image result for left right politics

“Okay buster, I’m a ‘——–‘ and proud of it!

“Well, I’m really more a ‘——-‘ and I don’t agree with you and don’t really know what your label means but I know it must be wrong and dangerous to our Country.”

“Listen buster, we ‘——‘ stand for truth, justice and the American way and no amount of your ‘—–‘ crap is gonna change that.”

“Oh yeah? Well I’m just as strong in my knowing stuff as you are and we’d all be better off if you just shut the hell up!”

“You people seem to think ….. ”

“I stand with all those Americans who blah blah blah”

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Who you callin two-dimensional?

The glory in being able to discern what we see in a three-dimensional way is that we can not only perceive automatically the differences between “near” and “far,” but also perceive cubes and spheres quite differently from squares and circles. Obviously such is a consequence of our enjoyment of depth perception.

Were that such were so for mental  images, conceptualizations and imagined realities. Which brings me to our notions of left and right in political and philosophical terms. It seems that particularly in philosophical/political contexts we mostly attempt to apply two-dimensional labels to ourselves in terms of our own intellectual prowess in seeing the world as it really is. Hence, left/right stuff does not reflect intellectual depth perception, rather two-dimensional thinking lacks depth or breadth.

Two-dimensional thinking is nothing more than either/or thinking on any subject. Today the subject is political philosophy which, in this country is dominated by either/or mindsets with their pretend basis and standard of comparisons that break behavior into right or wrong choices.

Either/or uses extreme extensions to praise or vilify other folks. For example, “liberal” is implied to be firmly entrenched next to “communism” via the “socialist” tendency while “conservatism” lies dangerously next to “fascism” via the “authoritarian” route. Another way of expressing this is the label-mindedness that considers the left wing or right wing enemies of Democracy depending on how an individual is living up to his chosen label.

Don’t label yourself. You will have less to live up to that does not belong to you and more freedom to be who you are.

Don’t label yourself. Be genuinely surprised then when you react in a way that surprises who you thought you were …. or who you thought you were supposed to be.

Image result for the authentic you

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On negative socially redeeming values: NRA, open carry and the psychology of 2nd Amendment Exploitation

My thoughts today in reaction to the following articles

The Cowboy Fantasy of a ‘Good Guy With a Gun’ – John Pavlovitz – October 2017

Unfunny humor about gun control –     Brian Hines February, 2013

It seems that the slogan driving these folks with the big iron(s) on their hips is …

“If you block me from using my First Amendment Right I will exercise my Second Amendment Right and use my weapon on you!”

… or something like that.

As to who the traitorous un-American “YOU” bent on destroying our liberties is …  and the reasoning behind the extreme step of using a weapon against another citizen, well that’s up for interpretation.

Apparently whoever it is seems to be the evil spawn of the 1930’s and 1940’s Germanic and Italian terrorists who have somehow re-incarnated into the 21st century. But that’s confusing because aren’t them guys the historic heroic idols of extreme right wing American drugstore patriotism?

The “H” guy? Or better even, the Mussolini guy who was not ashamed of government corporatism while lying to and bleeding the common citizens in order to keep the rich in power?

It is called “Open Carry”, part of making what is considered a patriotic statement having to do with defending our liberties whenever and wherever those freedoms appear to be under attack.

What does “under attack” mean?

What is in the mind of someone who feels the need to publicly flaunt  personal ownership of a weapon because something frightens him that  is not frightening most people who are otherwise civically engaged and active.

“That’s the rub here: that every villain is a hero in his own head, and every small man wants to feel big—which is why the blood of thousands of Americans will continue to be spilled every year, and why the NRA and the GOP will joyfully swim around in it. – The Cowboy Fantasy of a ‘Good Guy With a Gun’ – John Pavlovitz

Is there a difference?

Well, although we all have that right some of us use common sense that dictates that one need not  “carry” unless a defense of rights is under literal and immediate physical attack, war or invasion of our country. Otherwise, “carrying” is just another word for “packing” (as in heat) which declares …

“I’m a macho guy who could accidentally shoot a kid, a little old lady or her pet if I was of a mind to. “

What gets me, every time I see black-clad guys and gals strutting around with their weapons, is how little they have to be proud about. It takes zero courage and zero skill to own a gun. All you need is a VISA card. Shooting defenseless animals from long range, or defenseless targets, earns zero “guts points.” – Brian Hines Unfunny Humor About Gun Control

A veteran myself, I know active duty military members as well as other veterans in my community who HAVE used a weapon in defense of our country.  They are genuine – the real thing – and would not hesitate to leave their homes, leave the churches before the sermon ends, leave the tavern with the last beer unfinished, drop what they’re doing, jump in their own transportation, get their weapons and make haste to the scene of threat or action.

They’d do it in a moment’s notice because they know where their weapons are – kept safe under lock and key until needed. Furthermore, for most of those I know it would not be any different if those attacking were government agents or military troops sent to forcibly take weapons away,  put folks in some kind of internment camp, force citzens to pay taxes or execute sinners for fornication.

… But  that is not what is happening. Nothing even close to that is happening.

Fantasy is not real, it’s merely fantasy.

Obsession with a fantasy that appears to summon heroes is the spin of political manipulation. Particularly it is an extreme so-called “patriotic” spin that seems to be endorsed by broadcast drugstore patriot networks and personalities.

So who is packing … er, I mean “carrying?”

All I can venture is a perceptual speculation based on behavior, verbiage and posturing.

Most carriers appear to be dying to be seen  publicly wearing symbols of patriotism on their sleeves.

Most carriers appear to be hoping someone will challenge them so they can then draw.

Most carriers seem to appear they will be disappointed if they don’t get to publicly use the weapon so as to be seen as heroic.

They are the producers of the grisly cowboy fantasy.
They compose the narrative, they profit from the plot—and the good guys with guns all dying to be cowboys will continue to gladly generate sequels for them.

I’ve had it with the myth of heroic men, saving women from the bad guy.

I prefer that we save humanity from the deadly cowboy fantasy—by not giving it ammunition of any kind.” – The Cowboy Fantasy of a ‘Good Guy With a Gun’ – John Pavlovitz

It seems to me that would-be Second Amendment heroes won’t hesitate to manufacture (imagine) enemies to the homeland in order to sustain a macho sense that hearkens back to every Wayne or Eastwood movie where the good guy gets to shoot somebody.
Or they are willing to suspend judgment and critical thinking by falling for any broadcast lie hook, line and sinker.

Like I said, this sort of ignorance would be comical if it wasn’t so unfunny. People who are clueless about the Constitution are pretending that they’re the only ones standing between us and tyranny. That’s hilarious.

Except, it isn’t funny. – Brian Hines Unfunny Humor About Gun Control

Consequently, when you see a carrier “packing” in public with a cold hard stare hidden by movie-hero sunglasses you can read in that stone cold facial expression and posturing this message:

“Please! 
Before it’s too late and I can no longer be and feel heroic! 
Please …. somebody make my day!”

Flash your weapons guys, get out those comic books and to hell with anyone else in the crowd, their children or their grandchildren.

Just like the Hannity acolyte in Tennessee who gunned down several human beings in a church because they were Hannity-defined  “liberals” …

Just like that … people are gunned down and it doesn’t matter which Wayne or Eastwood character did the shooting.

It won’t matter whether he believes that Limbaugh, Hannity or Fox News said it would be acceptable

… there will not be anything heroic about the perpetrator.
… only  a stick horse, plastic chaps and cheap sunglasses trying to cover cowardice, a junior high maturity and a lack of the greatest civic attribute a citizen can offer the country.

Common Sense …

One of the Founding Fathers beloved of gun-toting Constitutionalists was Thomas Paine, who said,  “give me liberty or give me death.

Paine did not declare that everybody needs to “carry” so shooters who are irresponsible can gun down a real or imagined “bad guy” regardless of collateral damage.

And woe unto those too afraid to speak up or disagree with the heat packers.

“Salesmanship the likes of which has rarely been seen in history, even in this nation of boiling commercialism.

It is no small accomplishment to convince millions of people that their safety and security – indeed, their very existence as a nation – absolutely depends upon the astonishing preponderance of devices that kill them on the hour, every hour, every day.

All the gun lobby does is bellow about freedom, about the Constitution, about preserving the ability to defend oneself against the onset of an intrusive, tyrannical government.

This is the song that has been sung for decades now, to the point that it is holy writ to those who think the ability to own an AR-15 with a magazine capacity large enough to take out half of Yankee Stadium, should the need somehow arise, is the apotheosis of American freedom.

Good luck with that; send me a note from the front, hero. I’m sure your Red Dawn fantasy will unspool itself any day now.

Convincing so many people that their freedom is inviolably attached to things that kill them in piles every single day is amazingly successful salesmanship…and as we embark upon this national debate over guns, we must encompass this essential truth: all the grandstanding over personal freedom, over the Constitution, over the ability to defend oneself against the government, is the end-product of perhaps the most magnificent sales job ever deployed against anyone, ever.” -William Rivers Pitt

 

 

triv·i·al·ize: (verb) to make (something) seem less important, significant, or complex than it really is.

figurehead
Whoever succeeds Mr. Trump and whenever that is, the first order of business will be to un-trivialize the office of President of the United States; to make it mean something other than what it stands for in this moment.

The article is honest, blunt and expresses my sense of what the most immature baby -boomer of them all has accomplished.

Donald Trump Is Just a Figurehead

 … he has the title and he has the bully pulpit—from which he’s bullying everyone from NBA players to people protesting white supremacists to DACA kids.

But he’s not actively governing the United States. That work is happening elsewhere—in Congress, the courts, the Fed, the career civil service, lobbyists, and in the states. Or it’s not happening at all.

It’s not just that Trump lost the epic battle to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Trump never understood the Affordable Care Act to begin with, and played no part in developing Republican alternatives.

Bowling with the Masons: When yer former athleticism flees the scene.

Sort of looked like this

Last week I took Lietta to the local bowling alley at Hugo’s here on South Hill. As we drove to the site, we began talking about what we used to do, what we might still be able to do and whether or not we were kidding ourselves.

In retrospect, Lietta was not kidding herself and opted to sit behind us and be a cheerleader. I, on the other hand, being all macho and guy-like wanted to present as a still vigorous and athletic 71-year old to  my Masonic brothers. Luckily for me, there were only three to witness my “athleticism.”

My fellow bowlers, one in his 30’s and one closer to my age seemed to have not lost the majority of their touch and were easily headed for at least a score of 100. Me? I could not seem to recapture the rhythmic sense of step and motion that would allow me to stand serenely, a bowling ball in both hands with the thumb and fingers locked in place, take my usual routine of one slow step forward followed by a series of rapid smaller strides … right up to the line with my arm now in forward motion about to release my grip and send the ball streaking down the middle of the lane toward a possible strike.

Yeah, right!!

The dance steps no longer responded to my mind’s summons causing me to start and stop a couple of times and then go back to position one. Finally I just lumbered forward trying to time the forward movement of the ball with reaching the line. The result was a beginning of somehow sideways throwing the ball at the lane and two of the first three were gutter balls and the third knocked down a terrified ten-pin.

About half way through the line, I openly vowed to “break 50” before I was through. Shouldn’t have done that …. by the tenth frame me and 50 were neck and neck. So I carefully and tentatively attempted a somewhat nonchalant throw for my tenth frame.

Didn’t work. My stagger to the line was more pronounced, I began to lose balance and when my foot slid across the line, all hell broke loose. Across the line the lane is coated with slick stuff that turned my legs into runaway roller skates and I was not sliding, but careening down the slippery lane. Finally fell forward as my legs went further forward but then landed flat on my back. When my head banged on the lane almost gently, I started to rise but then told myself to hell with it and lay it back down while I collected by inner dignity.

Next thing I know I’m surrounded by three Masons all attending my possible woundedness. I got to my hands and knees and then managed a standing position, told my wife “I’m okay honey!” and staggered back to the couches trying to look as if I had done it all intentionally for entertainment purposes.

Nobody bought it … and I had to admit that the spirit was willing but the flesh was weak. I have a painful bruise on the right side of my hip to prove it. Over the years my arthritis thumbs have become painful in the same gripping place on both hands and the right thumb was mad at me for forcing it to hang on to a heavy marble sphere and throw it at a bowling lane.

Well … my dignity seems intact but the facade of athleticism ain’t. I’ll have to resort to saying “I wish I could still do that!” to folks with whom I am watching a flying dunk in an NBA game on television like I used to tell my kids when we watched Mike Jordan dunk from the foul line.

It was also helpful to take Lietta to Hogan’s Restaurant and eat a tuna melt with my co-masonic-bowlers.

And the jacuzzi at MUV the next day was good to my sore bones.

Arthur Fall Down Go Boom

This foto is ten years old, taken after I got dizzy at work and fell off my chair in my module. But it does reflect how I felt last week.

On knee-taking, drugstore patriotism and hurt feelings: It’s the lies that kill.

WWII Vet Kneels

‘Those Kids Have Every Right to Protest.’ 97-Year-Old WWII Vet Kneels to Support NFL Players” – John Middlemas

Real Courage: WWII Vet Kneels in Support

Who are those most offended by knee-taking as a genuine, civic and even patriotic expression of concern about what Americans are aware of or ignore?

Drugstore patriots.

Drugstore Patriotism: The wearing of one’s prideful ego, narcissistic posturing and nationalistic foolishness on one’s sleeve in order to be seen, in order to be heard and in order to grind a particularly mindless ax.

To those who are quagmired into a belief that taking a knee is only about a song and a flag: It’s the lies that kill.

The remembering will go on for lifetimes long after the acrimony and partisan politics have faded. The legacy of public drugstore patriotism will be an ongoing and painful confusion for many of the same reasons that caused a shift in American civic awarenes during the VietNam War.

Wannabe “peace celebrities” are on their soap boxes with “We-are-too-polarized-to-communicate-so-we’ve-got-to-stop-challenging” brand of pop-psycho-pretend-statesmanship blather. It’s still too early for that. That time is not here yet. For all sides – not just one – the time to start acting peaceful, regretful and anxious that we stop talking nasty is now.

I don’t know how many citizens slept thru civics class, let alone even included such a class in their maturation process. I do know that constant bellowing at the electorate on how they should vote is about as effective as bellowing at the store shoppers outside a box store the day after Thanksgiving. Aren’t we all bellowed out and tired of being bellowed at? Bellowing as a form of educating someone else on how they should vote is the tired and proven Democratic path to loss of elections. Democrats are still learning this lesson.

Genuinely pissing all voters off is where it’s at.

There is nothing more powerful in arousing a national sense of indignation than to have a bunch of mom and pop towns and villages start waking each other up with infectious resolutions. That will outdo political educating and bellowing every time. The answers to the questions of why are more transparent, obvious and politically rancid.

PBS has an awesome series by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick entitled The VietNam War. I don’t recommend you watch it. I demand that you do so. You’ll see and learn more truth about both sides of the conflict than you might think. You’ll also understand more about  governments that mostly tell you what it wants you to think – not know – in pursuit of an agenda. You may come to suspect that drugstore patriotism begins at the highest levels of government and is dispersed throughout the country by a media seeking profit, not wise civic awareness.

Who are our most precious citizens now when it comes to talking with experience about military service and what it means to be a genuine patriot? Real veterans, not the pretend kind. Among them let’s have more veterans who have banded together and taken a stand; who’ve spoken out and continue speaking – who in fact refuse to be silenced; and whose respect the current leadership in both parties has lost completely as they focus on the drugstore kind of audience.

When precious national blood is sacrificed and reason demands justification, shallow partisan politics seriously wound the fabric of all families in America. The time to speak out has never been more critical. Voices … it’s our time to tell the leadership, regardless of which party, that this drugstore tragedy must stop as soon as possible.

Not one more citizen need die to preserve the lies. It’s the lies that kill.
The lie that the correct side is only my side kills.
The lie that disagreement with me means you aren’t on the right side kills.

The notion that I’m right and you are wrong and nothing good will happen until you admit you’re wrong and I am right is a winning tactic for debates … I suppose … where a referee says, “Yup, that guy with that argument is the smartest.”  It’s also a lie that can kill.

Limiting yourself to the drugstore patriotism doesn’t go too far in any wider venue where your pretend posture has become the cheapest, most demeaning and diminishing turd regarding the value of every human life.

A presidency or a party with intellectually foppish projects and a parade of presidential wannabes who attempt to don some sort of wise-statesman cap and gown have worn this particular fabric so transparently thin as to offer the American electorate nothing but pure intellectual insult.

Drugstore patriotism says NFL rather human dignity and the national sorrow of racism. Drugstore patriotism says NFL rather than Puerto Rico.
Drugstore patriotism says tavern talk rather than sincere discourse.

“In a democracy dissent is an act of faith. To criticize one’s country is to do it a service … Criticism, in short, is more than a right; it is an act of patriotism – a higher form of patriotism, I believe, that the familiar rituals and national adulation … My question is whether America can overcome the fatal arrogance of power.” –
J. William Fulbright


 

“On this July 4, we would do well to renounce nationalism and all its symbols: its flags, its pledges of allegiance, its anthems, its insistence in song that God must single out America to be blessed.

Is not nationalism — that devotion to a flag, an anthem, a boundary so fierce it engenders mass murder — one of the great evils of our time, along with racism, along with religious hatred?

These ways of thinking — cultivated, nurtured, indoctrinated from childhood on — have been useful to those in power, and deadly for those out of power.” – Howard Zinn, July, 2007